5 Tricky Questions Potential Clients Ask
Have you felt sometimes like you are in a job interview where you can answer their questions however, you have struggled with whether your answer was good enough or made you sound like a tosser?
Prospective clients are in many ways “interviewing” businesses to see if they are the fit for them. I asked my colleagues at the Albany Creek Business Contacts what are the trickiest questions they get asked as business owners, how they interpret the questions and how they think best to answer them. Here is the top 5.
1. As a sole trader/business owner, what happens to me if you disappear or get hit by a bus?
This is a very reasonable question if the client is relying on a sole person to deliver the service or product. It was suggested that there needs to be total transparency in relation to the service, ensuring the client has all the tools and wear-with-all they need to set up continuity. For instance if your website is managed and hosted by a sole trader then the business needs to ensure the client has all passwords, backups and information needed to seamlessly and easily transfer the work to another provider. It was also suggested that, if possible, the business could create networking partners to back them up if they are unable to provide the service or product.
2. How many staff do you have?
It was agreed that businesses can be measured by their size. However, this question can be motivated from a couple of angles. If there is one or very few people in the business, some prospective clients maybe concerned with capability to provide the service or product and back-up if required. On the other hand, in some industries, prospective clients maybe concerned that a large number of staff may equal a higher price tag and loss of personalised service. To handle this question, it was agreed that the question needs to be answered honestly, but follow up the answer with a gentle probing question to determine what the driving concern is of the prospective client that has prompted them to ask this question, then address the concern/s.
3. Why should I do this now?
More people are prioritising how they spend their money. Prospective clients are probing more in relation to whether the service or product is a “nice to have” or a “must have”. Discussion concluded that in this instance, whilst maintaining relationships, the best approach is to outline the implications if the client doesn’t act with the service or product. The example used was a fire safety business who approached one of the members and showed them a short video of a house fire where a family was trapped and injured. At the end of the video, the business owner as “would you like to buy a fire-extinguisher?” This strategy successfully showed the prospective client the reason for the “must have”.
4. How long will it take and what will it cost?
No matter what the industry, I am sure nearly every business owner has been confronted with this question. The answer is – you can’t really answer this definitely without client input. It was agreed that it is best to qualify the procedure of the service or product delivery (that is, explain what is involved in providing the service or obtaining the product). It was also suggested that the business owner try to ascertain the client’s expectations and what they consider reasonable. It’s about making the invisible visible.
5. Donation and sponsorship requests.
Many businesses have a corporate social conscience and where possible give back to the community. However, there are a large number of organisations seeking support through donations and sponsorships that there has to be limit as to what a business can do. It was agreed the best way to handle this situation is to set the businesses donation and sponsorship budget as part of the business’s overall budgeting process. This activity not only determines the dollars available but also how the dollars are going to be spent. Then when request come along, the response is that the business has allocated sponsorship and donations for the year and regrettably cannot supply more. If you then want the organisation to provide you with more information you may wish to consider them in your next year allocation.
(Blog contributors – Leonard Whittaker (Action Cycle Learning) Rob Carmody (Australian Integrated Communications) Mike McFillin (Australian Training School) Damian Jenkins (Australian Unity, North Lakes) Sally Balwin (Balanix Solutions) Kathy Patterson (Brendale Stationery Supplies) Matthew Fox (Brisbane hosting & Web Design) Kirsty Newbery (Caring Cottage) Brad Davies (Conquest Pest & Termite Control) Nathan Dobbins (Core Computers) Scott Deaves (David Deane Real Estate) De Wet van der Nest (Express Air Con Cleaning) Dan Milgate (Fit4Life Personal Training) Oriano Giammichele (GT Racing, Mobile Mechanic) Jason Matthey (Insurance Web) Andrew Gallagher (Lollyworld) Pete Paulo (Pacific Empowerment) Craig Chalmers (Royalty Home Services) Tara Forrest (Tim Forrest Plumbing) Jenni Goddard (Jenni FX) Lynne Somerville (About you Promotions) Tessa Stowe (Sendout Cards) Michael Manttan (Jims Car Cleaning Aspley)
Albany Creek Business Contacts consists of local quality and reliable businesses who provide a wide range of services from home and residential services to B2B and commercial services. Our service areas cover primarily Albany Creek, Eatons Hill, Brendale, Aspley, Warner, Chermside, Strathpine, North Lakes. However many members will cover greater areas.
Albany Creek Business Contacts meet fortnightly on a Wednesday morning for a 7am breakfast and networking meeting.