Why I Ask Questions Before Taking New Projects

There are a lot of developers, studios, firms, and agencies out there. Each one of these has a client onboarding process, and each of those is a bit different.

Some developers don’t ask many questions when they take on new clients or new projects. I do ask questions before I consider starting a new client project. Here’s why that’s good for you.

Service based businesses involve a relationship. Web consultancies are a service based business.

The web consultant is there for the long haul as a strategist and adviser. Strategy comes from analyzing information, collected through questions.

My goal is to give clients the most value possible for their investment. But web projects are a two-party effort, so I must determine whether a prospective client is a good fit for my services.

One of the things I use to determine whether good fit or not is a SEO client questionnaire. I send these questions to all prospective clients who contact me.

These questions are the first step in learning more about their business, the challenges they are facing, where they are at now, and where they want to be.

These basic questions are the first of many that I need to ask in order to diagnose problems, prescribe solutions, and plot strategy.

Some prospects never fill these initial questions out, or never get back in touch with me. This tells me we are not a good fit for each other.

Some prospective clients fill this questionnaire out, and are able to articulate the components they have in place, the goals they have, and opportunities they want to improve. This is a good sign. These prospective clients are willing to invest the necessary time to improve their business.

Web projects are a collaborative effort between the client and consultancy. A project cannot succeed if only one party is involved.

Answering Questions Is Mandatory

Providing value on the client’s investment is my primary goal. I can only do this if I fully understand their business model, their company structure and workflows, their competition, their customer base, their past marketing campaigns, their current challenges. Every business owner should be able to answer questions concerning these topics. If they are unable or unwilling to, it makes me apprehensive about working with them.

I have nothing against business that “just want a site” and don’t want to go through discovery or strategy — we are just not a good fit for each other.

A website without strategy behind it, or poorly done is a waste of everyone’s time and money.

Building a website without information guiding the message behind it is like firing an arrow at a target, but blindfolded and in pitch black darkness.

That’s what I want to avoid.

Author: John Locke

SEO consultant for manufacturing and industrial companies.