Speak Your Client’s Language

This simple title covers three topics.

Speak Your Client’s Business Language

Today I bid on a project at Freelancer. The project deals with writing copy for a web site for a particular type of business in a particular country. I fine-tuned my bid to highlight issues relevant to his business.

I could have used my standard bidding text for this type of work, but that did not deal with this client’s specific business. He may not have understood the jargon involved in copywriting for web sites. I hope he appreciates the effort to make my bid meaningful for his context.

Some people want to focus on deliverable items; others on time and schedule; yet others fixate on cost. Be sure you address the issues relevant to your client.

Speak Your Client’s Computer Language

Another client has sent two files by e-mail that my Microsoft PC could not read. He easily reformatted the “.pages” file into Word’s “.doc” format. However, I could not find a program to deal with a “.caf” file. After a cursory search, I told him it was a problem. He sent me a link to the official Apple site for a copy of Quicktime for Windows. After a download and installation, I now can listen to his audio message.

Let’s not argue about the fact that Google did not recommend Quicktime. I admit, I searched for a “conversion” program for “.caf” rather than a “player” program. From a business perspective, it is far better to support the client’s files than to complain about them.

Speak Your Client’s Human Language

This is either the most difficult or most obvious item in today’s list of tips. Obviously both of the above clients speak English.

But the first prospective customer is British as far as I know. I selected some words with that in mind. The other client is an American from the south, plain-spoken but well educated. I use a different “tone” as well as vocabulary when writing for people from these different countries.

Some nationalities expect more “polite” words, such as “if you please”. Others want to be brisk and brusque, so as to save time and maximize efficiency.


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