15 Consulting Questions To Ask a Client (With Tips)
Updated August 9, 2022
One key skill for consultants is communication, as they frequently have meetings and conversations with their clients. Asking consulting questions is a great way to show prospective clients your expertise and understand what challenges they're facing. If you work as a consultant, knowing how to ask great consulting questions can help you improve your relationships with clients and communicate with them more effectively.
In this article, we explain what consulting questions are, discuss the benefits of asking consulting questions, provide a list of 15 great consulting questions you can ask your clients and explore tips for speaking to clients effectively.
What are consulting questions?
Consulting questions are questions you can ask prospective clients during a consultant interview. Asking the right consulting questions can help you learn more about the client and determine how you can serve them. Consulting questions cover topics like the client's customers, challenges and goals to help you understand their situation and propose a course of action.
What are the benefits of consulting questions?
Asking consulting questions can benefit both you and your clients in many ways, including:
Showing the client your expertise
One benefit of asking consulting questions is that it can show your prospective client your consulting expertise. Asking good questions can help show your client that you're knowledgeable and qualified to work with them.
Learning what you need to know about your client
Asking consulting questions can also help you learn what you need to know about your client to be a great consultant. You can ask questions about your client's challenges, goals, customers and other topics to help you get the information you need to develop a strategy.
Strengthening your relationship with your client
Another benefit of asking consulting questions is that it can help you strengthen your relationship with a prospective client. You can ask questions to get to know your client better and move your relationship forward.
Related: What Is a Consultant?
15 consulting questions to ask a client
Here are 15 consulting questions to consider asking your clients:
1. What is your top goal for this year?
Asking about the client's priority for the near future can help you learn more about the client and begin thinking about how you can help them accomplish their goals. You can also use the client's top goal to help keep them on track throughout the project.
2. What makes your business different from your competitors?
You can ask your client what makes them different from their competitors to help you understand your client's value proposition and competitive advantage. You can use this information as you develop their unique strategy.
3. Who is involved with the decision-making and execution of this project?
Asking who the essential contacts are for the project can help you ensure that you know who to reach as you work with the client. Knowing exactly who to contact can help you save time and increase productivity.
4. What is the primary reason you're looking for a consultant?
You can also ask your client to explain their main reason for hiring a consultant. Asking this question can help you pinpoint exactly what the client wants to get out of your relationship. This can help you set goals and expectations for your work with the client.
5. What are the most pressing challenges you're facing with this project?
Asking your client about their challenges can give you insight into problems you can help solve through consulting. It can also give you an idea of what specific problems you should prioritize for your client to see results.
6. What options have you already tried?
It's also important to ask clients what options they've already tried. This way, you know which new solutions you can introduce or how you can improve upon the solutions they've already considered.
7. Can you tell me about the profile of your target customer?
You can also ask your client to explain their target customer, including their demographics and any problems they're facing. This information is important to help you develop a strategy that works for your client and make customer-centric decisions.
Related: What Is a Persona?
8. How prepared is your organization to make a change?
Another question you can ask your client is how prepared they are to make a change. This question is important to gauge how willing your client is to implement your solutions and get results.
9. How does this project relate to your organization overall?
Asking how the project relates to the organization can help you understand where this specific project fits into the client's overall goals and plans.
10. If you could change one thing about this project, what would you change?
It can also be a good idea to ask clients what they would change about the project if they could. This can give you ideas of what specific solutions you can implement for the client to see results.
11. What outcomes do you expect from this project?
It's also essential to ask clients what outcomes they expect from a project, as achieving these outcomes is important to client satisfaction. Try to understand your client's outcomes in specific terms, including any key numbers or deadlines you should know.
12. Is there anything else that I should know?
This general question can help you gather any additional information about the client. This question is important to ask because it can help you catch any information that you didn't learn by asking your other questions.
13. Would a [proposed solution] help you reach your goal?
This question gives the opportunity for you to propose a potential solution or course of action to your client. Your proposal may be creating a plan, developing a new process or taking another course of action. This question can encourage the client to buy into your consulting, strengthening your relationship.
14. Do you have any questions for me?
You can also give the client the opportunity to ask you any questions they have. This is essential to make sure your client gets everything out of the conversation that they expected. It can also make them more likely to feel comfortable choosing you as a consultant.
15. When should we schedule a meeting to discuss our plan?
It's also important to end your conversation with a call to action to keep moving your relationship forward. This question asserts that you want to continue working with the client and asks the client to choose a meeting time that works best for them.
Tips for speaking with clients
Here are some tips that you can use to improve the way you speak with clients:
Do your research and be prepared
One essential tip for speaking with a client is to do your research and be prepared for your conversation. You can research your client's website, social media and news coverage to learn as much information as you can ahead of your conversation. You should have a general understanding of:
The name and role of the person you're speaking to
The client's product or service
The client's customers
The client's main competitors
The client's recent major events
Use active listening skills
You can also improve your communications with clients by using active listening skills. Active listening skills can help you show clients that you value what they're saying. Active listening includes giving feedback and being aware of your nonverbal cues while you're listening.
Build a relationship
Another tip for speaking with clients is to make an effort to build a relationship with each client. You can connect with the person you're speaking to by opening your conversation with a warm greeting and speaking in a friendly manner. This can help you keep fostering a relationship with your client.
Take notes on your conversation
Taking notes on your conversation is another key tip for speaking with clients. Taking notes can help you record important information from your conversation to use in developing your strategy. It can also show the client that you're listening closely to what they're saying and paying attention to their needs.
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