You sit down confidently, your body humming from the obvious success of your presentation.
“Impressive,” says your would-be client. “Any questions for us?”
You smile inwardly, glad you’re so well-prepared. You whip out your list of questions and start in, asking questions about the company, the project, the team, etc.
Sounds like a dream situation, right?
Maybe. But who’s to say the person right before you (or right after you) didn’t have a similarly successful presentation—and ask the same questions as you?
Unfortunately, during client presentations, firm typically spend too much time “selling” themselves and not actively attempting to share—and help solve—their potential clients’ problems. All too often, presenters forget to ask the single most important question that will help to differentiate them from the rest of the crowd:
“What is your biggest business/project challenge?”
This challenge may be anything and could vary wildly depending on the client.
Asking what your client’s biggest challenge is—and therefore implying that you may be able to help solve it—may seem like a hefty task. But giving your client the opportunity to share with you, in as transparent terms as possible, their biggest concerns will tell you not only how you can best serve your client’s needs but also give you great insight into what your future working relationship may look like. You can see how collaboratively you work together and how willing you both are to listen to each other. There’s no better way to demonstrate your collaboration and problem-solving skills first-hand than to put them into action.
What if you don’t know how to solve their problem, right then and there? That’s OK. At least you now know what it is—and that already gives you a significant advantage over your competitors.
So rip up that old list of questions. Ask the one question that gets to the heart of the matter.