Keith Dugdale

Keith Dugdale

5 great questions to ask to really understand your client’s business

I love the start of a new year. Not just because it always means I will be skiing in knee deep powder in Whistler, the best place in the world (which I am, hence the photo above just to rub it in), but because the beginning of a new year is the best time EVER to shift your client relationships.

Why? Because the new year gives you the perfect excuse to ask them all sorts of longer-term, big picture questions about what the year ahead holds – for them personally, for their team, their company, even their industry. And it’s these kinds of conversations that are going to show you’re interested in them and their world, not just what money they’re going to give you, which will potentially shift your relationships from technical, social or ad-hoc, to a true trusted relationship.

To really get to know and understand my client’s businesses, here are five questions that I will often ask:

  1. “In an ideal world, what will your business look like in 3 [...]

What to do when you’re asked for a capability statement.

You’re in a meeting with a current or prospective client, and you think it’s going pretty well. You get to the end of the meeting and just as you’re thinking about how best to wrap it up, the other person says ‘Can you just send me a capability statement?’ (or a brochure or something along those lines).

Nearly all people who are responsible for sales in B2B environments still think this is a good sign. They think ‘YES! They want to find out all about me and my product as they obviously want to buy’. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases this is simply not true. Your response should actually be ‘UGH!’ because it’s usually just an easy way to try and get rid of you, and most likely means you haven’t had a great meeting. Think of how often you do this yourself when someone calls you trying to sell you something. How many times have you asked them to ‘send you some details’ so you can get them off the phone?

The principle is exactly the same, ex [...]