All about price? Not necessarily

Qb - Quality markSmall-business owners and freelancers talk, and worry, a lot about pricing: how to charge a decent rate without frightening potential clients away. Price is certainly  important, but it’s not the only factor motivating clients.

I had confirmation of this recently from a new client. An Italian company had contacted me  for an urgent translation of documents they needed to submit for a tender in the US. When I’d delivered the translation I asked my contact in the company, Antonella, how they’d found me. She replied that they’d done some internet research and had found my website to be clear and professional looking. She got the impression the site had been written and produced by “people who know what they’re doing”. Antonella had contacted other translators/agencies too, but I was the only one who replied promptly and came over in my emails as helpful and competent, and with a good customer-relations manner (her words, not mine).

So: clients don’t just judge us on price. Our professionalism, or the lack of it, comes over in all sorts of ways: in our internet presence (and that includes Twitter and the other social media!) and the way we communicate with clients. Each and every phone call, letter, email, quote or invoice counts.

PS The “Q” at the top of this post is my “quality mark”, which I’ll be using (when I remember!) for posts focusing on quality and professionalism.

By Marian Dougan

9 Responses

  1. Absolutely Marian! When a project is important to a client, trust in the service provider trumps price. To quote for one last week, I needed answers the client could not provide. He put me in touch with his comm’ agency, who turned around and told him my questions & requests showed knowledge and professionalism. That cinched it.

  2. Yes, this is also true in my experience. Just last week, a new client said he had found me thanks to my website. He said “many translation websites don’t inspire confidence so I was glad I found yours”.

  3. Totally concur with your thoughts, Marian. You nailed every significant point. I remember that one of my end clients told me a couple of years ago, when I told them I would have to raise my fee, that they did not mind “paying a bit more for an excellent service”.

    Also a lot of my end clients find me through my website – a sober, professional-oriented website is very important for a first impression. It’s our “face” on the internet. The same, as you pointed out, and can never be stressed enough, goes for your overall web presence (social media, etc.).

    And the clincher is, of course, personal relationships (whether face-to-face or over the cyberspace). “I will certainly pass on your name” or “I’m recommending you to everybody I know” always sound like music to my ears…

    I am so glad to find that other colleagues think along the same lines that I do!

    1. Thanks, Nelida. You see so many websites these days selling translations as though they were Bic pens or toilet paper: commodities, not services. And it’s not just translators who experience this problem: web designers, print companies, and many more are all having to contend with cut-price, high-volume (and poor quality) competitors.

  4. Nice post, Marian!
    I was once contacted by a client and asked to translate her wedding vows into Polish. She said that she wanted to have a surprise for her Polish family at her wedding, so she couldn’t ask any one of them to do it for her – that would spoil the surprise. It was a very sweet project and I then asked her why she chose me. She wrote back, saying that my website looked the most approachable and personal, like I was a human being, and that she was so happy with my services that she’d recommend them to her friends and family – music to my ears, too! So, I totally agree with you that your website tells a lot about its owner. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment, Anna. What a lovely project! Yes, websites are so important in establishing that first contact with potential clients: it pays to put some time and effort into them and to establish a personal yet professional “identity”.

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