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Video Business to Business: How to Work With Outsourcers

Creative vision
and technical know-how are a given for any good video producer. But client
management skills are also important for success. In this series, you’ll learn
about the three main types of clients who hire for video services—The Outsourcer, The Doer, and The Designer—and how to best help them
achieve their goals. We begin with The

Who is The

The Outsourcer is
just that—someone who hires outside of their organization for their video
needs. They’re typically savvy business people who understand the power of
video and want to incorporate it into their marketing efforts. They might own a
restaurant, run a tour company, or head up the communications department of a government agency.

Outsourcers are
good at what they do, but they know their limits. They don’t have the time,
equipment, expertise, or desire to create video themselves. Instead, they prefer
to hand over the whole project to someone uniquely qualified to do the job for

Woman at desk hands over paper
Photo by dolgachov/Photodune

The Outsourcer often
knows very little about the video production process and how much it costs.
They’re willing to pay for high quality and service, but may have unrealistic
expectations about what they can get for their budget.

Because their
knowledge of video production is limited, the Outsourcer may have trouble
communicating exactly what they want. They don’t speak the lingo and may not
even know what you’re capable of creating for them.

What is The
Outsourcer Looking For?

The Outsourcer is
looking for a problem solver. They need video. They don’t really care what kind
of hoops you have to jump through to make it happen—they just want to know how
much it’s going to cost, how long it will take, and an assurance that you can
deliver a high quality video on time and on budget.

Cameraman gives thumbs up
Photo by innovatedc/Photodune

Outsourcers want
the end-to-end video experience handled for them. In the words of Captain Jean Luc
Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation,
they want you to “make it so.”

For example, one of my clients owns an orthotics business. She hired me to create a series of short videos for her website that would answer frequently asked questions about various foot conditions and orthotic solutions. She has neither the time nor expertise to record and edit video herself, and prefers to outsource the work to a video professional.

The Outsourcer is looking for someone they can trust and rely on for guidance in all things video related. They expect that person to take the lead and make recommendations on everything from creative vision to storytelling technique to video length.

How to Land a Job With The Outsourcer

Outsourcing work is always a leap of faith, but that’s especially true with creative industries. When you buy a car, for example, you can see (and even test drive) exactly what you’ll get. With video, The Outsourcer may not be able to envision what the end product will look like.

Because the Outsourcer
has a limited knowledge of what’s involved in video production, trust is a huge
factor. They need to know that you have the skills and experience to handle their
project from start to finish, with minimal effort on their part.

Build a Solid

One of the keys to
establishing trust with The Outsourcer is a solid portfolio. Put examples of
your best video work online, either on your own website or on a YouTube or
Vimeo channel, so The Outsourcer can get a feel for your creative style and
technical capabilities.

Computer screen showing video
Photo by Cindy Burgess

Be sure to point
out any videos that might be similar to what The Outsourcer wants, or that
you’ve done for the same (or a similar) industry.

Gather Customer

The Outsourcer also
wants to know that you can work independently, handle obstacles quickly and efficiently, meet
deadlines, stay within budget, and be a pleasure to work with to boot.

This is where client
testimonials come in. Social proof is extremely powerful. Recommendations
from past clients will help cement your standing as a capable and reliable
video producer. A referral is like gold!

Thumbs up to Our Testimonials
Photo by Dave Dugdale/flickr

Finally, remember
that video production is pretty much a mystery to The Outsourcer. You need to communicate
clearly how the whole process works, be frank about what it costs, and reassure
The Outsourcer that you’ll be there for them every step of the way.

How to Deliver for
The Outsourcer

In some ways, The
Outsourcer is the most enjoyable client to work with. Unlike The Doer and The
Designer, who usually have very specific ideas in mind, The Outsourcer wants
you to take the lead. This can mean a lot of creative freedom.

But working with
The Outsourcer is also time-consuming. They need to be educated about the video
production process and its associated costs, and will likely have a lot of questions along the way.

Clearly and Openly

The key to success
is communication. Think of your first meeting with The Outsourcer as a
fact-finding mission—with information flowing both ways. You want to nail down
what kind of video they’re looking for, and The Outsourcer wants to know what’s
required of them to make it happen.

Cards with question marks
Image by geralt/Pixabay

During this
pre-production meeting, ask lots of questions. For example:

  • what do they want to accomplish with their video?
  • who is their audience?
  • what key messages do they want to get across?

Ask if they can send you links
to videos they like as a reference. Be open and receptive to their ideas. Remember, The Outsourcer doesn’t always know how to describe exactly what they
want—they’re looking to you for guidance.

Make a Detailed Work Plan

Once you’ve
determined The Outsourcer’s video needs, prepare a detailed work plan
with production milestones. Create a storyboard to help them envision the finished video. On the day of the shoot, walk them through what’s going to happen. And have fun!

Working with The Outsourcer requires patience and good
communication skills, but deliver a high quality video on time and on budget
and you could very well become their lifelong go-to video expert.