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Bringing a new client onboard isn’t a quick and easy process. You can’t just click your fingers and expect them to nod along blindly to everything you say. In fact, more often than not, there will be a boat-load of client interview questions fired at you from your prospect before they even consider taking your pitch or proposal any further.
I’ve been asked hundreds of client interview questions, some weird and some wonderful.
I’ve been asked to offer a marketing strategy for free before even being considered as a writer (remember I’m not a marketer!), I’ve been asked how many 500 word pieces I can write in an hour (I avoid clients who ask this because I can immediately tell they’re not interested in quality content), and I’ve been asked too many times to count whether I can lower my prices “because you’re asking way more than we thought you would”.
But whilst there are a handful of client interview questions like these that might be vague, not-applicable, or just downright insulting, there are some valid questions that you should be prepared to answer in detail.
Client Interview Questions You Should Be Ready to Answer
1. What Are Your Prices?
I’ve read so many contrasting blog posts that encourage freelancers to wait until the client suggests a budget. And, whilst this might mean you have a tiny bit of bargaining room, it also shows that you’re not really sure about the value of your work.
Asking a client what their budget is gives them the upper hand. What happens if they say a number that’s way lower than you were thinking? Would you walk away or would you try and adjust your pricing to match? Too many freelancers do the latter, and that’s the problem.
By stating your prices outright, the client knows exactly what to expect – then it’s THEIR decision whether they walk away or suddenly find an increase in their budget.
When it comes to prices you shouldn’t be wishy-washy, as this insinuates that your services will also be wishy-washy.
So many clients are worried about being taken for a ride by freelancers (especially when there are so many, well, not very good freelancers out there charging an arm and a leg for poor services), so don’t indulge this worry by pushing them for a budget. It might seem like your trying to take them for all they’ve got (even though this is so far from the truth!).
It’s perfectly fine to ask for detailed information about the job if pricing is one of the pressing client interview questions you’re faced with – that’s just getting your ducks in order – but if you have all the information you need, go ahead and quote your prices with confidence (and your clients will likely have confidence in you).
2. What’s Your Working Process?
One of the main client interview questions I get is about how the project will be carried out.
Your clients will probably have deadlines and bosses breathing down their necks, so put them at ease by supplying a detailed plan for the work you’ll carry out and when you’ll carry it out by.
Breaking things down into stages is a great way to show how you’ll be making progress on the job and will ensure you don’t get a ton of emails desperately asking where the work is.
Start by figuring out how many hours the work will take, and then see how that can fit around your other work – even if you have to tell them it won’t be done for a week or two because you’re so busy. Being up front with your client is MUCH better than telling them you’ll do it and then dropping off the radar for two weeks until you find the time to get it done.
I like to form a strong email connection beforehand, where I’ll state exactly what work needs to be done (to avoid any confusion) and when it will be done by. If it’s a lengthier project, I’ll break things down into stages – so X will be done by next Wednesday, and Y will be done by the following Friday. I’ll then follow up just beforehand to tell them I’m getting started and ask whether they have any questions before I begin.
Afterwards I’ll touch base and give them the opportunity to vocalise any edits or ask any further questions.
This is a good time to talk about payment too – what’s your system for that? Will they be required to pay half up front and half at the end or all up front?
Having a detailed answer to client interview questions about process will iron out all those little tricky things, so that you and your client are on exactly the same page.
3. What Happens if We’re Not Happy With Your Work?
Okay, I don’t think I’ve ever been asked this client interview question, but it’s well worth thinking about just in case it pops up further down the line. It’s a good idea to have a strategy in place for worst-case scenarios like this, and it might even help you iron out other aspects of your process.
For example, you might still charge for the work carried out, or you might offer a discount. Perhaps you’ll throw in some other services to smooth everything over. Whatever it is, it’ll ensure no nasty surprises crop up if, even after you answer the client interview questions perfectly, your client suddenly decides you’re not the freelancer for them (and, hey, let’s face it – it happens).
4. What Experience Do You Have?
Yeah, this is very valid and common when it comes to client interview questions.
Clients are putting their trust in you to do a job because they believe you are the best person to do it. Before they even consider hiring you, you’ll need to show them the value you can bring to the project. Essentially, you need to show them WHY you’re the best person for the job.
This is the time to highlight previous jobs that have been similar in nature and create a real connection with the client. It’s best to get as detailed as you can at this stage, so think about case studies you could present to them, or samples that you can send over. Whilst you don’t want to go overboard (for fear of being all “look at me, look at me!”), you do want to illustrate your expertise with the work at hand and how you’ve tackled similar projects before.
Even if you don’t have as much experience as you’d like, you can draw inspiration from other aspects of your life. Transferable skills are great to bring up here, so mention if you’ve done something similar but in a different field, or how your past experience as X helped you to become great at Y.
5. Why Do You Think We’re a Good Fit?
This is one of the best client interview questions, because it’s important for both the client AND you. You want to work with brands and businesses that align with your views, right? Brands that you feel strongly about and that you wouldn’t be embarrassed about putting on your CV, right? Of course you do!
Proving that you and your potential client would be a good match is easy if it’s something you strongly believe in or can back fully. It’s also good at this point to state how you understand their audience, their pain points, and why they’re looking for this specific solution.
Simply showing you understand WHY this client has come to you and how YOU can help them will show that you’re a good fit.
6. What Value Can You Bring to Our Business?
I’ve been harking on a LOT about value recently, but that’s just because it’s so… valuable. Haw haw. Whilst you may have super duper writing skills or one of the best eyes for graphic design in the entire world, if your services don’t bring value to the client then you’re immediately setting yourself up to fail.
Instead of showing them that you can write awesome copy, show them how the awesome copy you write will convert X% more readers and sell more of their products. Instead of showing how you can expertly match colours up, show them how your streamlined designs improve the user experience and encourage readers to stay on-site for longer.
Yes, you might be a writer or a designer, but it’s the VALUE that your work brings to the client that they’re really buying into, so make sure you know exactly what it is.
Phew, that’s a lot to think about, hey?
I’m sure you’ve already thought of a few of these a hundred times or more, but there might be some surprise client interview questions here that have never popped into your mind before.
It might be worth going over them and coming up with rock-solid answers so the next time you’re faced with a similar client interview questions you can answer with expertise and confidence. Go get ’em!
Have you had any weird client interview questions? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!