Interviewing Potential Clients: Why You Need A System
What’s your system for interviewing potential clients and then closing the deal?
Do you have one?
It’s SO important to have your systems in place BEFORE you start working with clients. A system that includes interviewing potential clients and closing the sale.
You see, it’s not enough to interview clients to find out if they’re a good fit, you need to know what kind of information you should ask plus how to overcome common sales objections to close the deal.
So… What kind of system do you need?
One that gets results, is simple and is rinse + repeat.
I call my system of interviewing potential clients “Discovery Sessions”.
I’m discovering what the client is all about and how I can help them. I’m also discovering if it’s a good fit for both of us. Because I’m not just selling a service, I’m starting a relationship with this person and it needs to be right for all involved.
Have you ever taken on a client that you know you shouldn’t have?
Maybe you saw the signs that they were not a good fit for you but chose to ignore it.
Yes, I have! I’m raising my hand here!
I did it a few times before I learned to trust myself and say NO to potential clients that weren’t a good fit.
Being the right fit for you and them is the most important thing no matter how long the relationship.
There are a few so-called “red-flags” that you should watch out for.
When it comes to red flags everyone is different (you’re likely to have your own list, I do). But there are a few common ones I recommend you watch out for.
- Too many Virtual Assistants in a short period of time. For instance, they’ve been through several Virtual Assistants in the last few months. This is usually an indication that the person may not be easiest to work with.
- They’re negotiators… They want to negotiate everything. You’re rate, the deadline, your boundaries, how you run your own business, etc. These can be the type of people that question everything and can be a drain on your energy.
Like me, you probably have your own list of Red Flags.
If you don’t, I suggest you create one that you can refer to when you’re interviewing clients. You’re looking for traits that you know you don’t work well with.
My main red flags are:
- firefighters (everything is always an emergency and on fire)
If during the interview you find out they have something on your Red Flag list, then you know it’s a “no”. Trust yourself – you know what’s best for you.
Ok, now let’s discuss the “standard” questions you should ask during the interview.
For me it’s simple, I just ask a couple of simple questions to get the conversation started and then let it flow.
These are the questions I always ask:
- Have you worked with a VA before?
- How can I help you?
The questions I ask after these depend on the conversation.
It’s what works best for me.
Everyone is different and has specific needs, so I just let the conversation go where it needs to go. I don’t follow a specific script or questionnaire.
Why these specific questions?
Well, for one I want to know if they’ve worked with a Virtual Assistant for two reasons.
One, if they have, I want to know how it went. Have they been burned by a VA before? If they have, I know there is a potential for trust issues right up front and I know how to deal with it.
Two, I want to know what problems they have that I can solve for them. That is why they reached out to me.
I’m all about simplicity and it works for me.
Remember, my motto is Your Business – Your Choice. Do what works for you.
If you like more structure or want a list of questions to help you get started, feel free to download my sample questionnaire to give you some ideas of what to ask.
Your Discovery Session system can be simple and tailored to fit your exact needs.
It doesn’t need to be difficult or complex.
It just needs to work!
Ok… one last thing. That one thing most people dread about interviewing potential clients.
It’s that part of the conversation where you have to start the “close“.
You know, where you have to start talking about your rates and how you work with clients.
The sales conversation!
For so many people they dread having to talk about their rates… it can make them nervous or sick to their stomach (that was me).
But… in order to close the deal, you have to talk about your rates.
You have to understand that you are the sales + marketing department.
It’s up to you to get more comfortable with talking about what you charge because you’re worth it.
Remember, they came to you for help and they know you’re a business owner and you don’t work for FREE!
Go into each sales conversation confident that you can help them and you are worth whatever you are charging.
Here’s a little mindset tip to help you if you’re nervous about quoting your rates.
Double your current rate and then recite it to yourself in the mirror for 7 days.
It really works!
For example, let’s say your current hourly rate is $25 an hour. So double it and then stand in front of the mirror and say “My hourly rate is $50 an hour”.
If you sell packages then do the same thing – double it and recite it to yourself in the mirror.
You may think I’m nuts but it works.
Next time you’re having that sales conversation and it’s time to talk rates, it will be easier!
Are you ready to create your own Discovery Session System?
Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to create your own system for interviewing clients.
I’d love to hear from you.
All comments + questions are welcome.
If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.
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Thanks for reading – Susan
Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!
Susan Mershon started The Techie Mentor ™ in 2013 to teach Virtual Assistants the systems + skills they need to start + run a successful business. With a strong base in project management, Susan brings her love of systems and teaching to offer training and mentoring to new and experienced Virtual Assistants. She’s taught thousands of students her unique system that teaches the skills clients are looking for + the systems you need to offer your knowledge as a service professional. This proven system will help you stand out as a professional, earn you more money and free up your precious time.