What questions do you ask new clients during your consultation, and what are their questions?

I agree with what everyone has said. I might just take a copy of my Web pages and stick them in a folder. That is because not everyone is on line. I have a PC calling me who doesn't own a computer. I had to send him my Web pages. So you may want to think of that. Even though that does present a problem of "how do you send the work over"? I don't think this client and me are a good fit, he wants to drop off the work at my home and that is not something I am comfortable with. But it may be a workable thing for other people. Then I take forms like: client data form, contract, FAQ, rates that I keep in a special folder just for free consultations. Then I will leave them for the PC. Along with my business card attached to an inexpensive folder.
I also make it a point when the PC is talking I try to take notes for later cause I just know I will forget something that was important. Then I can followup if need be. I also take those notes and type them up, date them and put them in my "Inquiries folder" for those free consultations. If the PC turns into a client then I have a heavy cardboard folder with 2 prongs on the top. I use that to file any legal docs like: contract, NDA, etc. I also have another folder for each client with my copy of work done. You kind of have to do it as you go along and see what system really works best for you. One works for one person doesn't always work for another. HTH
Jo-Carole
Thank you for the great suggestions!
 
There is a lot of good information in here. I was thinking of doing an office evaluation and get a feel for my office consultation questions, this will help! I'm making bullet points now. haha
 

Your Virtual Wizard

Community Leader
I vet most of my clients through email before we reach the consulting point. So I know alot more of what they need at the time of the call. I also send them my New Client Welcome Packet which clearly states what my policies are. During the consultation I will ask if there are any questions about my policies. I also reiterate the important things such as late payment policy, how I work, what to expect, etc., on the consultation so there are no questions later.

Basically the consultation is to decide what needs to be done further. So we know for example, that someone wants social media set up initially so the consultation is about how that happens and what I need to do to make that happen. However, I am very careful not to give a way the store because long ago I was burned by a client who took my ideas and ran with them. So I give just the overview.

I use the consultation to discuss goals...what needs to be done now, in a month, in 6 months, in one year and beyond.

I limit my consultations to 30 minutes and I say that before I make the call. My time is limited and I have to move on if the client is not a good match for me or vice versa.

Janine
 

sarahdavey

New Member
This is such a great thread, thanks SO much to everyone who contributed! I don't have much to contribute at the early stage, but my thoughts are this:

a) this is an opportunity to get to know each other a little bit. like some others have said, let the client do a lot of the talking, as this will be hugely insightful toward what you can expect down the road
b) keep it simple. this is the preliminary stage, so going in too hard too fast with a lot of very detailed questions about systems etc can be a put off. Just enough but not too much, like Janine said, don't give away the cow!
c) draw out as many bits of info about how the client likes to work or would like to work in their perfect world, and what their goals are. Then at the end of the call you can recap those pieces and tell them how you can support them effectively.

And of course offering to write up a service plan for them to review, and include an agreement to be signed if/when they decide to go ahead.
 
Thanks Sarah!

I wrote that so long ago (4 years-eep!)but it still provides relevant info.

My business has changed quite a bit since then so I don't follow the same routine but I do use pieces of it to this day.
- I check out the PC (pc=potential client) website if it they provided it, if not I ask them for it so I can familiarize myself with their work.
- Next, I search Google/Twitter/Myspace/Facebook/LinkedIn for their name and company. I'm finding it an awesome resource in finding out more about them & their work, good & bad. You can find out a bit about their personality. See if they are someone you would like working with.
- I keep notes of anything interesting I find
-During the call I keep there website open so I can refer to it, if needed. I also mention that I read their site, making sure to comment on something found there, and think working with them would be interesting

I'm so glad so many have found my post useful over the years.

~C
 

sarahdavey

New Member
It is really helpful! It's also really generous of you to share so much. I'm really inspired by this whole community! In so many other business communities the competitive nature of their business is so strong that knowledge sharing doesn't tend to happen. I'm still finding myself surprised by how giving the VA community is!

I'm very much a scratch each other's backs kinda girl, because the value in positive relationships with fellow industry pro's is so rich, and it's so much nicer to have camaraderie!

So thanks again - I'd hug you if I could - because what you posted has taken the edge off a pending initial consult (first one) that is coming much earlier than I expected! I'm feeling much more prepared just by the idea of having a 'routine' and I can see what mine might look like. Seeing the forest for the trees!
 
Hi -
Sarah, Good Luck on your consult! I know that you will do well. This thread has provided such an awesome amount of information, I am very thankful to all who have shared their insight. I too am making notes to compile my own "checklist"!
 

sarahdavey

New Member
Thanks Melody! I know that if it doesn't go well this time, it won't be the last, and I'm trying to remember that so I don't get overly worked up!
 

Amanda

New Member
Wow! What a great thread. I actually bookmarked it several days ago but because it was so long I couldn't read it all right away. I've copied and pasted several notes into Evernote so I can put together a document for me to use. Thank you everyone for all of the valuable tips!

Sarah, I hope your consult went great!
 

VASbyBG

Member
This is an awesome thread! I have my first PC and Christina's response has REALLY pumped me up! Thanks everyone.
 

deedallas

New Member
Thank Christina I like the questions and research that you do before. Good plan to start doing. Thanks Again
 
Hi Tia :) I might suggest finding out what tasks they have to do on a daily or regular basis that they don't enjoy doing, feel are taking too long, or are taking away from other aspects of business they feel are more important (maybe these are things you can take off their hands!) I would also ask if there are areas in their business they are looking for specific improvements; goals they have in mind; areas of technology or the internet that they are interested in learning more about or utilizing. I would find out what their expectations in partnering with a VA are.

I would also ask if they have any questions for me ;)
Thanks Tess! This helps me as well.
 
Thanks to Christina and to everyone who contributed to this thread! I have two in person consultations today with PCs and I am putting together a checklist as we speak. This thread is very helpful and I now feel more confident going into those consultations today. Ya'll are awesome!
 
These are great tips! Reading these make me feel way more comfortable. I think I'm fine up until it's time to get the conversation started and then I get a little nervous. It always fades but I would like to get to a "script" that I normally use. I have to remember, "This is my business and I am in control."
 
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