15 questions I ask on every Pre-Strategy Call
Business Strategist helping businesses growth hack to the next level of profits and sustainability.
Being a business strategist I know one thing, not everyone can be my client and vice versa. My superpower is that I can see a business from the business owner and the ultimate client’s point of view, and that helps me find the profit leaks, and fix them.
Business strategy the way I practice it is a colossal mission, a mission where not just one business but lives of all those involved in it is depending upon. For the duration of working together, I live that business, it becomes a part of me and my life, which is both rewarding and exhausting at the same time.
Hence it is important for me to know me and my client connect. One thing that is nonnegotiable for me is the respect of my craft and their need, it is a deal breaker for me if my client does not believe in working as a team.
Pro Tip: Pre-Strategy call is an opportunity for both of us to understand if and how can I help you in your business, either of us can say yes or no to taking it further and that is completely ok.
Saying this eases the process and they can let their guard off (yup the guard of being sold too). It is critical to me that my prospect knows we are trying to figure out if we are the right match to solve a particular problem. And it is ok for either of us to say no if we feel so, and they can totally be honest about it, so we don’t end in awkward positions later.
1. Tell Me a Little Bit About Your Business.
Yes, a cliche but an important one. After all, it is the same business we would be dealing it, and this open-ended question brings on the table a lot of unspoken things.
2. What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?
As a business strategist or a business consultant it is easy to get into the I Know It All zone and let me share it with my experience that it is a dangerous place to be in. Be uber specific on what problem we are trying to solve here.
3. How Would Solving for Problem XYZ Help Your Business?
This is where I start to understand the importance of the solution, how badly does a business want it, how will it impact it.
This comes handy while closing the deal, specially when it comes to negotiations and addressing pricing objections.
4. What Caused You to Address This Problem Today?
It is human nature to postpone consuming tasks until they become an absolute necessity. Problems do not arise all of a sudden, they take their due course of time to surface and be a level where a business wants it to be resolved.
Knowing what triggered them to find a solution, helps you understand the impact and the value of your solution.
5. What matrix or parameters you think would make you say we have resolved the problem?
People have various ways to look at a result, mostly subjective, which is dangerous. Get clear on the matrix that will help you quantify that the problem is resolved.
Talking about this also establishes authority and makes your client believe you are as much focused on results as they are.
“Strategy Without Tactics Is
The Slowest Route To Victory”
6. How are you currently dealing with this problem and why is it not enough?
Oh, this one is my favorite. This is where customer opens up another layer, they tell you about the insights of their business and most importantly their team members (mostly), this is my chance to understand what has worked and what hasn’t and WHY.
Because we do not want to waste time on the things that did not deliver results, do we?
7. What Do You Think Could Be a Potential Solution? Why?
Listen and Listen, and take NOTES. This comes handy when you are actually working on the problem.
8. What Would a Successful Outcome Look Like?
Do not confuse it with question 5, this is not the matrix, this is their dream or ideal situation they want to be in. This will come handy at various point off times, right from following up to getting a ravishing testimonial.
9. Who all are involved in the decision-making process of choosing the vendor?
Please do not ask “Are you the decision maker?” This question sucks, and it sucks big time. Humans like to be in the position of power, and they want to say yes, but that may or may not be the case, hence you put someone in a position where they block out, not the right thing to do, is it?
Use this opportunity to know other stakeholders involved, and try to know what will make them say YES.
This is your time to go silent, just listen carefully and take NOTES, loads of them.
10. What are the Criterias for hiring a vendor, what is it that you and your team are really looking for?
Mostly I don’t ask this question, as it kind of overlaps the preceding one and I get my bytes when they are answering the previous question itself, and when it does not, I ask it.
This comes handy when it comes to writing a proposal. You know what you are being evaluated on so you can keep it super specific.
“Knowledge Is Knowing The Right Answers
Intelligence Is Asking The Right Questions”
11. Have You Ever Made a Purchase Like This Before?
This is your time to educate the client on the process of hiring you and working with you. Make them feel like how it would be to work with you, be personal, mention chunks of your personality. No one likes to work with a borking person, do they?
12. In the Past, How Are Decisions Like This Made Internally?
If this was not answered earlier, it is time to get this info. IT IS IMPORTANT.
13. What amongst this looks best to you?
Here it is your turn to give them a choice of ways they can work with you in order to resolve that problem.
People want to have the ability to choose, it is obvious and only fair for people to compare, instead of comparing you with another competitor of yours, give them a choice in a different way.
Mention ways you can work together, give choices.
14. What Made You Jump On the Line AKA Say YES Today or Which amongst these options suits you best?
I have seen many business strategist and consultants getting into the never-ending follow-up look, this one can help you outgrow it.
15. How Can I Help Make This Easy For You?
This is your time to ask what else they will need in order to proceed and hire you. If they need price, success stories, references, case studies, proposal. Let them speak, and share only what they asked for.