When talking to clients of professional services firms, one of the most common issues they raise is that their providers don’t always deliver what it is they are expecting. It’s very easy to listen to a client’s brief, assume you understand their requirements, and to go off and do the work but I strongly believe that, in order to avoid misunderstandings (and often huge frustrations on both sides) professionals need to ask questions to clarify their client’s needs at the outset.
While you should never ask anything that you could find out from the client’s website or other publicly available information, the questions below will go a long way to avoiding mismatched expectations:
- What outcome are you looking to achieve?
- How important is this work to you/your organisation?
- What’s your deadline for this work?
- What are you looking for from us? All the options or our recommendation?
- What’s your budget for this work?
- Do you need to present the advice to anyone internally?
- Will you be our key contact on this matter?
- How frequently would you like progress updates and what format would you like us to communicate these in (e.g. face-to-face, phone, email)?
What other questions do you think professionals should ask their clients when taking new instructions?
Do you have any examples of how doing this has helped your business?