Jim Hassett from the Legal Business Development Blog provides a great list of suggested questions to help you get the ball rolling with your clients. Not in the legal realm? These questions are easily adapted to your industry...remember, it's about the clients.
Here is a sample:
Eleven business questions for clients and prospects
1. What are the biggest challenges that you face?
2. What business problems keep you up at night?
3. Where do you see your industry going in the next few years?
4. How do you keep track of developments in your industry? What do you read? What organizations do you belong to?
5. What does your ideal customer look like?
6. What works best in finding new customers?
7. Who are your biggest customers?
8. What is it like to work for your company?
9. For your job, who are the key people in your company?
10. Do you often socialize with people you meet through business? What do you like to do?
11. What else should I ask about?
Once you have asked the questions...sit back and listen. Let the client, or prospective client open up and talk. As Jim mentions, "experts say that when you are developing new business, you should listen at least 50% of the time."