A Client Prep Form Can Simplify Your Work with Clients
When it comes to building a relationship with a new client, business coaches and their new clients benefit from a bit of preparation. That’s why I encourage my business coaching clients to create valuable client prep forms.
After coaching with women in a variety of service businesses I’ve come to realize that creating a client prep form is not always an easy task. I know that many of my business coaching clients experience frustration, overwhelm, and maybe even confusion when it comes to creating a prep form for their clients, and there are times, I’m sure when those feelings convince them to skip the prep form altogether. But, I feel like that’s a bit of a mistake.
Four Reasons To Use a Client Prep Form
A prep form is a key to ensuring that your clients are a good fit for you and that you know what direction to take as you work together. This prep form may be called an intake form or an introduction form.
- It helps you and your client to feel like you’re not complete strangers.
Getting clear answers to specific questions can help you to build a great relationship with your clients. Having that form ahead of time can help to make the whole process more comfortable.
- It helps you understand your client.
When fully filled out, a prep form explains your client’s motivations, their aspirations, and it can help you to understand what they’re looking for in your working relationship.
- It helps you identify exactly where and how you can help your client.
Whether you see one area of opportunity or you see several, this completed form helps you to see just how you can help your client. It can guide your discussions, and ultimately, I hope it makes it easier for your client to see all of the value you bring.
- It helps you ensure that a potential client is a good long-term ideal client.
Often, clients who answer in short, simple sentences are the clients who are not easy to involve in your work. They are often more difficult to work with because they don’t articulate things as clearly as someone who offers great detail, or those who offer just enough detail and trust the coach to help guide them. Those clients who explain everything in great detail are likely to be tougher to keep focused, but those who give just the right amount of detail, focusing on exactly what you asked and answering nothing more.
Determining What to Include in Your Prep Form
I believe there are seven types of questions that you should ask. These questions aim to gather answers that lead to different pieces of information that you can use to flesh out a plan for your clients. Here are the seven types of questions to ask, and their aims in asking.
Types of Questions to Ask
- Questions that identify a problem.
These are pretty straight forward. “What is your biggest struggle?” “Where do you get stuck?” The questions may be simple, but the answers often are not.
- Questions that help gather needed info/data.
Good questions give you information to make sure you’re solving the right problem. Some of the questions that might fall into this category include the following: “What do you want to achieve in working with me?” “What are you doing now and what do you want to be doing? “How does getting stuck make you feel?” “What have you tried before and struggled with?”
- Questions that point to the root cause.
Questions of this nature are likely to meet some resistance from many people. This is a deep introspection, and it can uncover things that feel unpleasant. “What do you think is the reason you struggle?”
- Questions that generate solutions.
These questions are designed to reframe an issue and provide insights that could lead to solutions. They are pretty specific to each of your clients, based on your knowledge of their current situations. There aren’t really sample questions that I can share, but this article from Fast Company provides great reasons to try this.
- Questions that support decision making.
Questions of this nature look at both sides of issues, if people choose to look that deeply. They can help a business owner to define what is truly important in their company, and what is best for their company, and for themselves. “What would happen if?” “What is acceptable progress?” “What is not acceptable?
- Questions that create a potential implementation plan.
An implementation plan is almost as important as the questions that point to reasons someone might be struggling. Without a plan, people are less likely to move forward and take action. These are questions like “what would it take to reach the next level?”
- Questions that propel your client into action.
There are questions that help to outline a plan forward,
and then there are those that actually inspire them to take that leap. These questions inspire and build off of the potential implementation plan. They make people excited.
Questions can be incredibly powerful.
They can help you know exactly how to help your clients; they can help you determine whether or not a potential client is right for you (and if you’re right for them). For your clients, they can help to uncover limiting beliefs that might be holding them back from success and progress. Questions can help your clients recognize paths forward in their businesses, no matter what business they are in.
If you’d like help creating your prep forms, let's get coaching!