Helping potential clients understand what outcomes they will achieve when they work with you is one of the greatest challenges for us freelance linguist, providing a service. Clients need to be convinced that you can achieve expected results or they aren’t likely to purchase from you. Problems can take root when clients don’t fully understand what you are able to do. Proper communication about your value proposition, which is the value of service, is key. A value proposition is a short statement that clearly communicates the benefits that potential clients receive when working with you and using your translation services.
How can we define our value proposition and communicate it to our potential and current clients? Here are some tips.
Research Target Clients
It’s easy to try and guess what your clients want but also something that is very easy to get wrong. Do your market research and prepare a set of questions that will lead clients to discuss what they need and value.
Know Your Services
Know how clients can benefit from your services and ability to solve their business problems. Try to give concrete examples of how your services can help, by using percentages and numbers from research and service analysis and describe the specific features or capabilities by answering several questions, such as: How much will your client gain, save or improve? What effect on efficiency is expected? Focus directly on what your clients want and value.
Know Your Competitors
Put yourself in your client’s shoes and ask how your services create more value than those your competitors are offering. Be prepared to be challenged. The trick is to know your services and how they compare to your competitors’ offerings. It’s very important to think like your clients to find answers that will benefit your business and improve clients’ experiences.
If you are unclear on this point, turn to the people that already have the answer: your past or current clients! Ask them why they chose you, what stood out to them, and how you compare to any translators they may have worked with in the past. If you’re a little nervous about asking for this feedback, just remember that your clients (particularly repeat clients) already support your business and if you approach them professionally they will likely be more than happy to help.
Many times when you are asking for a recommendation or testimonial, you can also see in their wording why they appreciate you in particular.
Here are some examples of how you can be unique or stand out. You have a particular professional background that can help the client, for example you are an expert at translating research papers in electronics, since you have worked with electronics or have a Phd in this subject. Perhaps you are completely bilingual and bicultural and know exactly how to communicate to the target client without any cultural faux-pas. Perhaps you have a journalistic education or background and can help with copywriting too. Or you have worked a lot with websites and can help with SEO and localization. You might also have a unique language combination, work with a team to provide more complete services, and have a particular hobby that make you perfect for a certain subject area.
Distill the Client-Oriented Value Proposition
Potential clients need to be equipped with information about your services: How can they benefit them and how do they differ from competitors’ services? Clients should be able to answer the question, “Why should I get translation services from this person?” Once a client is interested, he or she is going to look for proof. A good way to provide proof for your services is to include testimonials from other happy clients, on you website, in your marketing material, on your LinkedIn profile etc.
Helping clients understand the value of your translation services is an exercise both in educating clients and letting them learn. It’s important to focus on what they will get from your services. Clients need to understand what type of services you deliver, what they can expect from you, and how your services can be the solution for their needs.