Have you been on a job interview lately? Or maybe even conducted a job interview lately? Not too many years ago, a job interview consisted of an interviewee preparing to be asked a bunch of questions which would qualify whether he was the right candidate for the job or not. Things related to his work ethic, lifestyle, and more. But in recent years, interviewers now expect the interviewee to come prepared with their own lists of questions. They must be ready to ask as often as they answer, if not work. There are a whole lot of whys, hows, and whats.
But this post isn’t about a job interview (well kind of). This post is about the client interview. It’s the interview where you sit down with your clients and interview them to find out the whys, hows, and whats of their businesses needs. This is the interview in which you are given free reign to learn as much as possible about the client you are sitting in front of. Unfortunately, for most of us, WE BOMB THE INTERVIEW. Instead of asking a whole bunch of great questions, we come with one or two (like “what’s your name”) and then we proceed to vomit self-describing information, business features and benefits, and lots of other stuff that won’t get us very far. So what do you do? You must prepare! Below are the types of questions (specific and general) that you should be asking:
This is the interview in which you are given free reign to learn as much as possible about the client you are sitting in front of.
Find out as much as you can about the person.
- How long they have been in the position they are in?
- Things they enjoy about their job.
- Things they do not enjoy about their job (among other things, this can lead to you offering stress-reducing solutions).
- What they do for fun?
- What are their personal/business goals?
Find out as much as you can about the company.
- How does the decision making process work?
- What has the business done really well?
- Where does their competition out-achieve them?
- What would they like to see done to improve the business?
If they are an existing customer.
- Why do they use you?
- Where have you missed the mark in their eyes?
- Where have you excelled?
- If your business could add one product/service to your offering, what would they want to see added?
If they are not an existing customer.
- Why are they open to sitting down to speak with you?
- What do they enjoy most about working with their current provider/vendor?
- Where has their current provider/vendor fallen short?
This list is definitely not exhaustive, but for many of you this is a wonderful place to start. Keep your questions focused on learning more about your client. Trust me, you will have plenty of time to tell about you later.