The last thing you want to hear from a client is that they chose another vendor to provide a service that you offer — and they did so because they didn't know you did that kind of work.
Once you close a deal, your sales efforts are no longer focused on that client. But unless you probe regularly, you may miss out on untapped opportunities to grow your business.
Here are 23 questions that your technical staff, the ones who become the front line to your client after your sales team leaves, can ask to start a conversation. Use these questions to develop a deeper dialog that shines light on areas where you can help. It can lead to additional sales from your lowest hanging fruit, your existing client base.
- If we had a storm that knocked out power at the office for several days, how would you contact your staff? Your clients?
- If we had a natural disaster like hurricane Katrina or an earthquake that physically damaged your office or equipment, how would you recover your data?
- What issues do you face regularly in your day-to-day operations?
- Have you evaluated how much your staff's productivity might improve if they were able to access your data and files faster?
- Have you calculated the cost of the time your staff spends on inefficient processes that are caused by technology bottlenecks?
- Is any software or tool holding you back from getting things done more efficiently?
- What's on your organization's business process improvement wishlist?
- What would you love to automate about your job?
- What's the most common support question you get from your staff? Your clients?
- Do you expect business to grow or stay the same in the next year?
- Are you anticipating adding new employees in the next 12 months?
- What do you think your infrastructure needs will be to accommodate this growth?
- What kinds of plans do you have for adding new products or services?
- How do you secure your network access and data files for remote workers?
- Do you have a formal remote work plan? May I see it? I might be able to offer suggestions for improvement.
- What kind of mobile access options have you looked into?
- If a company laptop or iPad were lost or stolen, would that affect your confidential data or network access?
- How long do you usually keep equipment like computers, printers, phones?
- Can you access your voicemail via email? Will it give you a text readout of the message?
- Have you explored a business case to see whether it is worth upgrading to the current version of <software name>?
- How much time does your staff spend doing <name your process>? Would it matter if you were able to improve this time?
- If a prospect's first interaction with you was your web site, what would you want them to do? What do you think they currently do?
- What's the first impression you want to give to your prospects and new clients? What could prevent that from happening? What could make it stronger?
As you ask these questions, resist the urge to provide a solution after their first response. Continue to ask more questions. Probe to find out what this means to your client in terms of productivity, inefficiencies and other business metrics. Your clients will keep divulging more information with each question you pose. Why? Because everyone has problems they need solved and very few people ask them about it.
After you have a lot of background on their problem, suggest your ideas as a question, like this: “If you had a way to make sure you never lost your data and knew that it was secure no matter what mother nature did, would that be something worth pursuing?” Get acknowledgement before you run back to the office and write a proposal. You need to know if you've hit upon a real concern or something that would be nice to have. The “nice to have” projects don't get funded.
The more you ask, the more you learn.