1. “What are some of your Priorities today?”
Feel free to expand on this in a specific way targeted to your area of expertise. For example if you are now offering web services or want to increase your sales by offering social media marketing you could say, “What are some of your priorities around your Website?” or “What are some your priorities around Social Media today?”
This will get them talking. Ideally they will respond with something to the effect of, “oh, I’ve been really meaning to get into that, but don’t have the time….” BINGO you have an in to introduce your service and expand your sales. In the event that they do not need Social Media, follow up by asking, “Great! Who do you know that might be in need of help?” they may respond with, “hmmm, I don’t know”. Feel free to give them some examples of clients you have to spark their memory (Real Estate agents, Law Firms, Coaches, Speakers, etc).
Understanding your client’s challenges and what they are facing in their business will begin to differentiate you and your services. Clients will begin to look at you as more than just a VA that sometimes provides administrative services, you will become an extension of their strategy team, if your are not already, and upscale their perception of you and your services in their eyes.
3. “What would you ideally like to ….”
Everyone had an ideal of what they want their business to be. Ask your clients this question and see what they say, it might just surprise you how honest and direct they are and how much the open up to you. Typical answers can include quick responses such as, “I’d ideally like to make a million dollars, or have a day off” Either way, you’re in. Ask more questions, be genuinely interested and find a service you offer that will help them achieve that idea.
4. “Tell me about the impact it would have on your business if you could….”
I love impact questions. Impact to me means money, or ROI. Helping your clients calculate the ROI or talk money with you is a great thing. Articulating what impact means to them will not only help you understand more about them and their business, it will help you position the value of your services even more. This is especially true when the service you want to offer is more expensive than what they’ve typically paid in the past.
Remember, you may have to help them put the numbers together in this area. For example if you ask about the impact it would have on their business if they could delegate their Social Media to someone else and they respond that it would give them an extra 10 hours a week follow up with a question about what they would do with that time.
Then ask what the value of that time means to them. If you can get a monetary number from them; that would be even better. Feel free to share examples of other clients you have and their experiences with you and how much money they saved, or made, by using your new Social Media service.
5. Finally, last but not least, ask additional follow up questions.
This will give you more credibility and expand your knowledge of what is important to them. Just asking one question is great, asking several questions and taking notes, is even better. It shows you’re listening and care about their business. Sample follow up questions would be: “Tell me more about that?” “What are your ideas on?” “Define for me ______” “Give me some examples of_______”
So the next time you give your client a call to “check in”, be sure to ask them one or even two or three of these questions. By asking them to elaborate you are interacting with them on a whole new level and will greatly increase your sales effectiveness, even though of course, you are not a sales person…right?
Oh and by the way, this is a great way to build new clients too. When you’re interacting with potential clients whether on twitter, facebook, or email, asking questions is great way to begin to build a relationship with them and learn more about their business.
Thanks for reading! Until next time...
This article was originally published in the July 2012 issue of the Paperless Entrepreneur you can read it in context HERE