Consulting Market Insight: What questions should I ask?

Within the next week or so, I’m going to be kicking off the “Phase 1” interview outreach I mentioned yesterday.

My goal is to ask some open-ended questions that will hopefully lead to a slew of mind-bending “aha” moments…

Or I’ll just hear the same answers I’ve already heard over and over again and have to go back to the drawing board.

Either way, here’s what I’m thinking.

Philip Morgan has this interviewing thing down to a science, and I’ve often referred back to his Survey Format for Discovering Expensive Problems. This question alone has been a real winner for me:

If you could wave a magic wand, what 1 thing would you change now to make your business better?

But I also want to understand the arc of these firms’ growth and development over time.

consulting market insight questions arc

As much as a present-day snapshot is valuable, we need to know how they got there in the first place.

For this, I’m pulling from the framework Case Study Buddy uses called the “B/D/A” Format:

“B/D/A” stands for Before, During, After – a structured line of questioning that walks through your client’s experience from the moment they realized they had a problem all the way through to the present day.

A few reasons this is so powerful:

It helps you capture the entire story, with quotes about the customers’ past solutions, decision-making process, early experiences and results.

It follows the exact same structure of any good case study (Problem/Solution/Results)”

I incorporated this recently into a few client’s client interviews (yup, that’s a thing) and was surprised at how well this uncovered those “connecting” details that you often miss when you’re just focused on just the problem and the results.

Anyway, here’s the Frankenstein’s monster of a list I came up with to roughly ask during these interviews:

  • Tell me a little bit about what you do and who you serve.
  • What do your service offerings look like? How do you price what you do?
  • Walk me through the journey { FIRM } has been through. What has your growth looked like over time?
  • What does your ideal vision of the business look like? Size? Revenue? Number of clients?
  • How do you currently acquire new clients?
  • Are you happy with how that’s going? Why or why not?
  • What other lead generation approaches have you tried before? What were the results? Why do you think that happened?
  • If you could wave a magic wand, what one thing would you change now to make your marketing and lead generation work better?

What do you think?

Anything you would add/subtract/modify?

Would appreciate any feedback you’re willing to share (just email me at

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