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Best Questions to Ask Consulting Clients: Updated Playbook

By Michael Zipursky

Take an inexperienced consultant and an elite consultant, and put them in a room with a potential client.

What’s the biggest and most noticable difference you’ll observe?

Simply, it is the quantity and quality of questions they ask.

Elite consultants know how to ask the right questions — and when to ask them.

Good, deep, thorough questions are a consultants best friend. With the right questions, you can turn an entire sales conversation around. You can go from being just another run of the mill consultant…to the one they have to hire.

Anybody thinks they can ask questions.

But elite consultants know how to ask questions that show they are the expert, uncover their clients true needs, and demonstrate the value they’ll bring to the client’s business.

consulting questions

In this article, you’ll learn how to approach the best questions to ask and develop an ability to uncover a client or prospect’s most urgent needs, the underlying issues they face, and what’s most important to them.

You’ll learn…

  • Every question you’ll ever need to go from meeting your prospect — to closing the consulting sale
  • How to help you and your client identify the financial upside for the project so you can maximize your value (and your fees)
  • The simple question that you must ask to make sure your project moves forward

Never again will you walk into a meeting with a client not knowing what to ask.

We’re giving you the “playbook” for the questions you need to weed out problem clients, identify the financial upside of your projects, and present your offers with confidence.

Consider this your “cheat sheet” for your consulting sales conversations.

Before You Ask

Now before you start asking all kinds of questions at your next meeting, you need to do one thing well first.

And that is to listen.

Listening intently to what clients are saying is the starting point for making any consulting project a success. It also helps establish rapport. In a relationship business such as consulting, this is key.

If you don’t listen carefully to what your clients are telling you about their business and current situation, you’ll have no way to understand what solution will best give them the result they want to achieve.

I know that sounds simple, but don’t fault me for it. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most powerful and profound.

The next step, asking the right questions, is what will allow you to truly deliver your clients with the highest level of value and done right, establish your authority status and aid in building your credibility.

There are a multitude of questions that you can ask your clients in different situations.

To start, here are three common questions consultant ask, yet often make a mistake in doing so…

The Wrong Questions

There’s a good chance clients will put you in the “inexperienced” box if you ask one of the following 3 questions.

  1. Inexperienced consultants will often start by asking prospective clients something like:

“So tell me a little about your business?”

One of the most important factors in making any marketing effort a success is understanding who the ideal client is.

This screams amateur.

Why? Because if you’re a professional you’ve already taken the time to research and understand your prospects marketplace.

  1. “Who is your target market?”

That question by itself isn’t a problem. The issue is when you allow the client to answer it in little detail.

One of the most important factors in making any marketing effort a success is understanding who the ideal client is. You want to keep digging here so you uncover everything you can about the client.

  1. “What is your budget for this project?”

This is a horrible question because it assumes that the prospect or client has a budget. Worse yet, it positions your service as a commodity with a big fat price sticker on it.

You’ll find much better answers to all of these questions below.

The Right Questions

Here are a list of great questions (and when to ask them) that will help you to be seen as a trusted advisor by clients and prospects alike.

The more comfortable you become asking deep meaningful questions, the more confident you’ll become, and the more you’ll learn about what people actually want.

Until that point, use the questions below to help structure your sales conversations with clients and your prospective consulting clients.

Take them, tweak them, and make them your own.

Questions to Qualify Your Prospective Clients

With these questions, you’re positioning yourself as the expert by asking questions to learn more about your client’s business and whether or not they would be a good fit for your expertise.

“What is your number one priority for this business unit during this fiscal year?”

By asking them specifically for their number one priority you can help them clarify whether that really should be their #1 priority. Then you can look at how to help them achieve. Plus, you can document that and refer back to it to help keep your client on course and focused.

“Who will be making the final decisions on this project and who will be in charge of implementation?”

