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Quality over price: how to shift your client’s priorities

As a Sales Manager for a translation agency, every time I get a quote request for a translation, the usual questions I get are- ‘How much will it cost?’ and ‘How long will it take?’. In the service sector, when potential clients come to you with these fixed criteria, it can be difficult to convince them to shift the focus towards the quality of your services, rather than simply the price. So how do you communicate the real value of your services in your initial interactions with the customer?

Here are some suggestions from a sales perspective:

Ask questions

When you get an enquiry, ask questions about how the translated text will be used.

Knowing the end purpose will certainly help you to decide which service to offer. For instance, if the document is for internal use only, you might recommend a basic translation service. But for more complex documents meant for external stakeholders, revision services would be better to ensure the document is thoroughly checked for accuracy.

For your client, asking these questions will be a reminder that their translated material is as important as the source. The more questions you ask, the more insight they gain into their translation needs and they may become more receptive to your proposal.

Testimonials and recommendations

Just as Amazon customers choose products with raving reviews, customers in the market for translation can also be tempted with recommendations and positive references. It is always a good idea to share what your existing or past clients say about you. Customers might choose your services over the competition, even if you’re not the cheapest, because they read a very positive testimonial on your website, you never know!

As best practice, always ask your existing clients to recommend you to others.

Keep your communication short and to the point

Remember, your clients might not have the time or the patience to go through lengthy presentations, so keep it short, simple and powerful!


Keep track of the keywords that have worked for you in the past, such as native translator, project manager, translation memory etc. When something has clicked with your clients before, remember to use it again in your next conversation!

Highlight the impacts of translation

Sure, it’s funny to read hilarious translation mistakes on menus and signboards, but explain how damaging it could be for your customers brand if one of their product labels was wrongly translated! A company can even lose its entire business oversees if they don’t focus on the quality of their translations and instead put poorly written or culturally offensive content on an international website.

Follow up

Even if you put all these tips into practice, many customers will still go for the cheapest quote, but try to build a relationship ­ gather feedback, connect on social media and send newsletters. Chances are, the next time they need a translation they will remember your diligence and come back to you!

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