Professional translation is a competitive industry. Success requires dedication, excellent linguistic abilities and flawless customer service. A good dose of business sense also comes in handy, particularly when it comes to winning new clients and then retaining them.
In that spirit, we look here at five negotiation tricks that are sure to help professional translators get ahead of the competition.
#1 Limit your availability
Letting clients know that your availability is limited shows that you are in demand and reinforces both the quality of your services (as others have booked up your time due to your excellent work) and the need for clients to book you to do their work as quickly as possible (in case you run out of time if they don’t).
Use it wisely though, as if clients are regularly told that you don’t have much time free, they may look for someone who does!
#2 Learn to laugh
Humour is recognised as a valuable negotiation technique as it dissipates tension and creates a shared bond between those who are laughing. Use it to develop stronger relationships with your clients in order to encourage their loyalty over the years.
#3 Use the competition
Using the competition can be an excellent means of driving up your prices and thus earning a more substantial income from your clients. “I would love to commit this time to you, but I have another client who is offering to pay me an additional $xx per hour,” is a tried and tested negotiation method that is proven to be effective. However, it’s one to use carefully – once with each client is enough.
#4 Present biased choices
Offering clients choice is a great way to ensure that they feel that their opinion and preferences are valued. Offering them biased choices, where all options play to your own preferences, is even better, as the clients still feel valued, but you are also guaranteed to get your own way.
If you are particularly busy, for example, offer to undertake a translation job either for an extra fee to ensure speedy completion, or at a reduced rate but with a much longer deadline. The client has the option to choose to suit their preference, while you either get additional income from the job or get to delay it until you have time to tackle it.
#5 Highball that income
When it comes to negotiating rates, start high. Not so high that you price yourself out of the market instantly, but high enough that you have room to agree a ‘discounted’ or ‘preferential’ rate for a new client that is actually your usual rate, but which allows the client to feel that they have beaten you down on price from your original quote.
That way, the client feels they have got better value for money, while you’ve ended up with your usual rate. Of course, you could always strike it lucky and get a client who accepts the initial higher rate without complaint!
What are your top negotiation tactics? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment in the box.