“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.” – Jim Rohn
A possible client is on the phone. She’s enthusiastic and ready to commit. Excitement builds, because you can almost taste the victory… and the much needed cash flow… and because you genuinely want to help her.
Careful, though. The wrong word or even the wrong tone of voice can take the relationship in the wrong direction. Slip up now, and you could be paying for it for months… or years.
Asking the right questions from new prospects is so, so important… especially in the formative stages of the business relationship. Good questions allow you to gain valuable knowledge about where clients are mentally and to help them commit to moving forward.
Perhaps even more importantly, asking good questions helps you screen out bad clients before they become enmeshed in your business and screw it up!
Questions to Prepare Your Client for Taking the Next Step
These questions will allow you to gauge prospects and to educate them to make the right decision.
1. Why did you call us?
What problem do they want you to solve? The superficial issue might seem obvious – for instance, a foreclosure, accident or divorce. But an open-ended question like “What brought you to see (or speak) with me today?” will get prospects to tell you their story and give you insight into what’s truly motivating them to take action. You need to know the Why before you can effectively address the What.
2. What’s your ideal resolution?
If their goals are unreasonable, you may need to walk them back… or kick them to the curb. Clarifying goals will also help you avoid getting distracted by less important, tangential details.
3. What expectations do you have from a law firm?
I like this question because it surfaces unspoken standards and gives you clues about how clients will behave once you’re working together. For instance, like a mafia boss, he might say “I don’t care what you do as long as you get results.” Or she might emphasize secrecy or privacy. Or a business might be obsessed with cash cash cash. Point is: find out what’s important NOW to lead the relationship and determine whether it’s a good fit.
Asking the right questions will position your law firm as a team who cares. More importantly, it will screen out the people who don’t belong in your system and set the stage for a positive relationship from the word Go. Take the time to get the right information from prospects every time you start a new relationship. Don’t let desperation for cash or business – or laziness – prevent you from being smart about this!