Empowering the Freelance Economy

How to help clients who don’t know what they want

When clients are unable to express what they want you to deliver try our client onboarding questionnaire
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Handling a client who doesn’t know what they want can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By following these tips and using our client onboarding template, you’ll be one step closer to clarifying their needs

If you’ve ever finished a client meeting and the client has been unable to express clearly what they want, this can be frustrating and time-consuming. But it doesn’t have to be. With a little patience and understanding, you can help your client clarify their needs and get the results they’re looking for.

Here are three ways to handle a client who doesn’t know what they want:

  1. Ask clarifying questions. The first step is to get a better understanding of what your client is looking for. Ask them open-ended questions that will help you to uncover their needs and goals. These questions could easily form a new client template that clients could fill out before an initial meeting. See our sample client onboarding template below. For example, you might ask:
    • What are you hoping to achieve with this project?
    • What are your pain points?
    • What are your budget and timeline constraints?
    • What are your likes and dislikes?

The more you know about your client’s needs, the better equipped you’ll be to help them.

  1. Provide examples and suggestions. Once you have a better understanding of your client’s needs, you can start to provide examples and suggestions. This will help them to visualise what they’re looking for and to make more informed decisions. For example, you might show them examples of your previous work, or you might suggest different options that would meet their needs.

It can be difficult if you have your own opinions on what you think is best for the client’s objectives. However, it is paramount that you remain respectful of your client’s preferences. You can always offer your insights and expertise. The goal is to help them to make the best decision for their needs.

  1. Be patient and understanding. It’s important to be patient and understanding with clients who don’t know what they want. They may be feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, and they may not be able to articulate their needs clearly. It’s your job to be a good listener and to help them to clarify their thoughts. You can sometimes do this by repeating what they have said. You can do this by taking notes or recording Zoom calls and saving the transcripts.

Remember that you’re not there to judge your client. You’re there to help them to get the results they’re looking for. So be patient, be understanding, and be willing to work with them to find a solution that works for everyone.

Create a process that helps clients understand what they want and how you can deliver:

  • Set clear expectations. From the outset, make sure that your client understands your process and what you need from them in order to deliver the best possible results. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises down the road
  • Be clear about your limitations. If you’re not able to provide the specific service or product that your client is looking for, be honest with them. Don’t try to stretch yourself too thin or promise something that you can’t deliver
  • Be willing to walk away. If you’re not able to reach an agreement with your client, or if you’re not comfortable with the project, don’t be afraid to walk away. It’s better to end the relationship now than to be unhappy with the results later. You could always remind them of the service that you could provide for them at another stage of their project

The following questionnaire is designed to help you get a better understanding of your client’s needs and goals. By asking these questions, you can start to build a relationship with your client and develop a plan that will meet their needs.

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Client Onboarding Questionnaire

  • Company Information
    • Name of company
    • Industry
    • Size
    • Website
    • Contact information
  • Project Overview
    • What are you hoping to achieve with this project?
    • What are your pain points?
    • What are your budget and timeline constraints?
  • Client Preferences
    • What are your likes and dislikes?
    • What are your communication preferences?
    • What are your expectations for the project?
  • Company Services
    • Which of our services are you interested in?
    • What are your specific requirements for each service?
  • Next Steps
    • When would you like to start the project?
    • How would you like to proceed?
  • Be respectful of your client’s time. Don’t ask too many questions, and make sure that the questionnaire is easy to understand and complete.

Here are some additional tips for creating a client onboarding questionnaire:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Your client is busy, so they don’t have time to fill out a lengthy questionnaire.
  • Use clear and concise language. Avoid jargon and technical terms that your client may not understand.
  • Ask open-ended questions. This will help you to get more information from your client.

By following these tips, you can create a client onboarding questionnaire that will help you to get a better understanding of your client’s needs and goals. This will give you the foundation you need to build a successful relationship and deliver the results they’re looking for.

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