Best way to market oneself to direct clients?
Thread poster: Eric Stone

Eric Stone
Taiwan
Local time: 04:01
Chinese to English
Oct 2, 2016

It seems that it is best to represent yourself as a 'one man/woman translation service' rather than just a 'freelancer,' but at the same time, I think many of the advantages we have to offer to direct clients are based in the fact that we aren't a big company with a lot of overhead, can allow the client to contact us, the translators, directly, etc.

What do you guys think? When seeking out direct clients should we try to emphasize the advantages they get from us because of the fact they are getting the translation from us as a'one man/woman translation service,' or just ignore that and simply advertise as translation companies with the lower rates?


 

Manuela Ribecai  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:01
English to French
+ ...
Why with the lower rates? Oct 2, 2016

???

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:01
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Direct freelancers cost less per unit Oct 2, 2016

Manuela Ribecai wrote:
Why with the lower rates?
???


Well, everyone's situation is different, but here's an example of the math: A freelancer may charge 100c per unit for direct clients, and 70c per unit for agencies. The agency charges the client 140c per unit. If the direct client were to hire the freelancer at his normal for-direct-clients rate of 100c per unit, the direct client saves 28%, and the translator earns 30% extra.

This math is based on what I remember from past discussions. In general, freelancers are willing to take about a 30% cut in their direct-client rates in exchange for not having to hunt down clients themselves. In general, high-quality agencies charge their clients about double what they pay their freelancers.


[Edited at 2016-10-02 09:52 GMT]


 

Eric Stone
Taiwan
Local time: 04:01
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, Oct 2, 2016

Samuel Murray wrote:

Well, everyone's situation is different, but here's an example of the math: A freelancer may charge 100c per unit for direct clients, and 70c per unit for agencies. The agency charges the client 140c per unit. If the direct client were to hire the freelancer at his normal for-direct-clients rate of 100c per unit, the direct client saves 28%, and the translator earns 30% extra.

This math is based on what I remember from past discussions. In general, freelancers are willing to take about a 30% cut in their direct-client rates in exchange for not having to hunt down clients themselves. In general, high-quality agencies charge their clients about double what they pay their freelancers.


[Edited at 2016-10-02 09:52 GMT]


Yes, this is exactly what I mean - I didn't explain it in the original post, but I think it's relatively common knowledge that you get more money going after direct clients and the clients pay less too for just this reason.

In any event, still very curious what others have to say about my original question.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:01
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
If "freelancer" is negative, just avoid using the word Oct 2, 2016

As with everything else in this business (and probably in any business every practised, including "the oldest one in the world"), you simply need to emphasise your advantages and play down any potential disadvantages to get the interest of potential clients. Imagine Readers A to B want translations into loads of languages, plus loads of DTP and needs subtitling, transcription and voice-overs as well as occasional in-person interpreting: they should see that many of those things are missing from your marketing, but they don't need to find "I don't do this, I don't do that" either, they'll just go elsewhere. Reader C, on the other hand, wants text translations in only one pair and only in his subject area: he should find positive answers to all his needs.

You specialise in what he wants. You'll maintain consistency and get to know exactly the way his business functions. You'll build memories, glossaries and a style guide (even if all three are just held in your head). You'll get to know the idiosyncrasies of the way he works. Communications overheads can reduce dramatically over time as you both learn to read between the lines. He won't have to explain the same thing over and over again, the way he would every time the agency changes to a different PM. Nor will he find the inconsistencies of style and quality of translation he'd get every time the PM uses a different translator.

Then all you need to convert that interest into a sale is to offer a good price too. And you have a real advantage over an agency there as you don't have the overheads, as you said. But IMHO the price should be the cherry on the cake, an afterthought almost - "and you get all this for only...!". Let the agencies position themselves on the basis of price, a.k.a.. the "best" rate.


 

Eric Stone
Taiwan
Local time: 04:01
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 2, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:

As with everything else in this business (and probably in any business every practised, including "the oldest one in the world"), you simply need to emphasise your advantages and play down any potential disadvantages to get the interest of potential clients. Imagine Readers A to B want translations into loads of languages, plus loads of DTP and needs subtitling, transcription and voice-overs as well as occasional in-person interpreting: they should see that many of those things are missing from your marketing, but they don't need to find "I don't do this, I don't do that" either, they'll just go elsewhere. Reader C, on the other hand, wants text translations in only one pair and only in his subject area: he should find positive answers to all his needs.

You specialise in what he wants. You'll maintain consistency and get to know exactly the way his business functions. You'll build memories, glossaries and a style guide (even if all three are just held in your head). You'll get to know the idiosyncrasies of the way he works. Communications overheads can reduce dramatically over time as you both learn to read between the lines. He won't have to explain the same thing over and over again, the way he would every time the agency changes to a different PM. Nor will he find the inconsistencies of style and quality of translation he'd get every time the PM uses a different translator.

Then all you need to convert that interest into a sale is to offer a good price too. And you have a real advantage over an agency there as you don't have the overheads, as you said. But IMHO the price should be the cherry on the cake, an afterthought almost - "and you get all this for only...!". Let the agencies position themselves on the basis of price, a.k.a.. the "best" rate.


Excellent advice, thank you! Even helped me articulate some of the advantages I was wanting to advertise that were on the tip of my tongue.


 


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