This is another critical question that amateur consultants forget to ask. This should be asked early in the conversation as you want to ensure you’re dealing with the person in charge that will be writing you the check. At one time or another, early in their careers, consultants find themselves working hard to ‘sell their services’ only to find out they’ve been talking with the wrong people. This wastes time and can really drain your energy and knock your confidence level.

“What is unique about your business compared to your competitors?”

You can ask this question in many ways. For example, “Why should customers/clients choose your company over the competition?” Many clients have trouble answering this question. They respond with things like: “We’ve been in business for 30 years” and “We have the best service” or “Our quality is just the best.”

You know what? Who cares! That may make the client feel all warm and fuzzy, but none of those are reasons for the marketplace to choose your client over the competition. Help your client by getting them to clarify what exactly is their value proposition, their competitive advantage, the reason the market should choose them over anyone else.

Questions to Identify Problem Clients (And Red Flags)

With these questions, you’re looking to uncover problems with either the client or from within their business before you start the project. The earlier you learn about these red flags, the earlier you can prepare and plan for them.

“Is there anything that you or your employees are doing that may be getting in the way of achieving this result?”

Often you can find clients taking actions that are actually harmful to their business or are getting in the way of the progress they want to make. By getting the client to speak openly with you about this you can figure out how to best help them deal with the issue, remove the roadblock and overcome the challenge in the way.

“What do you believe needs to be strengthened in order to support achieving this?”

This question will help you uncover areas of weakness in your clients business. Sometimes there could be one employee that is causing a whole deal of trouble. Yet the President has chosen to ignore dealing with the employee and instead masks the problem by convincing themselves they can solve it by focusing on a separate initiative. Knowing that the employee really is the problem you can talk more with the President and look at alternatives in dealing with the core issue rather than spending time and money on something completely irrelevant.

By getting the client to speak openly with you about this you can figure out how to best help them deal with the issue, remove the roadblock and overcome the challenge that’s in the way.

Questions to Ask Clients To Engage Them

With these questions you’re looking to really get your client more involved in the questions about their business and the project.

“What was the main reason that you wanted to meet with me?”

This question is most effective when you find your client isn’t engaged in the conversation in the way you’d like them to be. It forces them to take notice and actually tell you why they wanted to meet. You can then come back to those reasons throughout the conversation and remind them why they wanted to meet and the value that you can provide.

You don’t do this in a pushy or self-centered way, but rather if the client has told you that they wanted to meet you because they need a consultant that can help them reduce their employee turnover rate, you can focus the discussion on the keyword ’employee turnover rate’ and ‘lower the employee turnover rate’.

“Many companies in this market are currently facing the issue of X, are you also finding that a challenge, or is there a bigger more pressing issue on your mind?”

Point out a few facts about the prospects marketplace. Show that you already understand their industry and have done some homework – even at a basic level. When you combine a statement that you know about their market and following it with a question, you’re showing you’ve done your research and your going deeper into the problems your client is facing. You’ll get far better results with this one then “tell me a little more about your business.”

“Can you tell me what your ideal client looks like? How old are they? Where do they live? What magazines or newspapers (or websites) do they read? What is their income level? What is their most pressing problem or desired result?”

Instead of asking “who is your ideal client” — this questions gets your client to tell you everything they know about their target market. Many times you’ll find that they don’t know what they should. Either way, this will help you uncover who your client is targeting, and how much they actually know about who they are targeting — both critical pieces of information.

“What options have you looked at to achieve this…?”

There is no need to reinvent the wheel here. Understanding what your client has done to this point, or what they are thinking about, can uncover something that you may not have thought about yourself (that is worth trying) or may allow you to make recommendations in doing the same thing again, but in a different way when the client has done it improperly before.

Questions to Identify Value for ROI Pricing

With these questions, you’re looking to ask questions to help you and your client identify the financial implications of this project so that you can employ value-based pricing for your consulting project.

questions to ask consulting clients on pricing and fees

“What is the value of a new client to you?”.

