The Third Question to Ask a Prospective Client

A few months ago we looked at the FIRST question to ask a prospective client.  That first question is actually a self-defense move; making sure you aren’t getting yourself into a problem with someone who has been advocate-hopping and avoiding payment.

Find that First Question to Ask a Prospective Client

The second question to ask them is their first name. Yes. Just their first name at first, so they won’t think you are trying to delve into their personal business, or their situation too far, before they are ready. Should the call progress and you know they’ll be comfortable sharing their last name, too, then it will be time to ask more.

And then – Question #3 – this is a question to help you too!  Asking this question, and getting an accurate-as-possible answer can help you save time, money, and frustration.

What’s that question?

“How did you hear about me?”  or “How did you know to call me?”

Why is that question important?  Let us count the ways….

It’s about your marketing and promotional efforts. You spend a lot of time, money, and effort in hopes that someone will pick up the phone and call you, or send you an email. The internet should be littered with links to your directory listing, or to your website. You may have done public speaking, or might be running an ad in your community newspaper or church bulletin. You could be sending an email newsletter, or blogging. All those efforts require time and effort, and many cost money.

So which ones are worth the money, time, or effort?  How can you know?

There are a small handful of ways to measure their results, but the easiest is to simply ask every person who calls you inquiring about your services how they heard about you, how they knew to call you. 

That’s part of what you need to do – to ask. The second part is to write it down, or to track answers in some way.  Even if all you do is track it on a slip of paper you keep near your phone.

You may also want to push beyond the initial question to assess additional ways they may have learned about you and your services, because often someone has been exposed to your brand several times before they actually reach out to you.  So if their response is that they heard you speak at the Rotary Club meeting, then you might also ask if they have seen your website.

A real gem-like piece of information might also be forthcoming from this sort of question.  They might actually volunteer information that is useful to you.  They might add something like, “I looked everywhere for your email address, but couldn’t find it” – meaning – that even if YOU know your email address is publicly available, it needs to be more easily findable.

Over time, the best uses of your time and money for marketing will become clearer. You’ll know whether anyone is responding to that notice in the church bulletin, or whether they are finding your directory listing. Then, of course, you can do an assessment once or twice a year to decide which of those activities and efforts will continue to be worth your time and money for attracting future clients.


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