It is not enough for freelance translators to provide better quality than their competitors, or even lower their prices to receive more work from your translation business clients.
You need to gain their trust!
When all things are equal, trust is the most important thing in any business relationship.
Maybe you read this sentence before: People do business with people they know, like and trust.”
How can freelance translators build trust with their clients? Below are three ways you can use to build trust with your translation business clients. These ways can also apply when working with translation agencies and direct clients
Deliver What You Promise
Transparency is vital for freelancers when it comes to working with clients. It can make or break your relationship with the client.
When you first contact the client to offer your freelance translation services, be transparent about what you can or cannot do.
If you only work in certain industries, such as technical or medical, let them know. Do not tell them you can work in many fields or your lack of focus may concern them.
If you do not deliver quality translations in a field you are supposed be familiar with, you will lose the client’s trust for ever.
Also, when you receive a new translation assignment offer, do not confirm the deadline before going through the material you will translate. Then tell the client when you can deliver the project.
If you feel the deadline is tight, just tell the client when you can deliver.
It is okay to decline a translation project if you cannot deliver in time, because you can make it up next time, but if you miss the deadline, your relationship with the client may be negatively affected in the long term. So, always underpromise and overdeliver!
Communicate in a Better Way
A few months ago, I didn’t deliver some of my translation projects by the agreed times (yes, it can happen sometimes as I’m only human).
The project manager held a meeting with me to discuss the situation because this is not usual from me.
He praised my work and told me how his own team is very happy to work with me because I communicate with them very well (these were his words not mine). Then he raised his concerns about the deadline commitment and asked if they can help me fix that.
We ended by agreeing on some procedures to avoid this delay in the future. This story shows how my strong communication with the team saved me when things went wrong.
Delivering a quality translation is a good thing, but the client also needs to feel safe with you throughout the complete translation project life cycle.
Strong communication means feeling safe.
Your client, a translation agency or a direct client, needs to feel you are there, that you are working on their projects and you will support them if something goes wrong.
Always be there when your client needs you, and let them feel safe when they are working with you!
Better communication can be in the form of replying to your clients in a timely manner, raising your queries in a clear way, giving the clients options if you cannot meet their tight deadlines, referring clients to a colleague if you cannot help in a project, and handling any feedback in a professional way.
Go The Extra Mile
Adding and providing value to your clients will help you stand out from the crowd, and doing the unexpected can also make you shine.
You need examples? Here you go.
Calling your clients by phone to ask them about something or to confirm the deadline is unusual, but it’s not bad. Your client doesn’t expect you to do that and not many freelance translator will or can do it. Give it a try some time. Your client will feel you are doing things differently. Help your client fix a problem. Maybe your client has contacted you about a translation project in a field you are not familiar with. Help your client by referring them to of your fellow translators. Not many translators do this and the client will always remember your help.
Your Turn Now
Freelance translators can build trust in many other ways, but the most important thing is to keep trust in your mind when you work with your clients.
Always ask yourself, will this action increase or decrease my client’s trust? My one last tip would be to read what people outside the translation industry are doing. Check if you can do the same in our business.
Please comment below if you have another idea about how freelance translators can build trust with their clients.