Updated: Oct 21, 2019
How to use: The questions below are meant to give you a starting point when doing some research on a prospective client ahead of meeting with them. These questions will vary by industry, but can be adapted to make sense for your business. You may delete some, you will for sure add some, but use these suggestions as a way to get the ball rolling.
Some advice: It is not necessary to have answered all of your questions prior to a meeting. In fact, you want to avoid going in thinking you know everything. However, the point of answering these questions as best you can prior to a meeting is to a) show you’ve done your research on their business and have an interest and b) allow you to focus on the unanswered, crucial questions during the limited meeting time you do have with the client.
Questions to consider:
- Describe the company’s product or service offered.
- Who is their ideal audience or customer? Who buys their solution?
- Who are their major competitors?
- How are they different from their competitors? What sets them apart?
- It may be useful to understand pricing. Is their price point on par with competition? Is it a factor in how they win business?
- What are their biggest challenges or obstacles they are facing right now. What will they be in facing in 5 years?
- What is holding them back from reaching their revenue/profit/ other goals?
- Who are the decision makers? Are you meeting with them directly?
- What does success look like if they were to use your solution/product?
- What solutions in *your company’s* ecosystem do they leverage? For example, if you offer website design, have they already leveraged a website designer? Or did they build their website themselves, but used a consultant to develop their brand and create a logo?
If you are selling a service or product that would replace a current product or service they leverage, evaluate including the below questioning.
- Why are you exploring a new technology partner/service/ product right now?
- How did these problems/issues first come about? What were the original causes?
- How long has it been an issue/problem?
- How long have you been thinking about this?
- What technology/service/product are you using right now?
- What would success look like if you were to on-board a new technology partner/service/ product?
- You mentioned you're not having a great experience with your current provider. If you work with us, what are you hoping will be different?
- What alternatives have you considered?
Consider implementing some version of the following:
- Set Google Alerts - keep up to date on what’s being said in the media about their business
- Take a look at their social presence (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc). Get an idea of their brand and it’s values by what they are communicating to their audience.
- Sign up for Newsletters or Email Blasts. Keep in touch with promotions as well as the content they are pushing to active and engaged consumers.
Again, research is crucial to being prepared so I hope these questions help you generate your own research method that you can use time and time again.
Let us know in the comments what else you would add!
About the Author
Emily Gorrie is a sales and business strategist with a background in corporate sales. She works with businesses who are looking for strategic direction to scale their business. If you’re interested in learning more or working with Emily, check out her website EmVP Consulting.