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Top 5 Awkward Questions You Need To Ask Your Customers

In my youth, when I was out with my friends in the local bar or nightclub and there was a group of girls, I would always be the one that ended up going over to speak to them.

My friends were so afraid of rejection, they couldn’t muster up the courage to go over.

I was in sales, rejection was part of my daily life.

But more importantly I always went over with the mindset of 'well, what’s the worst they are going to say?’

Sometimes it worked, sometimes I got a horrible rejection that would have shaken the others to their core. But at the end of the interaction, I knew where we all stood.

Asking a sensitive question can sometimes feel really awkward, but the more you do it, and the more you ask it, the more natural it will feel.

And ask yourself, what is the worst thing they will say ? It’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be. 

1 - How Much Do You Want To Pay ?

Getting the client's budget is an absolutely must for any designer.  

Don’t ask “what is your budget?”, or “how much have you got to spend?”, instead ask “how much did you want to spend?”.

This is a lot softer question and doesn’t feel like it is putting any sort of pressure on the customer. 

You can also view my Instagram video on dealing with budget, but really it needs to be the starting point of the conversation.

If the customers are younger, they may not have purchased a kitchen before, and may not actually know what their budget should be, but they will definitely know how much money they have available to spend.

2 - How Are You Funding Your Project ?

This is really the next step on from the budget question and it can be a tricky one, but the answers can tell you a lot.

Whether they are getting a loan, they already have the funds in savings, or Uncle Bill or Auntie Ethel have passed away and left an inheritance, it’s always good to know how the project is being funded.

If the customer has remortgaged to get the money, they might be on a strict budget and costs overrunning elsewhere might cause a reduced kitchen budget.

If they are still in the process of securing funds, they might be looking at a competitor who offers finance products such as interest free credit or buy now, pay later.

This information can help paint a better picture of the client's circumstances and what is shaping their decision making process.

Some customers won’t be upfront about this question, but if you ask it with confidence and you have a good rapport with them, then there usually isn’t an issue.

3 - Where Else Are They Looking ?

Are you the only company they have visited, or are you number eight on the list ?

And where have they been ? All similar companies selling kitchens to the same budget that you do, or are you in the lower range, or the upper range ?

Knowing which competitors your customers are visiting will help you get a handle on what their current thought process is, and what might be important to them.

Have they been recommended to look at certain outlets, or do they need finance and are looking for the best deal ?

Is quality important, or do they need a kitchen quickly ?

Most people are generally happy to tell you where else they are looking, so just ask the question.

4 - Are You Ready To Proceed ?

Many times I see designers struggling to ask this at the end of a design presentation.

All of the hard work has been done, the survey carried out, kitchen designed and quoted, the presentation has gone well, and then we aren’t always comfortable asking the customer for the money.

Whichever way you feel comfortable doing it, however you phrase it, you need to ask for a payment at the end.

Practice makes perfect with this and you need to find your own way of wording your close, but eventually it needs to become second nature to ask the client for a credit card.

If they totally understand the process, they know that payment needs to be made, so just ask.

5 - Can I Ring You On Monday ?

If, for whatever reason, the customer can’t make a decision on the day, you need to agree the next contact.

We cannot afford to leave this as a “I will wait to hear from you” Or “let me know when you’ve made a decision.”

If the customer doesn’t make a commitment at the time, we need to confirm the next time we will be calling them to get an update.

“Is Monday at 2pm a good time to call ?”

“If not, when is the best time?”

We need to get the customer to agree the next contact so that we can keep control of the process and keep in regular touch during this stage.

If you’ve been true to your word all the way through, you are more than entitled to ask the customer when you can speak to them next.

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