If a new client is worth $20,000 to your client then you can start the discussion around your fee by associating it to the value your client will receive. If you can help them get 3 new clients each month, and each one is worth $20k to them that’s $60,000 a month in new revenue and value created. If the client even had a budget in mind, it may have only been $10000. But now, as they see that you’ll help them create a strategy and process that will generate over $700,000 a year, your fee of $30,000 doesn’t look unreasonable. In fact, it starts to look like a fantastic investment. That’s a 300% increase in fees for you by focusing on ROI.

“What is the value of this to you (your company)?”

Will this help the company make an extra $5M, will they save tens-of-thousands of dollars each month, will they get a promotion, will they reduce their stress level? When you and the buyer understand what’s at stake and the value that will be created you are able to position your offering and structure your proposal so that it aligns with the value you are delivering.

While you do want to identify the financial upside of the project, make sure you also ask your client what success on this project would mean to them as an individual.

Sure, it might make the company an extra $5M — but if it’s going to make the decision makers life easier by drastically reduce her workload and her stress levels, you want to make it known that you understand her, and communicate that the project will accomplish both of these goals.

Questions to Explore the Cost of Inaction

With these questions, you’re looking to get the client to think about how much it would cost them NOT to take on this project right now.

“What would that cost you?”

Being able to show a person the cost of staying where they are or the potential cost of making a mistake is a great way to help them move forward. This also helps them to justify making an investment in working with you.

“If you don’t fix it, how long can you manage and stay with things as they are?”

Get your client to picture how things will look if they let things stay the way they are. Encourage them to put a duration on it. This creates a strong sense of urgency and positions you as the one who can “fix it” and help the client avoid a longer duration of the problem they’re dealing with.

“How would things be different if you no longer had to deal with ______?”

This is where you dig past the monetary goal, and make them feel how they would continue to feel with this problem. Perhaps if they don’t hire you to solve this problem, they’ll continue to feel stressed, embarrassed, their boss won’t consider them for a raise — all of which are just as important for them to feel as it is for them to understand the financial implications of staying put.

Your clients won’t be motivated to take action until they feel uncomfortable. This is where you make them uncomfortable with their current situation so they are motivated to take action.

Questions When Presenting Your Consulting Offer

With these questions, you’re introducing your consulting offer and setting up your proposal in the next step.

“Would a xxxx (process, plan, roadmap, etc) for you to get xxxx be helpful?”

This is where you echo what your client has been telling you. You tell them that you’re going to show them how you’re going to help them reach the goals they’ve been talking about (through your proposal). When you get a “yes!” here, your client has bought in and has start to bought in to the project and your expertise.

“Do you have any questions about this?”

You don’t want to wait around for objections — or hope your client doesn’t have any. This is where you prompt your client to ask you questions (and objections) so you can answer those right now. Objections are often a sign that they are considering your offer and are actually interested. When you can communicate that you understand where they are coming from with their objection and can answer their objections (mitigate risk), then you’ll bring them to the next step.

Questions For Introducing Consulting Proposals

After you’ve introduced your offer, your next step is to prepare them for the proposal.

“Let’s schedule a time tomorrow to review my proposal together so I can answer any questions you may have and figure out which option is the right one for you. Does that sound good? Would AM or PM be better for you?”

If your client says that they would like to look it over and get back to you without going through it with you, you know they aren’t serious. You want to challenge them on that. If you haven’t already, adopt the mindset that your time is valuable. Don’t spend time writing a proposal for a client who isn’t serious about working with you.

Questions to Schedule the Next Step (And Close The Deal)

How many times have you sent a proposal and waited for what seems eternity to receive a response from the buyer?

After you’ve presented your proposal to your client, it’s your job to schedule the next step — usually with a question. You should never send your proposal and wait for your client to reply via email. Always guide them towards taking the next step, preferably on the phone or in-person, if you can.

Here’s what you ask once you’ve presented your proposal and you’re ready to prepare the client to move forward:

“Does that sound good to you?”

