NEW CLIENT QUESTIONNAIRE : Are You Asking the Right Questions?
Questions You Should Ask Every Prospective Client.
Are you asking the right questions on your interior decorating client questionnaire? Do you have a New Client questionnaire? Remember, you are interviewing them as they interview you. How do you know you are on the same page? So what question should you ask to be able to close the sale successfully?
BEFORE THE MEETING
Believe it or not, you can prepare beforehand for clients who don’t know exactly what they want. Enter the client consultation meeting ready to guide clients through the process of choosing colors, styles, and floor plans. This will help you stay calm and organized if you’re met with a blank stare.
THE INITIAL CALL
The initial call is your opportunity to not only close the deal for the next sales meeting and initial consult, but for you to also vett out the good fit client or the unrealistic one.
This call is your sales tool, and you will need a strategy if you want it to work.
Lots of time, people just want ideas and will take any free advice or ideas offered. It is your job to protect yourself., and the initial call is a discovery opportunity to give you a chance to know if this is going to be a good fit. Your time is valuable, make sure the project is realistic, and you aren’t just being used to offer ideas for free.
REASON WHY YOU NEED A QUESTIONNAIRE
Your Fist meeting is very important. You are bonding with the client and ensuring them that you can bring their vision to fruition. A skilled design should be asking a full range of questions to get a sense of the project and the tasks involved. You want to start of successfully, and show you are the professional and that you are interested in them, and their desires. Maintain some control, be the boss, and show you are in charge of their project from the get go. A list of questions also allows you to potentially see if there are any red flags in advance.
A new client questionnaire is pretty much what it sounds like: a list of questions to help get to know a client's needs and expectations. It's similar to an intake survey you would fill out if you were visiting a doctor or personal coach for the first time, and they can help you define a potential client.
A new Client Call and Questionnaire are important for a variety of reasons. You should initiate a client phone interview before you drive to the site for the initial consult. You need to asses the client, the budget and the scope. I can’t tell you how many ties I would drive to the consult , only to have wasted my time.
THE ONSITE MEETING
Questions and interior designer should ask a client. I have a series questions that I go through, on the first screening call and during my initial consultation. My “Client Questionnaire” helps to keep the conversation going ,but also allows me to ask important questions for developing the project proposal and allows my client to share their vision with me constructively. Download our guide on the TOP 5 QUALIFYING QUESTIONS TO ASK on your INITIAL CALL, AND our top 10 questions to ask at the initial CONSULTATION.
So here are 10 questions you need to ask in your next client interview. These will help get your proposals in line with the ask. You can review these either in person during your first meeting or on the phone depending on how the lead came in to your office. I never ask my clients to fill out a questionnaire, I practice to ask the right questions, and the difficult ones.
THE INITIAL SCREENING PHONE CALL : 5 Questions
Tell me about your project?
THIS IS THE CONVERSATION Opener . You want to show that you will work closely with your client to determine what criteria will make the project a success. During this opening Talk about the feedback process and set expectations early on how you will work and provide solutions.
What is your budget.
Some people will answer right away. These are usually people who have been through the process before or are interviewing others and are realistic about their budget. In general, people are uncomfortable talking about what they are going to spend, because they feel uncertain.
I just explain the need to know, is to offer up suggestions that will work for their project overall, but I do need a ballpark figure to know if they are being realistic. If their budget is unrealistic, then we need to know this and review before we make the effort to travel to the site.
Sometimes potential clients just need to have an open conversations with a professional to help setup their expectations to match their dream vision. If you are unsure about the overall costs, then tell them you need more information to define their,must haves, wants and would likes for the project.
How did you hear of me?
Take notes. Every call is noted and dated. Who referred you to me? These are important notes for a possible referral thank you. Was it from Google or a person? You will want to call and email your referral prospect and thank them for each and every referral. This will show them that you appreciate that they send you potential clients.
What is your home address, email, and best phone number ?
If a client is out of your service are, then refer then to another designer in their area. I also use the address to asses the real estate value of the home. This will help you set a realistic budget for the project. For example, most kitchens cost apx 10% the value of home. If it is a 350K home then 30k is the average total spend on a kitchen. I will typically google the client, and the address. Make sure this is a good fit and there are no red flags.
Will you have some images to share with me your vision?
People can use all the words in the world, but there is nothing like an image to portray style, mood, color choices, and client sophistication. Start with Pinterest, ask them to invite you to a board they have or vice versa. If they do not use Pinterest, request magazine images be available when you meet. Visual aids help clients communicate what they are having trouble describing.
Make sure to share your process and pricing, and ask if there are any questions.
This is business. Your fees should be reviewed and you should request a consultation fee to meet onsite as one of the first things to review. You want to make sure they will pay the consult before you get to involved in discussing the project. This is the professional in you. If this is a small project let them know it will be an hour consult, if larger then quote a 2 hour consult fee. It is at the second meeting that you can give them your overall your fee is based on the overall budget, or by the room.
For example, I like to work on a fee that is based on the scope of the project to be revealed at the initial meeting. I know that from historical data, this fee is roughly 10% of the overall project budget. So will bill hourly with a running total each month in advance. I keep track of as we move through the project. You can also bring a contract along to review and demonstrate how you are pricing yourself. (do not leave this document with anyone)
This call can be the beginning of a great project and client. Make sure to ask the right questions.
THE INITIAL CONSULTATION : 10 Questions You Need on Your Interior Design Questionnaire
I do not send a client questionnaire to the client. I do not ask them to visit my site to fill one out. Most people / professionals are busy and don’t want to answer your questions, its just more work for them to do. Your goal Make it easy.
These questions are for you to cover while talking during your initial consultations. My clients are busy, and they are hiring me to make it easier. Memorize your questions, and appear interested in your client and who they are and take notes. but do not give them more work, and do not read off a paper! Look like you know your business.
Your interior design questionnaire should:
Allow your professionalism to shine. When you have a process in place your clients know what to expect and so do you. Communication and getting everything laid out, to begin with saves you time and creates trust within your clients. It sets the tone for the rest of the project.
Help you prepare for your meeting
Help you know what type of client you are dealing with and if you and those clients might work well together.
Help you learn more about your clients lifestyle and preferences.
Help you navigate the first meeting and ask questions are friendly, yet clear and concise.
BONUS BUSINESS TIPS :
Now if you are charging for the initial consult, good job. Charge your fee, walk in the door and speak freely and give good value to that time. If you are not charging, then make this a 30 min meet + greet. This mtg is to review your procedures and costs only, make sure its a good fit for them and you, I do not give out design ideas. I won’t lie, this is a tricky issue and you need to decide what works for you, but please, protect yourself.
If the only this you get is this GUIDE, you will always start your projects on the right foot, and present an organized and knowledgeable professional with important questions to gather information. These questions also help you spot potential Red Flags early on. If your phone call didn’t feel like the best prospect, are not interested in paying a consult fee, then make this first meeting at your office to allow them to met you and ask questions. Don’t have an office? then meet at a local showroom, or cafe to review how you work, and collect the fee before you visit them at their home.
Are you Asking the rights questions? Use our ON BOARDING CLIENT QUESTIONNAIRE. Using this questionnaire will not only save you time but it will also allow the client to see how organized you are and prepare them for what is to come next. Use this template for your meetings, and ask your clients the right questions, download here:
Getting your systems in place is something that will help your business grow. I have recently been developing my systems and setting my business procedures in place for better streamlining and for best results
Good luck and let me know if there are any additional questions we should be asking. email me at dvd2design (at) gmail
Peace be with you,
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