Why is it important for a freelancer to ask their clients certain questions? One of the main reasons is that this helps both parties to be very clear on what to expect from each other. It helps to avoid future problems, when either party feels that some information they should have had from the outset was withheld. It is the dream of any freelancer to have a long-term client who becomes a reliable source of predictable income. The client also expects to find a freelancer who fully understands his needs and meets them or even exceed their expectation.
Asking questions helps you to understand whether the client is the type of person you will enjoy working with or not. It will also help you assess whether his business is within what you will enjoy doing or it will be a strained way of doing things from the beginning.
Questions to Consider:
- What is the nature of your business?
The answer to this question will determine whether there is a need for any other question or not. If the nature of the business is not what excites you, the interview ends there. If it is, then proceed to other relevant questions.
- How long has your business been in operation?
This helps you to understand among other things the nature of future communications with this client. Will you be dealing with an individual or a chain of offices?
- Who is the target group for your products or services?
This will help you to modify your approach and make it as specific as possible to the intended persons. This will help you help your client achieve their expected results.
- What is the range of the projects’ budget?
This will be important in determining early whether you want to be in the project or not. Too low a budget may give you an indication of a struggling business and the possibility of payment issues or not even being able to meet your fees.
- Who are you competing with?
This will be important in guiding you in what type of results are expected from you. It will also give you a chance to study the competition – identify their strengths and weaknesses and know how to offer superior service to your client.
- What problems are you facing right now in your business?
Again, the answer to this question helps you to offer a targeted service to your client that will be aimed at solving specific issues in their business.
- What are you aiming at with this project?
Knowing this will also direct you in giving a service that is in harmony with your client’s goals.
- Have you worked with other freelancers in the past or are you working with any at the moment? What is your experience with them?
A high turnover of freelancers might be a warning sign that your client is a hard to please type or expects very high standards of work. You may have to tactfully dig deeper to ascertain which of the two is the case and be prepared on how not to fall into his bad books. That is, if you accept the project.
- What are the guiding principles in your business?
Work ethics are important to you and knowing those of the client is just as important.
- What are your views on quality and speed?
Naturally, every client would be happy with high quality work that is delivered fast. Asses your client’s expectations and see whether they are realistic or not.
Asking the right questions about a project and the business prepares you for a good working relationship with your client that may go long-term
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