A great question to ask after offering an idea, recommendation or offer. This helps you to get buy-in and acceptance from the buyer. It also allows you to address any concerns or questions the buyer may have if they respond in the negative.

“Let’s schedule the next step while we’re here together. How does DATE sound?”

Always schedule the next step before getting off the phone. Get it on paper. Otherwise you’ll be playing phone tag and waiting around for your client to give you the go-ahead…

“Is there any reason you wouldn’t want to move forward implementing PROJECT to solve PROBLEM?”

It’s better for you to know objections right now rather than later. You can learn about it now — and deal with it now. This is the perfect opportunity to answer objections on the phone or in person rather than through a string of emails.

When you’re asking these questions, don’t be shy to challenge your client on their responses. The more you dig the more you can help your client find the core issues…and the greater the value you will be able to help them discover and enjoy.

Need More Help with Your Consulting Client Questions and Growing Your Consulting Business?

Are you ready to take your consulting business to the next level?

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If you’re looking for a proven process to move your business forward and create a sustainable and profitable consulting practice you can get more details here.

In our program, you’ll find…

  • Role-play opportunities for you to master all of the consulting questions
  • The consulting sales conversations flow and script to help you level up your sales skills
  • One on one coaching to help you come up with your own set of questions for your industries and projects
  • Plus, much more to help you with your messaging, packaging, fees and marketing to generate consistent leads.

Learn more about Clarity Coaching for Consultants.

If you enjoyed this article, please click the share buttons on the left to let your friends and colleagues know.

Now, what consulting questions do you ask? Do you have a favorite that you’ve found to be effective?

Share your ideas with the community in the comments below…

136 thoughts on “Best Questions to Ask Consulting Clients: Updated Playbook

  1. Chantal says:

    I really enjoyed this article. Very useful.

  2. Johnny says:

    These are very good questions, thanks for this.

  3. Matt says:

    Indeed! I appreciate you thoughtful suggestions Michael.

  4. Dave Poulos says:

    Terrific! Well done. Gotta keep this one in the refresher file . . .

      • Ethan Hale says:

        I agree with Dave Poulos and i agree with you that the”refresher” file is a good idea. It helps keep similar content together while not losing it in a specific contributors file. Good train of thought on the questions.

  5. Mircea Buzlea says:

    Excellent article, congratulations & thanks for sharing! 🙂

  6. Mallerk says:

    Very useful article. Thanks for the heads-up!

  7. Rudolf DSouza says:

    Your mailer came just as i was to interview a Client and I jotted them down and used them. Made the client think and think and reflect and i got some very good insights rather than off the cuff responses. Thanks for this timely piece. Rudolf

    • Rudolf – that’s great to hear that this helped you at your meeting. Always enjoy hearing examples like this!

  8. I already have a questionnaire that has received compliments because the questions has caused my clients to really think about their business. But.. I must say, the questions in this article takes it even further! I will be including these questions in my routine. Thanks Michael!

    • Danielle – happy to hear that. What other questions would you suggest people ask their clients?

    • sandeep sidhu says:

      hi danielle,
      I am starting up a small scale consultancy with my friend. if you don’t mind, would you like to share the questionnaire via email. [email protected] thanks, sunny

    • maven18 says:

      I am late to the party, but I like the questions as well as the insight behind them.

    • David Barski says:

      Hi Danielle – My name is David and I consult in the SLC Utah region. I see your comment is quite old, but would you be willing to share some of your ideas in this space? I am generally new to consulting. David

  9. Pramod says:

    Thank you Michael. It gives confidence to amateurs like me to get a positive start..!

  10. Sairam says:

    Got some valuable points …

  11. Eko says:

    Thank you for sharing this tips michael…this is can be very useful for me who just start my personal consultant carrier…thanks

  12. Sheldon Browne says:

    What are your objectives?
    What are you currently doing to achieve them?
    Who is your target market?
    How do you identify your target market?
    How do you communicate with them?
    How do you track your ROI (Return On Investment)?

