Five Questions to Ask Your Clients If You Dare

If you and your clients have been working together for a while, it’s easy to just keep doing what you’re doing and not rock the boat.   You might not even know if they’re happy with your work if you haven’t asked recently.  In business, if you don’t take risks, you don’t grow.  As you read through these five questions, think about what client of yours might benefit, even (especially) if you’ve been working with them a long time and haven’t “rocked the boat.”

Question 1:  If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change about the financial part of your business? 

A lot of clients “don’t know what they don’t know,” meaning they may not realize that there is a great solution for what they want.  They also may not know that you know how to help them.  This question eliminates both of these inaccurate assumptions and provides your client with new options and new knwoledge.

The perfect client to approach with this question is one that has a lot of workarounds, is doing things the hard way, or is struggling with a messy interface.  They also might be struggling with cash flow or another major business issue that good accounting procedures can fix.

Question 2: Is there any improvement I could make in the job I am doing for you?

For some of you, this is a really scary question.  For others of you, you’ve never asked before; you’ve only assumed.  Since you never know what people are thinking, it’s generally a good idea to get everything out in the open.

Three things could happen when you ask:

  1. Your client will mention something you can improve on, and you can work on it.  It’s all good because now you know and you can do something about it.
  2. Your client will tell you everything is great, and you feel it’s a true sincere answer.  You can feel grateful and happy!
  3. Your client will tell you everything is great, but it’s not true.  That means your client is not comfortable enough to tell you or has a character trait where it’s difficult for them to communicate their true feelings.  In any case, you now know that you have work to do to further develop the relationship and work in helping your client trust you more.

All three results are positive, because now you have more information than before and can act on it.

Question 3:  On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate your accounting knowledge?

This is a great marketing question, but be sure to let them know they are not alone if they self-score low.  You never want the client feeling stupid.

Question 4:  When you first started your business, what was your dream?  OR What is the difference between your original dream and your current business? 

Being a business owner is tough, and most of the time it takes far more work than any of us realized when we first started our businesses.  This question helps the client think about getting back on track.  Your goal is to see if there is any way you can help your client move toward their original dream.

Question 5:  If you had unlimited resources, what one thing would you do to change your business?  (or the world?)  

This is another way to see how to help the client in ways above what you’re currently offering.  This one has a somewhat charitable and philosophical bent to it compared to the other questions.

Daring to Make a Difference

These questions are designed not as a checklist but to be used one at a time at very special moments.  Your gut will tell you when.  A few of them may work during the initial client intake, but be careful because if you haven’t built up enough trust, they can be too intense for a first meeting.

If you are looking to provide a higher level of service to one or more of your clients, take a look at these questions, and see which one might just serve as the appetizer for taking you there.