The first three questions to ask before considering a client’s project are:
1. What is their location?
Asking for their address may seem like a fundamental question, but when you ask this question is key. Have you ever talked with a potential client at length, then they are ready to book an appointment, but when you ask, “What is your address?” you find out they are out of your service area, sometimes even out of your state! If they are unwilling to give you their exact address, you can tell them your service area and ask if they are located within it. It only took me a few times to experience this to make this my first question.
2. What is their time frame for getting the job done, and when can they start?
Again, this a fundamental question, but if they need you this week for several days and you are booked, you will need to figure out if you want to move another client’s project who is more flexible or if you need to pass on the opportunity.
3. What area(s) need organizing, and why ask this before getting into more details?
The project area may be one (a) you don’t specialize in, (b) you don’t like to organize—for me, that would be storage areas, (c) that could require more than you and the client to complete, meaning you need additional resources.
Next, ask these three questions if they are of importance to you:
1. What pets do they have?
You may have an allergy to cats or be afraid of snakes (I am!)
2. Are they a smoker?
You may be allergic to smoke or don’t want to subject yourself to it. However, that doesn’t mean you need to pass on the project if the client is willing not to smoke when you work together and air the space before you arrive.
3. Are they vaccinated or willing to obtain a covid test 48 hours before the appointment, and are they willing to wear a mask during organizing sessions?
If being exposed to covid-19 or any infectious diseases is of concern, you can ask your client if they are willing to share their vaccine record with you and to mask up during your sessions.
After asking these questions, you will have the green light to dive deeper into the conversation and learn more about their project, organizing needs, and goals.
However, most of these questions won’t be significant if you are working with clients virtually and highlighting some of the benefits of working with clients virtually.
What questions have you found to be critical to ask a client at the beginning of your conversation?