  13. Noel Murray says:

    I found the article to be on target, Lest we forget, consultants are solution providers and the marketplace is an ocean that is constantly moving and changing, so we not only have to respond to what is affecting our clients performance now but be able to also anticipate future possible scenarios when we are providing advice and direction.

    It is conceivable therefore to recommend what may only be a short-lived ‘fix’. Costly to the client and to your reputation as a consultant.

    Todays ‘client problem or concern’ may only be a symptom of something greater looming in the marketplace or his business environment.Dynamics both within and external to the clients operation warrrant examination.

    Two fundamentals come to mind and should be answered before we can be prepared to provide solutions …. and only with the assumption that we have correctly assesed, interpreted,synthesised the situation

    Firstly: the clients real business and its positioning in the market environment. Does he/she have a true grip on what his/her business/service is doing or providing within the marketplace?

    Secondly: what are the top insights [the wow factors] that make his/her product . service, etc. really stand out and provide the solution[s] that motivates his or her consumer/customer/client to demand repeatedly his /her product or service on offer?

    Answer these with your clients help and a major hurdle to providing solutions has been crossed.

  14. Jennifer says:

    Great article! Thank you for the insight

  15. Shardae Avents says:

    Thank you for this article! I will be using these questions for my first client consult! I appreciate you taking the time to share this valuable information.

  16. Michael, there is one question I don’t see here, following “Why did you want to meet me?…. and that is, How can I help you solve your problems?…which would be a follow up to the former question….. Great article..thank you for it!

    • Bernadette – great addition. That’s a great question. However, not all clients know the answer to it…and that’s why you need to keep asking the right questions to figure that out.

  17. kk says:

    very revealing. an eye opener

  18. I love this article. It’s extremely helpful. I stumbled across this site while looking for ways to improve my consulting services. Thanks for sharing this priceless information:)

    Stacie Walker
    Woman in Leadership Founder

  19. Gautam says:

    Amazing article. Very insightful. Taking a lot away from here for my next client meet.

  20. Monica says:

    Thank you, your articles are incredibly helpful!

  21. Izzmyster. says:

    SUch an enlightining article, I feel like I can now approach consulting with a far clearer identity and direction.

  22. Priya says:

    Great examples of questions. I plan to use them in my call tomorrow. Would love to read more articles on this topic.

  23. Chinwe Kalu says:

    It’s one thing to be in Consulting but another to position yourself properly so that you are perceived to be a true professional. In the Nigerian market where I am about to begin operations, you must start right to gain public confidence. I find this peice so important for me at this time. Thanks a lot. Chinwe Kalu.

  24. Vebjørn Tveiterås says:

    Great questions, Michael.
    Another one to ask is “What are your expecations of me in this project?” This will be too direct for a lot of relationships, but if you’re comfortable asking it, it can give both of you some great insights.

  25. ELVAmarketing. says:

    Really valuable article that breaks past the cookie cutter approach with clients. Thank you!

  26. Mehdi Salehi says:

    amazing questions, just one question before the last was not useful for my case.

  27. Jennette Cronk says:

    Great, to the point questions. These really cover just about everything you would need for an initial meeting for a client. (So glad I found this. I love the Internet). My addition is to ask whether the client is looking for a diagnosis or implementation (if they don’t ask you first). In my experience, the client can be unclear that there is a difference between the two.

    • Jennette – welcome! Glad you found us 🙂 Great question, sometimes the client won’t know. So you’ll need to ask lots of questions and then give them your recommendations on how to proceed so they get the most value.

      • suresh says:

        sir, i want to do feasibility study for opening a consultancy firm, for that i have to form out questionnaire for clients. what type of question should i ask them?? please assist me.

  28. Konstantin says:

    It was really helpful 3 hours before meeting the client )
    When you experience lack of time to ‘grab yourself in one’ after long trip

  29. Danielle Findlay says:

    These are great questions, thank you! It’s always a key tool to know what NOT to say.

