8 ways to create the best client consultation experience

Client consultations are full of opportunity for your business. A thorough consultation can help you identify the right products and services for each client, build valuable client relationships, and even upsell services.

The perfect client consultation will do all of this well, but conducting a fantastic consultation can be a challenge. If consultations are a regular part of your business, it’s worth your time to focus on perfecting them.

Steps to the best client consultation experience

A great consultation isn’t as simple as it might seem. A lot of thought and preparation go into creating an effective consultation that converts a prospect into a customer or client.

1. Understand your goals

Before you head into a consultation, outline what you want to achieve. Is your goal to get the customer to sign a contract and officially become a new client? Do you want the customer to sign up for a free trial, or is your goal to interest them in a higher-priced package? Once you’ve identified your goals, you can better structure the conversation to achieve them.

2. Start with a consultation form

A consultation form gives you a valuable advantage when you’re preparing for your meeting, and you can incorporate it directly into your content marketing funnel or sales funnel. JotForm offers a free client consultation form.

By asking potential customers to complete the form ahead of time, you can gather a little extra information so you can quickly adjust your approach to make a more meaningful connection. For instance, if your customer has indicated they’re looking for particular qualities in a service, you can highlight how your services will satisfy their specific needs.

3. Be aware of your body language

Body language can be a benefit or a detractor during in-person consultations. Simple elements of body language — like crossing your arms across your chest or smiling — can send certain signals to your customer. And your customers can send you important cues in the same way. Focus on establishing body language that shows you’re friendly and genuine. Smile, maintain eye contact, lean in toward your customer a bit, and engage with them during the meeting.

4. Approach the consultation as a conversation

When you’re confident about your services and proud of what you have to offer, it can be easy to fall into the trap of turning your consultation into a presentation — where you speak and the customer listens. This can be off-putting to customers, making them feel like you don’t value them as individuals.

Instead, approach the consultation as a conversation and try to build a relationship with the customer through that conversation. Try to be a good listener when the customer is talking — focus on their concerns and questions. Take some time to get to know the customer as a person and to understand their motivations and values before you move forward with making the sale.

5. Ask the right questions

Your consultation questions are key to understanding your client’s expectations, needs, and pain points. Be prepared with questions that will help you gain valuable information — such as asking, “What do you dislike about your current service?” and “What would an ideal service experience look like for you?” By posing open-ended questions, you’re giving the client a chance to share details you might not otherwise discover. These details could be key to a customer conversion.

6. Frame the conversation as if the potential customer has signed on

Stay positive during the conversation. Behave as if you’re talking to one of your regular clients who will definitely use your services. Starting your responses with something positive — “When we deliver these services, we will…” — can help the client envision working with your business.

7. Be prepared with all of your information

During a consultation, you don’t want to be scrambling for price sheets, online or paper contracts, and product samples. Prepare all of these materials beforehand, and make sure that you can access them easily. If the client is ready to proceed to the next steps, you need to make that process as smooth and easy as possible.

8. Be confident

Confidence will come from knowing and believing in your business. You’ll also gain confidence as you conduct more consultations — or practice your consultation skills. When you deliver pricing, highlight the benefits of working with your business, or show how you can deliver what the client wants, do it with confidence. Your delivery will show the customer that they can trust you and your business.

Developing the best consultation experience

Crafting a successful client consultation takes time and practice. After completing a consultation, take a step back and assess it. Did you achieve your goal? Were there things that could have gone better? Take this feedback and use it to continue improving your consultations until you can consistently deliver top-quality consultations every time.

AUTHOR
A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked for TV, newspapers, radio, and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s written for Inc.com, Fast Company, NBC, Entrepreneur, USA Today, and Business Insider, among others.

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