Every job is not only about the work but also communication. The less miscommunication, the better the end result will be. This article tells you how to ask questions to any client and provides a template so that for your next client, there won't be any scope for misunderstanding.
Questions are important because they help clarify what is expected from you and confirm if you're on track with your clients' expectations or not.
It's difficult to get new clients to respond to a large number of questions when they just want the process to move forward, but believe me that after enough sticky situations, you'll recognize it's worth every bit the extra effort you put in.
A good starting point is to create a list of all the questions that you think are important and then further divide them into sub-categories. For example, if your client wants an app for their business, it's possible they're not sure what features will be required. Questions like these should come first:
1. Is there anyone else on this project who will be providing input on the project?
2. What are your objective goals for this project?
How to get answers from your clients
Every client is unique: there are some who are so clueless that they trust you more to come up with a better solution which roughly translates to “there's no purpose to me answering all these questions.”
The opposite of the above-mentioned clients include those who get so involved that you can't seem to get started without them coming in with new ideas or more information.
Then, there are email-friendly clients, and those that don't respond to emails at all. Those who don't communicate frequently might not respond back, therefore it's best to go through the questions in person or on the phone.
You need to be astute enough to extrapolate their preferred communication channel and make sure that they agree to answer all of your questions before the deal is signed.
A few important questions to ask clients as soon as possible
1. What's the issue the project aims to address?
Begin by learning why this project is being worked on in the first place. Is it a refurbishment of something that already exists? If so, what's wrong with the current version? Why has this new initiative been created if it's a fresh project?
Discuss any market issues they want to tackle (eg. we discovered that this resource was desired by our audience and no alternative to it exists yet).
2.Have your staff ever worked on an endeavor like this before?
Knowing about similar projects' histories may help you avoid common problems and find better methods to operate the project successfully. The more you can discover regarding their company's past performance, the more prepared you'll be.
3. What is your definition of success?
You can't fulfil a customer's objectives if you don't know what they are. Get a good sense of the metrics that your client will use to evaluate the project's success.
For example, let us say you need to consider how your advertising will be measured. It's not possible to guess whether the client will evaluate its success on the basis of how many people click through to make a purchase or by how many people discuss it might influence how you go about doing the task. Hence, asking this question becomes key to figuring your plan of action.
“No matter how innovative your ideas are, you will never be able to achieve a client's goals if you don't even know what they are.”
Take the time to learn as much as you can about the customer's expectations for the project, including outcomes but also timelines and methods for working together. Make sure you communicate your realistic expectations to the client in a way that is clear and leaves no room for miscommunication.
4. What's your budget?
Leading with this question after you've examined the client's goals and objectives will offer you a good sense of how realistic the prospective customer's expectations are.
Many clients will try to turn this question around on you by asking your charges, but it's important to at least get a rough idea of how much they're willing to spend.
It's also crucial to figure out whether any money has been set aside for charity, sponsorship, or competitions while developing your marketing plan as it will assist you in figuring out what the priorities of the client are.
As a specialist in the sector, you're undoubtedly aware of how much money it takes to succeed with any particular client. If you need to double-check your new numbers, Webstrategies is a decent tool which specializes in providing current marketing expenditure and even a budget planner to assist you in planning ahead.
It is critical that the client's budget and timetable expectations are realistic, as well as the project's scope and complexity to ensure a smooth and successful collaboration.
5. What is the decision-making procedure for work approval? Please describe your company's organizational chart in detail.
In client/agency relationships, workflow is an ongoing problem. Working on the same page quickly might need a thousand emails back and forth, leading to missed deadlines or revisions that may leave a poor taste in your or the customer's mouth.
To avoid this, start by learning about their team's processes and what will be required of you and your staff. This will make it easier to prevent the workflow slowdown that clients and agencies frequently complain about.
Slack, Google Documents, or Asana might help you simplify your communication with your client by keeping everyone on the same page.
It's also critical that you figure out who the key decision-makers are and ensure they're included in all work seeking approval. Finally, describe how your agency-client team will collaborate.
If clients believe that once a firm is engaged, their marketing efforts are finished, the relationship is likely to fail. As soon as possible, define this long-term connection and manage expectations so you don't have to deal with this issue in the future.
6.What online marketing channels is your business using currently?
Getting a copy of the firm's digital marketing plan, including which channels are used, which tools are in their marketing toolkit, and how they are monitoring any existing or prior campaigns will help you figure out how to collaborate effectively. For example, your agency may specialize in Google ads, but they may not be leveraging this channel at all. This information is easily discovered; you just need to ask the right questions.
What is working for them (and what isn’t) will help you better understand the landscape they’ve been operating in. Additionally, this information will supplement the development of your strategy should you decide to work with them. Questions about how long they’ve been in business and what kind of traction they have had in that period are great metrics to understand.
Getting a clear picture of client’s openness to testing and current commitment to data integrity will also help you ease into the working relationship and grasp what will work best in your prospective partnership.
These are the 6 main questions that should definitely be answered every time a relationship needs to be established with a client. Clarification on these will ensure smooth collaboration and better productivity.
To ensure a successful project, alignment of views is a must and that is what asking questions to your clients strives to do.
After discussing the 5 aforementioned questions you will have to ask more specific ones so as to not exclude any miniature detail expected by the client.
For example, you can ask questions about previous marketing performance which include:
1. What is your consumer acquisition cost?
2. Do you have a service level agreement in place between the marketing and sales departments?
3. What monitoring and analysis tools do you employ to keep track of and assess your campaigns?
4. What actions produced the most return on investment for your company last year?
Or to understand the client's business strategy you can ask questions such as:
1. What are the principles and values that your brand is built upon?
2. How do prospects usually come across your product?
3. What do you want your company's identity to be in the market?
The answers to these questions not only help you with creating a client centric approach but also allow you to understand their core philosophy which is essential when it comes to understanding their needs and will help you figure out the best approach to achieve all the objectives you set out for.
Never underestimate the power of questions. Make sure that every query is answered or at the least put in front of the client to be addressed.
Not only does it show your interest in the partnership but also keeps your client alert and not get complacent after the deal is put on paper. Questions help a lot in better collaboration and prevent clashes between the two parties.
These questions make sure that you have all your bases covered but also ensure long-term success of the project as everyone is kept on their toes to work towards achieving common goals.
Questions are an integral part of any relationship or agreement and should always be asked if the need arises.
To conclude, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have complete clarity on what the project is and how the client wants it to be done.
This is not possible without asking your client effective questions and ensuring that nothing is lost in translation between the two parties. This guide was created with the aim to help you do that effortlessly.
Use this to promote better decision making, save time and most importantly to satisfy your client!
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