So you got a new design inquiry, yay! Now you have to make sure that you ask the right questions so you can get enough information from your potential client about the project, ensure you actually want the project, and that you can give them an accurate cost estimate. But… what questions are you supposed to ask?
Most designers have a similar set of questions that they ask all potential clients, and some of those would be the obvious ones like budget, timeline, and inspiration. However, there are a few specific questions that can help you pull out the best information and make sure the project goes more smoothly. These are questions that I think most designers forget to ask in the beginning stages, so today, I’m going to share them and why I think they can help the project for both you and your client.
1. Why are you wanting a new design?
This is by far one of the most important and first questions you want to ask a potential client that has approached you for a new design, especially if it’s for a rebrand project or website design. This is because it’s so incredibly easy for people to see something cute online and think they must have that on their blog or website immediately. This isn’t exactly the best reason to get a new design, now is it?
Asking your potential clients why they want to get a new design will let both of you know whether or not they want work done for the right reason. If someone has approached you and wants a new website design just because they don’t think it’s pretty anymore, use this time to really educate the potential client and help steer them in the right direction. This could mean that you lose the project, but you might find there’s smaller work that they need instead.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’d rather do a small project than take someone through an entire rebrand or update their website design if they don’t really need it.
2. What are your goals with this project?
This ties into the previous question, and asking something similar will force your potential client to really think about what exactly they need done and why they’re wanting to take on this type of project.
In addition, asking your potential client what their goals are for the project will help both of you figure out if the project was successful or not in the end. For example, if someone has approached you to get a new website design because their current site is keeping people from booking their services, one of their goals might be to get an updated design to help them get more inquiries and clients.
Knowing those types of goals will help give you an idea of specific things you need to focus on while you’re working on your designs, especially when you’re working on a website design project.
3. What are a few big goals you have for your blog / business?
It’s likely that you’ve already planned to ask a little bit more about the blog or business your potential client has, so go on ahead and ask them what big goals they have for the next couple of years are at the same time. This is important for you because it’ll give you a clear idea of how you can help them keep from outgrowing their design while pursuing these goals.
For example, if your potential client says that one of their big goals is to add an online shop to their website in the next year or so, then it’s worthwhile to make sure that the website design you create is going to work seamlessly when they get ready to install something like WooCommerce.
Asking your clients about their big picture goals can also give you an idea of additional things they may need designed beyond what they’re asking for, which will talk about more later.
4. Who are your competitors?
Regardless of what type of design you’re doing for your clients, it’s always a good idea to ask who their competitors are, but it’s especially important to ask about competitors if you’re doing branding or web design projects. One reason why is because it’ll help you make sure that you’re not creating anything too similar without realizing it.
The primary reason it’s a good idea to ask about competitors, though, is that it helps you get a clearer idea of who their target market is. This is a whole separate question that you can ask your clients, but it can be helpful to get an outside idea of who they’re targeting with their design, as well.
Knowing their target market will give you a chance to really focus on what makes your client unique and stand out from their competitors, which will help them reach their goals. If you’re not sure what makes your client stand apart while looking at their competitors, don’t be afraid to straight up ask them this since it will help you during the design process.
5. Will you need any complementary add-ons?
A lot of times your potential clients will want or need more than what they’re asking for, but they don’t even realize it. In fact, sometimes they won’t ask for the extra collateral when they’re inquiring with you, especially if your website isn’t clear about whether or not you will design those additional branded pieces.
Asking if your potential clients will need complementary add-ons will give you a chance to do everything for them instead of them creating something themselves. The upside of this for you is that you’ll be making more money if they add additional items. However, you don’t necessarily have to go out of your way to upsell your clients. Instead, just ask them if they need anything else, and let them know you offer the extra branded collateral if they need it.
For example, if you do branding, you may want to ask your potential clients if they also need business cards, social media graphics, and a custom newsletter template. Chances are they’ll need at least one of those things, which will alleviate some of their stress because they won’t have to worry about figuring it out themselves.
What do you ask your potential design clients?
Do you ask your potential clients these things? If not, will you be adding any of them to your inquiry forms? I’d love to hear in the comments. Also, be sure to click the graphic below to sign up for my free onboarding questionnaire, which is an exact swipe file of what I ask my own clients!