Generally, your first instinct is to tell your prospect anything and everything about yourself and what you can offer. I think it's smarter to balance this with a number of questions that are aimed at not only gathering information but also demonstrating your expertise as well as your interest in the client's affairs.
Here's a handful of questions you can ask potential clients:
- What are your products and services?
- What are your target markets (ie industries which require your services)?
- Who are your target audiences (ie Managing Director/CEO level or technical staff etc)?
- Who are your major competitors?
- What is your USP (Unique Selling proposition or competitive advantage - why should someone buy from your client rather than the competition)?
- Do you have a sales force or resellers (this can determine what kinds of marketing communications you can offer your client - ie internal/external newsletter, direct mail letters, sales presentations, videos etc)?
- How do you market your products (what kinds of communications do you currently use - eg advertising, PR, DM etc)?
- Are they conducted internally or through an agency (you can offer a solution to fit ? eg you can provide overload or consulting services for internal staff and co-ordinate projects with their agency)?
That's the key - developing solutions that meet their needs.
Let's face it, there is no shortage of writers out there. But there is a shortage of writers who are prepared to tailor their services to suit specific requirements and market themselves accordingly.