#1. “You seem to offer a lot of programs, how do you differentiate your team building programs?”
Can they articulate the difference in their programs by more than just the number of participants, length of program, location, type of activity and other logistics? Are they able to clearly distinguish between programs that are designed for fun, energy, and a day out of the office together vs. programs that are intentional, designed for learning outcomes and ACTUALLY customized to your goals and incorporate your own language?
#2. “Who will be delivering my program?”
Are you talking to an “order taker” that will pass your information down the line? Perhaps even to people across the country that are essentially subcontractors? Are you talking to the person that will actually be delivering your team building program? How much ownership do they have not only in the delivery of the program but also in adapting it to meet your needs? How much experience does that particular facilitator have doing this work? Do you sense that they will be a good fit for your team? Do they inspire YOU???
#3. “Can you tell me the history of the company?”
What is the companies origin? How did they get started in this business and by whom? For what purpose? What do they believe in? Why do they exist? Do they really have their heart in the field or have they just jumped on the bandwagon in this growing team building industry?
#4. “Are the activities in the program inclusive?”
Watch out for people that use the term “Challenge By Choice.” That is a term developed by one of the leaders in our industry, Project Adventure, and is now totally overused by everyone. It is an excellent phrase but I think it is a cop-out to say we have a “Challenge By Choice” philosophy. Ask them to explain it in their own words and tell you exactly what happens when people choose not to participate. You will probably catch a lot of people off guard with that question. Drill down.
Finally, #5. “What do you want to know about our team?”
Did they ask you questions that you had a hard time answering? Questions that you hadn’t considered? If the team building vendor has done this, you probably have found a vendor with some experience. Team building providers that have been around the block many times have probably heard most of the questions clients will ask them. An experienced team building provider will ask a lot of questions related to “why” and questions about how the experience (even if it is just for fun) will have an impact and be considered an investment vs. expense on the balance sheet.