The Upside

Here Are 3 Magic Questions That Will Help You Close More Clients, Instantly

When I first started The Upside back in 2017, we were not a community or an accelerator.

In fact, we were a matching platform bringing together consultants and companies.

So why did I change the model after 18 months?

Because I kept seeing consultants make the same mistakes over and over again when prospecting the clients I was matching them with.

And I realized that everyone’s biggest pain point was not finding great clients, but rather knowing how to prospect and close great clients.

So I started training them with the following advice on how to increase their client close rates…. and it worked:

First, go into the meeting with the right perspective. You are not there to interview for a position. And you are not there to pitch. You’re there to prospect with a conversation to uncover if there is a mutual fit for working together.

Second, understand that you, not the client, are in control of the meeting. You ask the questions. You drive the boat. This shows confidence, prestige and professionalism.

Finally, ask the right questions to uncover the client’s true problem and reveal the value (not budget) they place on that problem. For example:

1. Tell me why you agreed to meet with me today? -or- Tell me why you asked to meet with me today?

This open-ended question lets the client start to reveal their pain points in their own words, enabling you to learn the language this client speaks. Then you continue asking questions that peel back the onion layers and reveal their true end-goals.

2. What do you stand to gain by achieving [goals discussed]? -or- What do you stand to lose if you don’t solve [insert problem]?

This starts the conversation about the value the client places on the problem or goals. Are they looking to save $10 million this year? Are they looking to grow their revenue by $10 million this year? What is the dollar amount they place on the problem or goal?

3. How soon do you need to start tackling this [problem/goals discussed]?

This question allows you to pace your follow-ups to avoid that awful feeling of being ghosted.

If they say, “Yesterday,” then you know they are prepared to sign a contract quickly.

If they are unsure or start talking about the next 6 months, you know that this isn’t a here and now client. You can follow up with: “Why isn’t this [problem discussed] an immediate priority?” to get even more perspective on their situation.

Try this strategy the next time you have a prospective client meeting and email me with your stories and feedback!

My prediction is that this shift in perspective plus these three magic questions will be an immediate game-changer for your future prospecting.

Want more resources to help your consultancy thrive?

There are two great ways we can work together: 

Are you a consultant looking to expand your network and advance your business? Then The Upside Membership is for you. 

Are you an early-stage consultant (or on the fence about leaving your 9-5) and want a bootcamp-style program to build a thriving consultancy? Then The Upside Accelerator is for you.

Erin Halper

About the Author

Erin Halper is the founder and CEO of The Upside and the leading authority on independent consulting. Since launching The Upside in 2017, Erin has helped thousands of professionals transition from corporate life into consulting to achieve flexibility, autonomy, and a renewed sense of purpose in their careers.

Erin has been a frequent speaker at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Brown and has been featured as a leading future of work expert on dozens of podcasts as well as in Forbes, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Crunchbase and many more.

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