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  1. #1
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    Question First Meeting w/ Clients

    Several years ago I worked with a guy who had a simple one page form printed up that he took with him when he met with prospective clients for the first time. As he spoke with the prospective client he'd just go down the list of questions on the form. By the end of the meeting he'd have everything he needed to get started on the project. I was wondering if anyone else used such a form to guide them. If so, what sort of questions do you have on it?

    -jeremy

  2. #2
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    At an initial meeting with a prospective client (for anything but real basic web sites), I rarely go into major technical detail as I prefer to clinch the 'conceptual' sale first; this is more a general agreement that I understand their needs or problems and have convinced them that I am capable of solving them at an agreeable price.

    I only move onto gathering technical details once we've begun the project - at which point, depending on the nature of the project, I will either forward them a suitable questionaire or I will meet with them through a series of technical consultations to create a suitable technical spec.

    I used to take a list of questions along with me to an initial meeting, but these days I prefer to have a blank piece of paper and make notes as we speak. I remember meeting a Yellow Pages sales man once and him having a pre-defined set of questions on paper for me and it made me feel somewhat 'generic'. I ask questions like

    'why do you want a web site?'
    'What problems does it need to solve?'
    'What will happen if these problems aren't solved?'
    'How much is this problem costing you?'
    'When must the site be completed?'
    'Who are your competition, and why do should people buy from you and not them?'
    'Describe your customers''

    etc.etc.

    As you can see, these are not technical questions, these are questions designed to allow the client to talk about his business and his problems/goals/objectives etc (and people love to talk about these things). At the end of this process I have a very clear picture of what needs to be achieved and I can then suggest ways we can help achieve everything, usually by referring to previous case studies and the results I achieved for these clients.

    What I won't get into is deep technical spec discussion - there's no need to, not at this stage. I just want the prospect to know that I understand his objectives and that it is clear that I've been able to solve similar issues in the past; at most we'll talk generally about the kind of things we can implement fo them - this is usually enough for us to agree to do business together, the rest can follow after I've got the signed contract and deposit.

  3. #3
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    shadowbox, that's the sort of questions I was looking for. I never can seem to come up with the right open ended question and I end up asking things that have one word answers. I was wanting something that would get the prospective client to open up and really give me some information.

    Thanks,
    -jeremy

  4. #4
    A Smarter Way to Web! zivo's Avatar
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    Lightbulb SitePoint books

    You may want to look into the SitePoint Web business kit, or the 101 Essential Checklists book - the latter is cheaper, and I have only just started reading it and it gives good information/advice and you can build from it.

    mp/m

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru hifigrafix's Avatar
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    You mind find some example by googling "Needs Assessment" combined with things like "Web Design" etc..

    Good Luck - and yes these forms / checklists do help you get a solid picture of what the clientis looking for.


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