Two Best Practices for Saving Time in Conversations with Prospects. Part 1

“What is your budget?” That’s how we are sometimes forced to start a conversation with a potential client.

“Why is your price so high?” That’s what we often hear from potential clients.

This post provides best practices around these two questions, which are very common in our sales funnel. These best practices promote effective communication, saving time and energy for everyone involved. Let’s start by looking at a few recent examples.

Recent Examples

A representative of a Moscow-based construction company calls and wants us to translate their website. They specifically want to know whether we are located outside in Moscow. We prepare a quote, send it, confirm receipt over the phone, and never hear back from them. Our mistake is not asking about the budget upfront.

Another Moscow-based company calls and wants us to do a monolingual proofreading of a large typeset document. The job has to be delivered “yesterday” because the prospect already slipped behind schedule after the end client had rejected the low-quality work submitted by the previous vendor. We offer an extremely tight deadline, a huge discount, and our 20+ years of experience with monolingual Russian proofreading, but the prospect never gets back to us. Our mistake is not asking about the budget upfront.

A local individual requests a quote for a Russian to English translation of very specialized medical records requiring OCR. We ask a question probing for the budget details, but only get a vague answer. Next, we spend time on OCR and preparing a query. The prospect says the price is too high and asks why. Our mistake: although we did probe for the budget details, we didn’t have the perseverance to press for a straight answer at the outset.

What is Your Budget?

Our best practice around the price expectations is quite straightforward. Whenever a potential client, especially from Russia, contacts us, and we have a gut feeling that low cost is the primary concern, we talk budget before anything else. Since our prospect’s price expectations are often two or three times less than our best rate, discussing any further details makes no sense whatsoever and is a waste of time for both parties. Our rates are not the highest in our combination (you can compare them to the Russian translation prices offered by a software localization provider Amanuens, for example), but they are definitely not the lowest, either, which makes it impossible for us to accommodate any requests involving bargain-basement prices.

Since we are located outside of Moscow, this best practice has proven to be particularly appropriate with Moscow-based prospects. People tend to assume—and often rightfully so—that because Moscow is the largest and richest city in Russia, the translation agencies there have some of the nation’s highest prices. The next assumption is that by engaging a translator outside of Moscow, they can get the same quality at a lower price. While this may be true with other Russian translation services providers—or vendors of other services, for that matter—this definitely doesn’t apply to us. So, whenever a Moscow-based prospect calls, we start by talking budget.

This post is continued in part 2.

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Roman Mironov
Roman Mironov
CEO & Founder

As the founder of Velior, Roman has had the privilege of being able to turn his passion for languages into a business. He has over 15 years of experience in the translation industry. Roman has helped dozens of clients increase sales by making their products appealing for speakers of other languages.