  30. Latasha Patrick says:

    Great article. Thanks.

  31. James Mitchell says:

    Michael, this is a wonderful article. I ask some of these questions, and you’ve given me some wonderful new ones to add, as well as framing some of the existing ones in a more powerful way. This is definitely a keeper!

  32. Apollyon says:

    Good, straightforward questions, but also insightful. They ensure the client opens up.

    Personally, I found the ‘wrong questions to ask’ illuminating. Very easy to fall into simple, but not particularly helpful (and lazy) questions.

    Good article.

  33. rsegura says:

    Great article. as always!!

  34. Gabrielle says:

    Great article Michael. Very useful!

  35. I find that most consultants have an agenda – they aren’t listening before the Q&A begins. Some questions already have been answered or at least uncovered. I find that I have to really let the meeting unfold and NOT have an agenda to be able to learn as much as I can before it is my turn to ask questions.

  36. Simon Yaw Boribah says:

    These questions are really good for every consultant to ask when the need arises. Besides, if I answer these questions correctly, my consulting business will stand out.

  37. Kuzzy says:

    Very educative. I found this article very useful for my meeting with a new client. Thank you.

  38. Christian Reuben Jr. says:

    Still useful a year later. Thanks

  39. I had an initial meeting with a potential client this morning and used these questions and had amazing results. I was able to get a thorough understanding of the clients needs and was able to secure the project! I’m thrilled to have found The Consulting Success System…it’s exactly what I’ve needed to take my business to the next level.

  40. I know this a repost, but I really enjoyed this and it helped me to focus my profiling when I first started. Thanks.

  41. Awesome report and very helpful. I have a meeting on Monday and will add these additional questions. Thank you Michael – appreciate you! Ron, Dilbert Consulting Group

  42. cdspro says:

    The information you have provided in this article is very helpful
    Thank you.

  43. doejimz says:

    This article is a great help to an aspiring consultant.

  44. Sampath says:

    Man it’s really good to read this… i enjoyed it

  45. alexzandria says:

    This has definitely helped me create a more questionnaire. Thank you .

  46. Great tips – especially about demonstrating your insights first! “Show that you already understand their industry and have done some homework – even at a basic level.” Very powerful stuff.

  47. Reni James says:

    very nice article. Thank you for sharing.

  48. Jan van Uden says:

    Dear Michael: This is far the best article I read on consultancy. And I have about 20 years executive jobs and my own Strategy and Management Consultancy in Brazil! Thank you!

  49. Jan van Uden says:

    Dear Michael: This is far the best article I read on consultancy. And I have about 20 years executive jobs and 30 years my own Strategy and Management Consultancy in Brazil! Thank you!

  50. M. J. B. says:

    Awesome information. Thank you!

  51. taraszen says:

    Great article – thank you.

  52. Brennan Kirkpatrick says:

    Michael, I love to see that you are replying to most peoples’ posts!!!
    Shows you care about those with similar interests!!! Warms my heart.
    One question though… What is the difference between a really good salesperson and a consultant? The method of payment? LOL!

  53. Larry D. James says:

    Great article Michael, I got a lot of valuable gems, and will apply them soon. Keep them coming.

  54. Marketing Major Gal says:

    These seem like the best kept secrets of consulting. Thank you!

  55. Understand your target market and know what to say.. it all comes from experience.. Putting several hours of hard work into consulting talks will help you reach higher levels..

  56. Stella Zhang says:

    I am a fresher in consulting field and i am confused about the starting point of question. Our team have got the brief of client. So I suggest that we should explain what our picture about their current condition and then let the client to add and adjust. However, other team members think we should let client explain first and then we give our picture. I am appreciate if you can give some advice.Thanks.

  57. Davis says:

    Very helpful and useful. I’m currently taking a Consultation Skills master’s course and this will help our group better engage our client. Thank you Michael

  58. Ashim says:

    This is really eye opening. Thank you so much for sharing.

