Ask the Right Questions and Never Bend to the Whim of Clients Again

Ever feel like your WordPress clients have a little too much control over their project as well as over you? In this episode of Silence Is Golden, Troy and Simon reveal one of the best things you can do to prevent that from happening: ask the right questions.

Watch the Video

Thou Shalt Ask Better Questions (1:05)

Each week, Troy and Simon unpack one of the 10 Commandments of Freelancing. This week’s commandment is:

Commandment 3 - Ask the Right Questions

In order to deliver the right solution to clients, you need to understand the complete picture — something your clients can’t always communicate that easily on the first go of it.

Harvard Business Review recently published research findings from Alison Wood Brooks pertaining to the subject of how to have more productive conversations. In sum, this is what the research revealed:

“Questioning is a uniquely powerful tool for unlocking value in organisations: It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, it fuels innovation and performance improvement, it builds rapport and trust among team members. And it can mitigate business risk by uncovering unforeseen pitfalls and hazards.”

Unlock value. Build trust. Mitigate risk. That sounds exactly like something you want to do, right?

Troy and Simon in Sync

Ask the Right Questions with the Go Wide Go Deep Framework

Agency Mavericks created the Go Wide Go Deep framework for this express purpose.

In essence, it works like this:

Client: I need a website.

You: Why?

Client: Because my site sucks right now.

You: Why else?

Client: I’m really embarrassed to send anyone to it. I just point them to my Facebook page.

You: Okay, but why else?

Client: I’m tired of spending all day on the phone, answering questions and trying to qualify leads.

You: Now, which of these problems is the most important one for you to resolve?

So, you ask why they want a website until you and they get clear on that (go wide). Then, you ask which of those problems is the most critical and continue to drill them on “why” until you get to the root of their problem (go deep).

Go Wide Go Deep in Action

Want to see an awesome example of what happens when you ask the right questions? Watch episode #180 of the Agency Mavericks podcast.

Why Do We Even Need to Talk About This? (9:00)

Simon introduces the idea that when you #bendtothewhim of clients, you give them control and decrease your authority as a WordPress consultant.

Take the example provided by Grant in the Facebook group.

  • He presented the design to his client.
  • Their response was, “This sucks. We want something more exciting.”
  • Grant determined they weren’t a good fit and fired them.

The reason why the client gave this sort of s***ty feedback is because they didn’t trust Grant. Which means that Grant hadn’t positioned himself correctly with the client.

And who is to blame when your project fails (or your client runs all over you)?


If you want to see how Troy correlates this to a blocked-up toilet, tune it at the 11:50-mark.

Troy Dean Laughing

Bottom line: if the client is dictating the design of their website, you’ve failed to grasp what their version of success looks like and what you need to do to get them there.

The Golden Nugget (16:25)

Troy tells the story of a conversation he had with the owner of an osteopathic clinic. What could have been a $3,000 website, ended up netting Troy over $11,000… all because he asked the right questions.

So, instead of building a website simply for the purposes of giving the clinic a good-looking presence online and in search, Troy figured out that the owner was planning to sell the business. The problem, then, wasn’t just about improving search visibility. It was about framing the website in the best light to help the client sell his business.

Tool of the Week (23:20)

Your smartphone is the tool of the week. More specifically, the tool is the voice recorder app you’ve installed on your phone.

Voice Recorder App

As you enter into these probing discussions with clients, set your phone out in front of you and hit the “Record” button. In addition to having a copy of the conversation, the app also helps you learn how to speak your client’s language (which will make selling them on anything easier).

You can even use their language to write your proposal.

Want to close even more deals with your website proposals?

Download this free proposal template.

Let’s Get Unstuck (25:20)

At 25:35, Mitali Griffin asks:

Mitali Griffin - Question

In short, look at websites of well-known brands. (Ahem, like the one you’re on right now.) And go for a niche where you know that just one lead is worth thousands of dollars to the client.

If you’re working through the Blueprint, you can join the Agency Mavericks Flight Cadets group on Facebook to see a list of websites that members have built for $10,000 and upwards.

At 28:55: Janet Morningstar asks:

Janet Morningstar - Question

It doesn’t matter either way. Just make sure you tell Google Search Console which one is right.

Wrap Up

If you’re tired of letting clients run amok, there are a number of ways to get them in line. But one of the easiest ways to do this?

Ask the right questions.

If you can narrow down what the core issue is with their website (or lack of one), they won’t feel the need to step in and tell you how to design their website. They won’t question your every move. Nor will they force you to blow the budget with tiresome revision after revision.

If you want to see how other WordPress consultants are doing with this, don’t forget to join the Digital Mavericks Facebook group. Request to join here.

You can also sign up for this free workshop where you’ll learn how to identify better clients that are ready to trust in you and pay the fees you deserve. Get Instant Access here.

Share this post on Social

Picture of Suzanne Scacca

Suzanne Scacca

Suzanne Scacca is a freelance copywriter whose work has been featured on WordPress and web design blogs like Elegant Themes, Pagely, and A List Apart. She believes in the power of good quotes, timely statistics, and simple, easy-to-follow language that speaks directly to the pain of the audience.

Tell us where to send your Prospectus

Now is the time to double down on growing your digital agency.

A Free Training Series For Web Designers and Digital Marketers

Learn how to get clients.
Deliver amazing projects.
Create recurring revenues.

Download our Proposal Template Package

Start winning better projects with bigger budgets now.


High Ticket Sales Funnels

Three things you need to know before you can start scaling your business with automated high ticket sales funnels

Join the discussion!

The Agency Hour Podcast: Guest Application