Thursday, 3 March 2011

Clients DO need you

You must have heard dozens of stories praising working with direct clients, you might as well have read some articles and blog posts instructing you firstly how to find a client (meaning: how to make them find you), and then, when you get hold of one, how to pamper and keep them until death do you part.
You still might not be convinced whether this is a good idea to work directly with a client, thinking that doing business is not your strong point and that you probably will not handle the pressure of actually closing the deal. Well, if that’s the case then perhaps this little story of mine will encourage you to change your mind.
As usual, it all started with a phone call, which already is a success; it means that someone actually found me and got interested enough to dial my number and ask for the service. So, long story short, a lady on the other end of the telephone line asked politely if I could do a translation...hold your breath, this is the best bit – of a coursebook! Yes, I did get excited, yet I managed to stay calm and continue the conversation in a professional manner. Then it turned out that there is a tiny hindrance which could make the whole deal fall through. The thing was that the client had a hard copy of the book and as she lives hundreds of miles away, I could neither see the content of the book nor its volume, which meant that providing a quote was somewhat impossible. At this point, I had some doubts as to whether I will get this job but I offered to do some research and possibly find an online version of the book. I have to say that although I wanted to close the deal, my main drive was to appear as a professional and please the client. I dare to say that this might have been the reason why she suggested that I order the book online and that she would cover all the costs. Ok, no big deal right but bear in mind that the client still wasn’t sure whether she would use my services as she didn’t know the cost of the translation. Moreover, she had also contacted other suppliers for a quote (no surprise here, as this is what a reasonable client would do). After I received the ordered coursebook, I instantly contacted the client with a quote, did a short test translation and there I was happy as a lark with an agreement to do the translation!
Believe me or not but as much as I was happy about getting the job, client’s satisfaction was even more rewarding. And what a lesson this was! What I have learnt is that clients do need us, and so long as we treat them professionally and with care, get in touch, provide them with a quote quickly and listen to their suggestions, they will be ready to go that extra mile in order to use your services. Even if there are some hindrances along the way, they can always be resolved, provided that your ultimate target is not only to quickly cash in on a deal but also to satisfy the client. At the end of the day, you never know when they will need you again.

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