I've seen all the posts out there — five questions to ask your clients, three questions to ask your clients, etc. They all say the same basic things: Who is your target audience? What are your goals? What have you already done? On and on ...
First of all, every graphic designer, web developer, writer and marketer worth his or her salt knows how to gather data for campaign planning. The questions are obvious, and they need to be asked. It's your job, and though necessary, these questions won't differentiate you from any of your competitors (what you do with the answers will, but that's another story).
These three questions, on the other hand, will do wonders for your business:
- How was your weekend?
- How is business?
- How can I help?
When money is tight and competition is tighter, friendship sells. If you're asking all the same questions as your competitors, and you share a high quality of work and/or pricing, clients might as well flip a coin. But when your clients feel as though they're speaking with a friend, they trust you.
That trust must never be taken advantage of, and your friendship has to be genuine. You have to truly care about your clients, not only for your business success, but also for their business success and as human beings. Everything else being equal, if trust and friendship are present you won't have to go looking far for business — and business partners who also happen to be your friends.
What are some other questions you should ask your clients?