Questions to Ask In The First Meeting With a Prospective Client

by | Jul 14, 2023

Here are some of the questions I ask during the first conversation with someone who has asked for a quote to build them a new website.

It’s important though not to have a script of question you can’t deviate from.  What’s most important is to understand what you need to know, and then have some questions you can use for each area.

Ice Breakers

Starting out, I need to know, if there is a current website I need to be careful not to offend anyone who built or was involved in building it.

  • Why are you looking for a new website?
  • How did you get your current website?
  • What’s your favorite thing about it?
  • What’s your least favorite thing about it?

Don’t ask any questions about the weather or their personal life.  Nobody expects you to really care about them or that stuff at this point.  This is business first.

Competition and Targets

I want to know if the client thinks their competition is who Google says is the competition.  They often DON”T match up.

  • How far away do your customers live from your business?
  • Do you want to expand beyond that?
  • Who is your competition?
  • Why do you think they are your competition?

Getting to Know Their Current Website’s Business Impact

Here, I need to do just 60 seconds of education for my next questions to make sense.  Plus, I’m starting to position myself as an expert.  So, I’m going to say something like:

“When it comes to the role a website should play in the customer journey for a business, there are four things you need to see happening.

The website should:

  1. Attract potential customers.
  2. Educate and inform them on why this business is or has the solution to the customer’s problem.
  3. Convert them to a client.
  4. Catch those not ready to convert with an email magnet to collect email addresses.

So, I have a few questions here to figure out the health of your current website.”

  • How are new customers getting to your website?
  • Does this need to improve on the new website?  Do you have, or would you like to see a plan to make that happen?
  • I looked at your website for about 60 seconds.  Based on that, this is what I learned about your company.  “_____________”, is that what I should have learned?
  • Do you know how many visitors are coming to your website per month on average?
    • IF YES
      • I would expect your website to see about 4% of its first-time visitors “insert primary CTA here“, do you know if that’s accurate”?
    • IF NO
      • Okay, if we installed some free software at no additional cost to you on your new website that would let you see how many people are looking at your website, at which pages they are looking at, how long they are staying on each page, where they are, who’s new vs who’s returning, etc.  Would that be of interest to you?
    • How many emails per month is your list growing by?
    • If your new website had an attractive email magnet people could download if they weren’t ready to “INSERT PRIMARY CTA”, do you have a customer relationship management software that can handle sending automated emails to your email list?

Getting to Know Their Current Business

I need to know the impact a new website could have on a potential client.  After all, this is the key to the sale and the price I can charge.  If I can help them trust that we can make their life better, then the sale is almost a guarantee and I can charge a premium price to provide a premium product.

To understand all this, I need to discover:

  • How much business they are doing.
  • How much business they want to do.
  • Can they handle that amount of new business?
  • Do they have realistic expectations?

The language you use here depends on the prospect.  If they are a medical practice, I would use “patients”, if it’s a pizza shop I’ll use “orders”, if it’s a mechanic I’ll use “vehicles”, etc.

For these examples, I’ll just use “orders” as if I was talking to a pizza shop owner.

  1. How many orders per month are you currently selling?
  2. What’s the average order amount?
  3. So, that’s “$xyz” per month in average revenue?
  4. What would you like this number to be?
  5. Why that number?  What will happen when we help you reach that?
  6. How soon do you need it to be that?
  7. Why that number?
  8. To get “$xyz”, that looks like we need to increase monthly sales by “##”.  Is that capacity doable?
  9. Do you have anything else planned to reach this goal that we should make sure the website compliments?

Here’s an example of the questions I asked a kid’s barbershop owner recently, and his answers.

    • How many stylists currently work for you?
      • 4
    • How many haircuts do they do in total in an average month?
      • 750
    • That’s about 185 per stylist.  How many can they do if more customers came in?
      • They are at about their max.
    • How many haircuts do you want to get to in an average month?
      • At least 1,000
    • So you’ll need to hire one more stylist.  Do you have a chair for them and enough square footage for more kids and their parents to wait in your current space?
      • Yes, but then we will be maxed out on space.
    • What’s the average cost of a haircut?
      • $12
    • So you are currently doing about $9,000 per month in revenue?
      • $10,000 with some product sales.  Some months a lot more.  Especially back to school month.
    • So you are looking to increase your revenue by about $3,000 per month?
      • Well, I would hope more.  If we could get more people in on Tuesdays’ that would be very helpful, Tuesdays are dead.
    • Okay, so maybe having a Tuesday special like “Bring a friend who’s never been here for the first time, and you both get 50% off on Tuesdays only.”  Would that be helpful?  Then, you would have the new families’ email addresses to do email marketing too to bring them back.
      • Maybe, yeah.  But we are currently doing email marketing.  We should.
    • So, if we get this extra $3,000 per month; what will that do for you?
      • Everything.  We would have enough money to start investing in new equipment and updating the shop.
    • What specifically would you want to update?
      • The chairs and gaming systems.
    • Why would those be the first to be replaced?
      • They make the kids happier and distracted from the haircuts.  Fewer tears mean happier moms.  Happier moms mean more referrals.
    • Do you have a way to ask these happy moms to leave a review?
      • No.
    • How soon do you want to start replacing those chairs and gaming systems?
      • No big rush.  Maybe 9 to 12 months.
    • How many customers do you lose per month?  Maybe they move, get too old, etc
      • I don’t know.  That’s a good question.  Maybe 200.
    • WOW, that surprised me.  So your current marketing is just keeping up with turnover?
      • Yeah, I guess.
    • I like to do more of what’s working, less of what’s not.  So, any idea what’s bringing in these 200 new customers per month?
      • Everyone says someone told them about us.
    • So word of mouth.  That’s good.  That means you do good work.  We should capitalize on that.  Getting reviews and testimonials.  Maybe even having a client referral rewards program or a client appreciation party, like an “end of school year” party.
      • Those are all great ideas.
    • What else are you currently doing for marketing that you are paying for?
      • Sometimes Facebook ads. But I don’t know if they work. Then a lot of local things. But it’s mostly been word of mouth.