So you landed a new client and over-delivered on your marketing promises. Work done? Not yet - the next step to improve the relationship is to solidify it, and this means getting hired for other projects or an ongoing engagement.
One of the keys to winning more profitable consulting projects is increasing their size. And the best way to do this is by asking your clients questions that uncover more value, increasing the scope and urgency of their work with you.
When you question the status quo, what you offer is not only your services - but your thinking. You create value while making yourself uniquely distinct.
You will need to move out of your comfort zone. If you want to explore and discover new ways you can help, you can't ask the same questions you've been asking until now. That's why I've put together a list with some inspiring ones here.
Two important reminders before you use them:
- Context matters: Pick questions that fit the situation, the client, and your own personality. What's the thinking style of those you are talking to? If analytical, explore costs, results, current data. If experimental, zoom out and ask about the big picture, or inquire about their long-term strategy and goals.
- How you pose questions matters: Don't memorize them like a script. Practice asking them with a colleague and use language that's easy and comfortable for you. Good and productive conversations should feel natural - no one likes to be interrogated like a crime suspect.
10 Probing Questions To Identify Larger Consulting Opportunities
These questions are a good starting point for conversations that uncover high-value problems:
- Can you tell me more?
- How will _____ affect _____?
- If you accomplish this, what's the result?
- What prompted you to address this now?
- How does this fit in with the bigger picture?
- What else are you working on that's related to this?
- Could we take a look at the data?
- Is anyone else concerned about this?
- What happens if you don't address this?
(Possible follow-up: How much is this costing you?)
- What does fixing this issue mean for you, personally?