  59. Mark Hudson says:

    Great article, you made some really useful points that I’ll apply in my client meetings from now on. Thank you.

  60. Jazmine says:

    I’ve enjoyed this article and will use it as a point of reference in the future.

  61. Nigel says:

    Extremely helpful article. Thanks a ton!!

  62. Erica Shotnokoff says:

    Great article, very helpful! Thank you!!

  63. James says:

    Great job, this article had depth and solid advice. Thank you for sharing.

  64. Rick says:

    Great stuff. Quite useful. Thank you.

  65. rickguilfoil says:

    Thank you for this article. Very good information that I can implement immediately!

  66. Nagender Singh says:

    i want to work as an business development person. can you help me the type of question any client will ask me and what will be the answer

  67. AMS says:

    great suggestions

  68. Michael. This is exactly what I needed. Great questions! Can you help me get my consulting business going successfully? I need direction. Thank you in advance!

  69. Maryam says:

    These are very useful.Thanks 🙂

  70. Dr. Grace Miranda says:

    Your article is on point and time for me. The questions are very helpful as I am in the process of adding an additional industry to my portfolio. I sincerely appreciate you sharing!

  71. ARVIND OJHA says:

    I liked the question – Why the customer should come to you ?
    Very important and relevant question in today’s scenario where the customer is flodded with options !
    Arvind Ojha

  72. Modi Mitali says:

    Value added..!!

  73. Bhargav Shah says:

    Your article helped me a lot in my Project Management course in my University. It was awesome and i got good grades in client interview session in my class. Appreciate sir!!!!!!

  74. Ann says:

    This article was of great help. Thanks 🙂

  75. Great tips Michael! (Taking notes)..

  76. Prasanth says:

    Great questions to ask a client being a consultant. can you touch up on few questions that a consultant should ask a government entity client who may not be making a lot of revenue but serving the community mostly on culture and arts etc for an HR consulting project?

    • That’s very specific Prasanth. What questions do you have in mind? I’d use what’s here as a base and adjust as needed for your specific situation.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Surely this article has been an eye opener to me. I struggle with charging clients and approaching clients. Consulting Success has taught me a lot in this field of consultancy. Bravo Consulting Success for the good job you are doing.

  77. LA says:

    Great article/tips – thanks for sharing!
    One challenge I have is being too accommodating and patient, so I really appreciated your emphasis on closing the deal and really pushing clients to schedule the next meeting. I’m wondering how you might suggest challenging a client in this situation you described:
    “If your client says that they would like to look it [proposal] over and get back to you without going through it with you, you know they aren’t serious. You want to challenge them on that.” The advice to not spend time writing a proposal that someone isn’t going to take seriously was mind-blowing to me for some reason. However, knowing how to push someone on that without suggesting that they aren’t serious seems hard and uncomfortable (which I know is exactly where YOU want me to be! ;-)).

    • The key is only to write a proposal once the buyer and you are in agreement on exploring what it looks like to move forward and you’ve confirmed that doing so is a priority for them. Once that is agreed upon before you take time writing the proposal make sure you’ve set a time to either (a) review the proposal together, it can be positioned as still in draft format or (a) speaking within 24-48 hours after you’ve sent the proposal. This day/time should be scheduled before you send the proposal and best case is always to do it before your meeting/call ends.

      If a buyer doesn’t want to confirm a day/time to review the proposal with you they likely aren’t serious. Simply let them know that you’ll be putting together some options on the best path to move forward and you’d like to review that with them and ensure that it’s exactly what they want, answer questions, etc. Any serious buyer will appreciate that.

  78. Zafer Unver says:

    Good stuff Michael. I have a prospect meeting tomorrow and this article helped me to phrase and structure my questions. Thanks for such simple, clear yet to the point article.

  79. How do you work with clients that have various levels of products and the value to them depends on the level of products sold? Do you have to get the client to offer an average?

    • Hi Matt, you’ll have to elaborate on your question as I’m not clear what you’re asking and how that relates to this post on asking questions?

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