As a consultant, your goal is to provide your clients with expert guidance, answers and support when they need it the most. In order to accomplish this, you must comprehend the issue completely, including their current situation and their expectations for the future. However, many clients struggle to articulate or explain their own views of the problem, especially if it's their first time meeting with you. But you still need to know if you will be able to help them before you move on to signing a contract right?
A great workaround for this problem is to implement a consulting questionnaire which you can even send before the initial session. This is an effective and respectful way to get the potential client to provide you with important information and encourage them to clarify their own ideas. If you want to create your own questionnaire, you'll find this article helpful.
We will go over why it's important to implement a consulting questionnaire as part of your client intake process, and go over some of the best questions to ask your clients. Let's get to it!
Note: Looking for an easy and effective way to create your consulting questionnaire? Bonsai's form builder helps you quickly draft a professional and branded document that you can send to all of your clients or add it to your business website. Get yours today! Claim your 7-day free trial here.
Why You Need a Consulting Client Questionnaire
A consulting questionnaire is a strategic way to begin the customer journey. It will give you enough information you need to get to know your prospects and their expectations. The answers they provide will also be of great help for you to ensure client satisfaction. Here are some reasons why you should implement a client questionnaire as part of your onboarding process.
Determine if a Prospective Client Is a Good Fit
A consulting questionnaire will allow you to get into specific information such as what line of business your potential client is in, their competitive advantage, objectives, etc. You will also discover their reasons for wanting to work with a consultant and what expectations they have of your services. This is an excellent way for you to evaluate whether or not they will be your ideal client.
You might find out they're looking for a type of service you don't offer, or their demands are too high for you to meet. In these cases it might be best to either offer alternative consulting services, or let them know you won't be able to take them on.
Create a Strong Consulting Business Proposal
You can't write an effective consultant proposal without having a good understanding of your client's needs and expectations. While it's still necessary to have an initial meeting in person before you present a business proposal, sending out a questionnaire beforehand will help you prepare follow-up questions and gather more valuable information. This will give you an incredible advantage over your competitors when creating a consulting strategy and clients will be more likely to want to invest in your services.
Showcase Your Expertise
A well-designed consulting questionnaire will showcase your skills and knowledge, demonstrating that you are qualified to assist your clients in achieving their objectives. For many potential clients, receiving a comprehensive questionnaire that prompts them to reflect on their current situation, challenges and goals is already a good sign that they've chosen the right consultant.
But what are the right questions to ask? Take a look at these vital consulting questions you must consider.
Top Questions to Ask Your Prospective Clients
Depending on the specific consulting services you provide, the questions you include in your client intake questionnaire will vary. However, there are some vital aspects that you should focus on regardless of your target niche. These can be divided into 4; Consulting expectations, brand and industry insights, challenges, and objectives.
Let's take a deeper look into each of these aspects.
The first thing you'll want to do is identify the client's primary motivation for hiring a consultant, and what they expect to get out of working with you. This will help you in establishing objectives and standards for your relationship with consulting clients.
You can also try to find out if they have previous experience with consultants, or what strategies they have tried before in order to solve this specific problem. This way you can look for a fresh approach.
Consider the following questions:
- Have you worked with a consultant before?
- What do you hope to get out of our consulting services?
- What alternatives have you already explored?
- How do you want to speed up your development?
- Please elaborate on any previously discussed requirements for the consultation's structure.
- Do you have any inquiries for me?
- How do you evaluate your effectiveness?
Brand and Industry Insights
Another important aspect to understand is the type of business you will be working for. Ask your client to describe their brand and tell you about their competitors as well as the products they offer and company values. This can greatly help you decide whether you will be a good fit for them.
Include these questions on your consulting questionnaire:
- What is the most challenging aspect of your company?
- What distinguishes your company from its competitors?
- Who will be in charge of this project's implementation and who will make the ultimate decisions?
- Could you describe the characteristics of your ideal client? (demographics, interests, income)
- What type of services or products do you offer?
- How long have you been in business?
- Does your group, team, or board welcome change or resist it?
- What do you consider to be your organization's core values?
In order to see progress, you must clarify where your client is currently standing. Find out what is the situation they are trying to solve and get some insights into the business' current project management efficiency as well as other processes related.
Some of the questions that you might include are:
- What challenges are you currently facing in your business?
- Who are the parties involved in this project?
- What do you consider is leading to low productivity in your business?
- Can you give me a brief background on the situation you're hoping to resolve?
- Is there anything you or your staff are doing that might be impeding the achievement of this goal?
- What areas are things now performing effectively or poorly in?
- Are there any financial limitations stopping you from working efficiently?
- How prepared is your company to implement change?
Try to comprehend your client's objectives in detail, digging deep into any important figures or due dates that you should be aware of. Reaching these objectives is crucial to customer satisfaction, so gather all the vital information you need to determine whether or not you will be able to help this client. You can also ask clients to give you ideas of what solutions you could implement in order for them to see results.
These questions should help you understand their objectives:
- What aspects of your company would you like to change?
- What are your priorities regarding the project?
- If you could only change one thing, what would it be?
- What is your main objective for the upcoming fiscal year?
- Is there a deadline for this project? Any specific milestones in between?
Create the Perfect Client Questionnaire With Bonsai
Now that you know the best consulting questions to ask before you bring a new client onboard, you can create your own questionnaire using Bonsai's custom client forms. You can fully customize the document by adding your own branding elements, including as many questions as you want, and choosing the answer format that best fits your needs (multiple choice, text, or single choice).
Once your document is ready, send it to your clients via email, URL link, or simply have it embedded into your business website for ultimate efficiency. But don't stop there! Bonsai offers a variety of administrative tools to help you with your consulting business end-to-end. From proposals, contracts, invoices and payments, to accounting and tax solutions, we really have everything you need to make it big. Start your 14-day free trial and see for yourself!