Do Clients Even Know What They Really Want?
The customer is always right, right? Well… maybe not all of the time. Whilst it’s very important to listen to your clients’ feedback, sometimes using some insightful initiative, fueled by your prior experience, will open up new opportunities for you and show your clients how you can help them solve problems they didn’t even know they needed you for.
Do your customers know what they want?
Do you wonder if your clients know what’s best for them sometimes? Steve Jobs, the previous CEO of Apple, famously rebuilt an entire technology empire on the assumption that customers don’t actually know what they want. This line of thinking assumes that the individual offering a product or service is better informed about its potential, and that those without this sort of ‘special insight’ need to be shown what they’re missing out on.
As a freelance translator, have you ever wondered if your clients really know what they want from a translation?
Using your insight to create new business opportunities
If you’ve been working as a freelance translator for a while now, then chances are that you know more about the business of translating documents than those who hire you to do so. This puts you in a position of authority (remember, your clients are hiring you for your role as a specialist).
From this perspective, you might be able to foresee situations that your clients will have to deal with as a result of translating a document, find a solution to this situation, and then potentially turn it into a business opportunity for yourself.
For example, you could point out that translating their document from English into Finnish will actually contract the word count, meaning that they will need to perform additional formatting work on the completed document, such as altering page numbers in a table of contents and adjusting graphics to compensate for the extra blank space on the pages of the completed translation. From here, you could offer to complete all these necessary formatting changes for your clients for an increased fee.
By using the insight gained from your translation experience, you’ll be able to foresee future problems your clients will face, allowing you to offer them a solution that will, hopefully, result in a business opportunity for you.
Some words of caution
However, it’s important not to get too sure of yourself, as Gregory Ciotti helpfully points out in his article over at helpscount.net: there’s fine line between insight and arrogance, and to continue using Apple as an example, other executives at that company were prone to ignoring conventional wisdom under the misguided belief that they were acting with gifted insight.
When dealing with your clients make sure you don’t become too confident in your perception that you end up alienating them!
Have you ever been in a position to offer something to one of your clients that they didn’t know they wanted? How did it work out? If you haven’t done this before, can you see the value of trying, or does such an approach strike you as somewhat arrogant?