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When should I ask a client technical questions? How do I communicate clearly with a client when we first start talking? This week we are looking at a question about what to talk about during the first client meeting.

STUDENT QUESTION: What should I talk about during the first client meeting?

JOHN-CLAY: Focus on them first. The more they see and feel that you are on board with serving them, then you ask for whatever it is you need, and it’s not you-focused first. If you’re asking, “So, can I use this in my portfolio?” — I wouldn’t lead with that question. I would save that one for last, because you don’t know what all the other answers are going to be, and it’s possible that you may not exactly like the idea that comes out of it, and you may not want it in your portfolio piece. So if you save that one, it gives you the option to go, “I’m just going to make the project, and we’ll just be done with it. And it’ll be fine, I’ll learn.” It just kind of gives you a little space there to see what you want to do with it, where it’s going. It continues to be a demonstration of how you’re both on board, on the same page, you both like the idea, and you move forward, and you both see value in it.

Focus on them first. Click To Tweet

I would move even some of the how to get it done questions to the end, to be a last minute, “By the way, let’s double check a couple things. How is this going to work? How’s this going to work?” Focus first on the why, who they’re trying to reach, how would they might want this to feel? Some of those will work better than others, depending on how much thought they’ve put into it. 

But what if they’re like, “We don’t know. You’re the professional. Just make us a video?”

“This is the first we’ve thought of this since we saw your email. I think it’s a great idea, but none of us do video. You’re the professional in this. Why don’t you just make us a video?” Then you can ask, what is a parent looking for when they’re considering a school like this? What are some of the key criteria that are important to them? And then, as you get those answers, you’re back to your list of saying, “Who might be a good person to interview for this? Who are some people you know that …” And then, they’ll usually have some highly excelling students or parents that are very happy with the school, and you’re going to likely try to interview some of those folks.

Hopefully you start seeing them get excited, or they feel like, “Ah, oh, I see how this works.” You’re starting to look for those moments, and then you can get into the technical how-to’s, but they’re so much more on board by that point, because they see it. They can feel it.

Bethany Meckle

Bethany Meckle

Content Curator

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