Whether you are starting out as a consultant or already established, it is your responsibility to offer professional advice, assistance, and support to clients at critical times. In order to do this, you must first fully understand their present circumstances, challenges, as well as their expectations for the future. However, many clients find it difficult to express or justify their own perspectives on the issue, particularly if it's their first time speaking with you. So how can you gather all the necessary information before you decide to work with a client or even sign a consulting agreement?
Implementing client intake forms—which you could even distribute before you first meet with new clients—is a fantastic solution to this issue. Intake forms create a uniform, quantifiable, and engaging framework for maximizing your clients' experience while saving you time. You can draft your own consulting client intake form template which can be easily filled out with client-specific information when you're ready to use it.
If you need help creating your own template, let's go over some of the main aspects to include and give you some example questions to get you on the right path.
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Top Questions to Ask Your Potential Clients
The specific questions you choose for your intake form may vary depending on the type of consulting services you offer. However, regardless of your target niche, there are some critical elements to consider when creating your own template. These can be broken down into four categories: consulting expectations, company and industry insights, current challenges, and objectives.
Let's dig a little more into each of these points and provide you with the best questions to help you gather the most relevant information.
The first step is to determine the client's major reason for hiring a consultant and what they expect to gain from working with you. You may also ask whether they have previous experience working with consultants or what tactics they have attempted in the past to handle their challenges. This will assist you in creating objectives and criteria for your new consulting client relationships as well as finding a fresh approach to deliver the best results.
Here are some questions you can consider adding to your client intake form templates.
- Have you ever worked with a consultant?
- What do you expect to gain from my consulting services?
- Have you explored any other alternatives? If so, which ones and how did that work for you?
- How do you want to accelerate your development?
- How do you assess your own effectiveness?
- Please describe any previously established needs for the framework of the consultation.
- Do you have any questions for me?
Company and Industry Insights
Another crucial consideration is the type of company for which you will be working. Try to get a thorough description of your client's business including their branding, target audience, competitors, products and services offered as well as corporate values. This can immensely help you determine whether you are a suitable fit for them.
Try including some of the following questions to learn more about your new client.
- Please provide the company name and size.
- Are you a product or service based business?
- What kinds of services or goods do you provide?
- Who are your top 5 competitors?
- What sets your company apart from the competition?
- Please describe your ideal clients (demographics, interests, and income)
- How long has your company been operating?
- What do you regard to be the key values of your organization?
- Does your organization, team, or board welcome or oppose change?
If you want to accurately measure improvement, you must first understand where your client is currently standing in regards to challenges and areas of opportunities. Include a set of questions to learn more about the problem they are attempting to tackle and gain some understanding of how successfully the company is currently managing its projects and other associated procedures.
The following questions can help you dig deeper into your client's current situation.
- What difficulties are you presently encountering in your business?
- What in your opinion is causing low productivity in your company?
- Can you provide background on the situation you're trying to resolve?
- Are there any actions being taken by you or your team that might be preventing the accomplishment of this objective?
- How are other people in your organization affected by this situation?
- In what areas of the company are things currently working well? Where are they lacking?
- Do financial restrictions prevent you from working effectively?
- How ready do you think your business is to introduce change?
To fully understand your client's goals for the consulting relationship, delve into any significant figures or deadlines that you should be aware of. You may also ask them for suggestions on what solutions you might apply to help them realize results. Customer satisfaction depends on achieving these goals, therefore you must gather all the necessary data to determine whether or not you can assist this client.
These questions should assist you in understanding your client's objectives:
- What areas of your business do you wish to change?
- What are your top priorities for this consulting project?
- What is your primary goal for the forthcoming fiscal year?
- Does this project have a deadline? Are there any specific milestones in between?
- What would you fix if you could only change one thing?
- What are some of the trade-offs you might consider while deciding what you want for the future?
- What do you think the impact of your actions resulting from the consulting process will be?
Improve Your Client Intake Process With Bonsai
Need help making your intake process more efficient? Bonsai's all-in-one product suite is your best bet! We offer multiple administrative tools to help you streamline, save time and streamline your paperwork without compromising quality. Our lightweight form builder allows you to create your own intake forms to collect information and new leads, allowing you to add your own company logo as well as customize form fields to your liking.
We also offer tons of legally-vetted templates for client intake, business proposals, quotes contracts and invoices. Furthermore, Bonsai can help with client and project management, payment processing, taxes and accounting. You can even apply to get your own fuss-free checking account and manage all of your business finances in the same platform.
Sign up for your 14-day free trial today, and see why Bonsai is the go-to administrative platform for thousands of independent professionals in your industry!