Now that you have gathered all the information about your client, it is time to setup the face to face meeting. When you schedule the appointment, make sure you get at least two hours of uninterrupted time with the decision maker. If they can’t give you that kind of time, then they won’t be a good fit for your services. It is better to move on to your next prospect than put up with the future hassles of the client. Let the client know that this is a consulting meeting and that there will be no sales pitch. You are here to gather all the information necessary to create a business plan for your services.
The first part of the questionnaire will be the basic information about the company including, name, year founded, location, address, owner name, etc. This is where you will find out if it is a family run business and who all the decision makers are. Don’t forget to document the time and place of the meeting as well.
The next part of the questionnaire will focus on the business itself. First ask them why they got into that particular business. Then you can find out what type of condition the business is in. Inquire about whether sales are down or not. This is where you can help the most and where you will close the most deals. Ask them how much more growth they would like. It is important to get a percentage and an overall dollar figure. This will help when you price your services. Who wouldn’t spend $20k to improve sales by $200k?
Now find out if they have a unique sales proposition or USP. This can be anything from staff knowledge, low prices, customer service or unique products. Find out what message they want the public to know and why they should do business with them. Then you can find out if this message is communicated to all the staff, prospects, vendors and customers. Sometimes the business owner has a great vision, but fails to pass that vision on down the line. Also ask whether the USP is integrated with all other marketing efforts.
Next you can go over the current marketing process. Ask how they turn a prospect into a sale and what their closing percentage is. Do they have a follow up process in place for their leads and is it followed consistently? This is a good place to look for sales leaks that can occur when there is no customer resource management system in place. Then you will be able to tell whether they have calculated their average sale per customer and the lifetime value of a customer. After that, find out what the demographics are for their customers. This will be important for determining and joint venture or cross marketing deals.
Finally you will quiz them on their current advertising methods and budget. Zero in on where they get the bulk of their customers and how much they spend on each lead. It is very important to find out if they have a website and how much of their business is derived from it. You can also ask if they currently use an advertising agency or not.
When you are done with the questionnaire, ask them what their expectations are if they hire you. You will now have all the information available to decide whether you can help the client or not. Let them know the price for your services and close the deal!