Top 6 Process Questions That Win Clients

African American business woman writing answers to process questions that win clients.

Process content is, without a doubt, the most overlooked type of content when speaking to a client. It just doesn't sizzle. But you might be losing clients because you don't have answers in your back pocket for the process questions that win clients.

Clients want to know that they're working with a professional. They've probably worked with someone in the past who was qualified, but they were so disorganized that it was more trouble to work with them than it was worth. Your process may seem like a mundane administrative detail, but it makes a direct contribution to your reputation.

Before we jump to the process questions that win clients, it's essential to know what process questions are, why they're ignored, and why they bring value to your client conversations.

Process questions are any questions that a client asks about how your products or services are delivered, the payment process, and any relevant administrative policies.

There are two reasons process questions that win clients don't get the focus they deserve:

1. You don't have established processes, so you can't answer questions about them. While this isn't a great situation, it's understandable. You were probably so focused on selling your product or services when you started that you didn't sit down and create operational processes. It's okay. As you go through your week, pick one of the six questions below, outline your process, and then put it in writing to include on your website or in an email. Don't overcomplicate things. A simple process that's established in writing beats a complex process that is a little fuzzy around the edges.

2. You don't understand the importance to your client of established processes. This is understandable too. It's natural to assume that qualifications or product attributes are the most important thing to your client. And they probably are your client's #1 consideration. But if I had a dollar for every pageant contestant who told me the reason they went with me was that I responded to their inquiry within 24 hours, had an online calendar, or because my payment system was easy to navigate, I'd be writing this from the veranda of my island mansion sipping a beverage with a cute little umbrella. As far as your potential client is concerned, the way you do one thing is the way you do everything.

So, to get you started, here are the top six process questions that win clients.

1. What are your packages/service options/product bundles?

The challenge with this question is that many people think this question is a signal to transition to closing the sale, but often it's not. Potential clients can ask this question as a way of evaluating how much business you have. If you have packages or bundles in place, it will give the impression that you regularly have clients and have put together the options that work best for the majority of people who do business with you. Being able to articulate packages, service options, or product bundles makes you look like an in-demand business that regularly sells to clients.

If you don't have anything in place, they'll get the impression that you don't have very many clients, aren't organized, and haven't set things up to be easy for the client. Even if you just have two different options for people, it will boost their perception of you and your business. This could be as simple as one or two paragraphs you cut and paste in an email or a page on your website. If you don't have something for them to look at, you won't look like an accomplished business person.

2. How do I schedule appointments?

What they're really asking here is, "How big of a hassle is it going to be to work with you?" Nowadays, everything is either online or on an app. They can practically run their whole life from their cell phone. If they have to email your assistant back-and-forth or call someone and leave endless voicemails, they decide it's going to be a pain to schedule appointments. They want to schedule their appointments online. There are lots of services that offer online calendar scheduling. The service I use is just $19 a month, and the time it saves me in VA support makes it worth every penny.

But don't stop there. After explaining how to schedule appointments, you need to tell them about any appointment confirmation emails they'll receive, what to do if they need to reschedule, and what your cancellation policy is. Most online calendaring systems have a section for 'notes' where you can enter your rescheduling/cancellation policy. Here's my cancellation policy to get you started on creating your own:

If you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment, you can make the change here on my online calendar. But you must reschedule at least two business days prior to your appointment. If you're unable to provide a minimum notice of two business days to reschedule or cancel your appointment, you will be charged for that appointment.

You'll be surprised by how impressive your clients think you are if you can clearly explain the scheduling process.

3. How are payments made?

You don't need some fancy payment system in place for client payments. They just want to know that you have a process and what it is.

It could be as simple as sending them a PayPal (or similar service) invoice, or you could be taking credit card payments through your website.

I started with PayPal invoices, then got a merchant services account and accepted credit cards and PayPal. I eventually dropped PayPal because it's difficult to manage/cancel membership subscriptions on PayPal, and I'm all about making things easy.

And instead of just sending them a receipt after their purchase, I send them a welcome email and let them know what the next steps are. Their purchase triggers the email, and I don't have to do a thing. Easy peasy.

4. What is your refund policy or guarantee?

You must have a refund policy, not just so everyone knows what the policy is, but because a policy further establishes you as someone who runs their business in a professional manner. Your policy doesn't have to be super complicated, but it does need to be clearly stated on your website or displayed during the purchase process. Here's a great blog post with sample guarantees to give you some ideas:

5. Do you have any recommendations?

This is an interesting question because it can be both a process question and a transition-to-sales question. Here's how to tell the difference:

If the potential client asks this question early in the process, they're testing you to see if your recommendation fits their need. You need to give a detailed answer about your recommendation and why it's the best option for them.

If the client asks the question later in the conversation, they're indicating their interest in making a purchase, and it's a signal to transition to presenting options for purchase. You can give a summary of your recommendation and move on to closing the sale.

6.What is the process for getting started?

This question is also a process and transition-to-sales question.

If it's asked early in the conversation, it's a process question. You need to give a detailed explanation of how they get started. Do they make a purchase from your website? Do they need to send you an email? Will you or your assistant be contacting them? Provide them with a step-by-step explanation of the process to get started.

If the question is asked later in the conversation, it's a transition-to-sales question. They're ready to purchase and want to move forward. You don't need to sell beyond this point. You've already made the sale. Give a clear explanation of what happens next and let them know that you'll get that process in motion.

Getting organized isn't fun, isn't glamorous, and you don't feel like you're helping anyone. No matter what you're selling, your ability to answer questions about your processes does make an impression on your clients. And if you don't recognize these type of questions for what they are during a client conversation, you won't be able to answer the top 6 process questions that win clients.