Top Questions to Ask at Every Client Consultation (Free Download!)
With many prospective clients, the consultation meeting is your first face to face interaction. This means it’s also your first opportunity to make a good impression.
Perhaps most importantly, client consultations are your chance to ask questions, get the details you need, and communicate with the client about each other’s expectations.
Are you worried that you’ll forget what questions to ask once you’re face to face? Make a list! There’s no harm in bringing a questionnaire sheet or a tablet with you as a prompt.
When you’re creating your list, make sure to include these 12 key questions!
What kind of event is this? What is the purpose of the event?
This one seems like common sense, but ask it anyway! If you’re going to plan a good, detailed, and enjoyable event, you need to know what you’re working with. Hearing the purpose of the event described in the client’s own words can give you insight into their personality, style, and expectations.
Do you have a prospective date?
You need to know how long you have to plan the event so you can build a timeline and prioritize tasks. You also need to know whether planning that event within that timeframe is realistic.
What is the location of your event?
Will the event be in your current city, or does it require travel? The answer to this question could change how you approach planning, the amount of the estimate you give the client, or perhaps even whether you choose to work together.
Have you already chosen a venue?
If the venue is set, you’ll have a starting point for the planning. If the venue hasn’t been chosen yet, you’ll be responsible for helping your client make that choice. As you can imagine, this will affect your planning timeline!
How many guests are on your guest list?
The earlier you know the size and scope of the event, the better. Countless other elements of the planning process depend on how many people will be in attendance. If the client hasn’t determined the size of the guest list yet, this will be another important element for you to help them with quickly once you sign the contract.
Are there any guests of honor?
Considering a guest of honor right from the beginning helps you focus your planning process. Who should be the center of attention? What are they celebrating? Make sure the event caters to that person’s preferences as well as your actual client.
Will the event involve any special features (e.g. a meal, guest speakers, live entertainment, etc)?
Not every event involves dinner and a show, but you’ll need to know as soon as possible if it does! Hiring caterers, coordinating guest speakers, and booking live entertainment will make up a significant portion of your planning process if those elements are included in the event.
List the top 3 most important factors that will make this event a success.
Get to know your client’s top priorities. Which elements of the event do they want you to spend the most time and money on? You’ll need to pay particular attention to these details in order for the event to be considered a success in your client’s mind.
Are there any elements you do not want at the event?
Different clients enjoy different activities, entertainment, and kinds of events. Don’t assume that new clients will have “cookie cutter” preferences and try not to rely on a standard event template. Asking them what they do want is essential, but asking them what they don’t want can tell you even more about their expectations and personality.
What kind of atmosphere would you like the event to have? Do you have a specific theme, style, or central color scheme in mind?
This question gives you insight into the kind of event you’re planning and also the kind of client you’re dealing with. Talking about themes and style immediately sets the tone for how you’ll move forward if you decide to work together. If they haven’t decided yet, you’ll have a better idea of the scope of work involved on your end.
What would you most like to hear guests say about the event when it’s finished?
This question is a great way to uncover your client’s expectations without putting them on the spot and demanding that they list their expectations!
What is your budget for the event (overall and per person)?
Getting the details about the client’s budget might be the most important part of the entire consultation meeting. You need to know whether the client can afford your services, whether the event they’re prepared to pay for is within your abilities, and whether their expectation is realistic within that budget.
Ask yourself questions too!
Towards the end of the consultation meeting, silently ask yourself a few questions as well:
- Do you feel unclear about anything?
- Do you have all of the details you need to move forward?
- How are you and the potential client “meshing”? Do you feel comfortable about the idea of signing a contract with them?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, then you should seek clarification, ask them more questions, or evaluate whether this partnership is the best thing for you. If the answer is “Yes”, then you’re good to go!
Click the button to download our free Questions to Ask at Every Client Consultation checklist so you can track and save your clients’ answers for future use!