You may be able to get away with charging a premium price if your services are special and customized. In reality, you may actually only be providing your clients the generic, run-of-the-mill-service—or something very close to it. However, advertising it as something that is special for them automatically makes it appealing. This is something that’s easy enough to do in the language industry, as every service you provide will be different. No two translation jobs are ever the same.
Daily Tip for Growing your Language Business: Give your current clients a reason to come back to you
In all of your efforts trying to gain new clients, you may have forgotten about those with you now. Returning clients are as important as new ones—and, many times, even more valuable. Make them feel in control, even if it is just the illusion of control, while you hold the reins. Reward loyalty with discounts and specials, or provide some sort of incentive. Most importantly, treat clients with the utmost respect and attentiveness. Even if the finished product was not 100%, excellent customer service is often enough to keep clients wanting more.
In a recent article written by Kevin Kruse, he claimed that June is the best month to maximize team performance. Why? The answer lies in sales team reviews.
The current norm in most language service providers is to rely on quarterly or year-end reviews to evaluate their team’s performance. Why the wait? Kruse argues that this system of putting off sales team evaluation could greatly be improved upon by making these reviews more frequent.
Keep your finger on the pulse. Managers that measure weekly, if not daily, activity always know where their team is in relation to hitting goals and thus can be more effective in identifying their team members’ strengths and weaknesses. Managers, try focusing not only on performance and sales goals but also on the development of your team members. Research shows that personal development and career growth are extremely important for long-term success.
Grow your employees to grow yourself. It may seem that a change in job title, coupled with a raise or a step up the ladder is a great way to motivate an employee. However, research shows that they are much more driven by tackling challenges and witnessing their own progress. As a manager, you can foster this growth by coaching them; teaching them new things and helping them sharpen their skill. In return, you get a nice set of proficient and experienced employees, adapted perfectly to your specific needs.
Kruse’s answer to both maximizing performance and nurturing this motivation through growth is a “mid-year one-on-one career path meeting.”
Halfway through the year is an ideal time for a one-on-one meeting with each member of your sales team. Late June just so happens to also be at the end of a quarter as well. Take this time as an opportunity to connect with your employees and go over your business goals and performance. In addition, it is also at this time that you should talk about their larger career-oriented concerns. Talk about matters such as the following:
- Can your employee accomplish his or her personal or professional goals within your business?
- What skills do and don’t you have in order to accomplish these goals?
Ongoing coaching. Ultimately, it is the employee’s job to assure that they attain their goals. Your job as a manager is to supervise this, and offer help where needed. There are many ways you can assist your employees on their career path. These may include referring them to a mentor within or outside of the company, or proving them with resources, such as books or videos, from which they can learn. Consider placing an employee in situations such as meetings or networking events (even though he or she may not be helpful) that will teach new skills, or introduce the employee to new connections.
Continuous check-ins are ideal, though not always practical. For this reason, let June be the place to start career-coaching. Be as formal or informal as needed, you’ll still get positive results. Don’t wait until the end of the year for this, send out those calendar invites pronto!
Daily Tip for Growing Your Language Business: Before your tree can grow tall, it needs some strong roots
What this means is that you need a solid foundation. So many businesses appear to materialize out of thin air, leaving us wondering, “Who are these people?” Make yourself known by having a reliable and firm online presence. Then, think of a way to have your clients come to you—rather than your being the one having to seek them out. You could do this by offering something irresistible on your website, but for a cost—their name and email address. That way, without even trying, you’ll slowly build a database of people whom you can contact about your services.
And if you don’t think that there is anything necessarily unique about your language business—maybe you think that you’re just a translator—create something. There is no shortage of translators in the marketplace, at least not in the most popular languages, and clients have an ever-increasing amount of people from whom they can choose. For a clever way to differentiate yourself from all the others, find and show off what makes you unique. This is the underlying concept of branding and something that, if embraced, can bring your language business new successes.
Daily Tip for Growing Your Language Business: Good job! You got your name out there and have met a bunch of potential clients. Now contact them again.
You probably already know how important it is to network. Meeting new people in and related to the language sector can help you gain new clients and spread the word about your services. However, nothing is going to come from these acquaintances if you never follow up with them. Make sure you keep an organized database with the people you have met, when you met them, and where. That way you can efficiently shoot them an email just to let them know that you remember them and as a way to say, “Hey, this is my business, and I’m right here!” As important as this is, it is something that can be easily overlooked because of how busy you might be with other business tasks. Don’t put this off, as this is a habit that makes future business opportunities available—and that can be as important as getting your present work completed.
Daily Tip for Growing Your Language Business: In attracting clients, it is immeasurably helpful to be seen
Be a socialite in the language industry by frequenting a variety of professional social gatherings, such as conferences, events, and meet-up groups. Even visiting the most obscure functions can help you gain clients—and diverse ones, at that. Networking is not only profitable in professional environments with people from the language sector like you, but you can also gain clients almost anywhere. That person you met a couple of months ago never knew that he or she would be looking for a language service until now, and you are the first person who comes to mind! Laziness may be the number one reason why you are having problems getting clients. Despite the fact that you have all the marketing and sales tools and strategies memorized, you still find yourself without business. So, get up and get out there and immerse yourself into public environments. Actually put into practice all those tools you have in your toolbox. Be seen and be social to get your name known.
Daily Tip for Growing Your Language Business: Are you sure that you are completely prepared? Yes? Well, you’re wrong
You are never 100% ready in each and every situation. There is always room for improvement, even in situations where you may feel that there isn’t. Tackle your meetings and tasks from different perspectives, and don’t be too confident. You don’t want to come off as arrogant. Don’t be too nestled into your plans; allow room for change. Plan for the unexpected, and be ready for anything. You never know when someone will throw you a curveball.
The best way to market yourself does not involve talking about your language services, state-of-the-art technology, CAT tools, how “great” your quality is, how many languages you translate into, how many degrees, credentials, or dictionaries you have, or how many years of experience you have. It is also not about the features or benefits that your services may offer. In fact, it does not even involve translation services at all—not your unique selling points or your competitive advantages over other LSPs. Instead, the best way to market yourself is to effectively communicate that what you offer your prospects and your clients will change their lives for the better.
The average language buyer doesn’t give a darn about language translation, desktop publishing, editing, CAT tools, etc., except when your services can help them. People basically only care about getting a favorable answer to their question, “what’s in it for me?” Show your potential and present clients how doing business with you will make them richer, happier, more competitive, wiser, healthier, etc.; only then will they be interested.
Create a message that shows them this. And while it is quite important that you direct your message to your target market, it is even more important to figure out what to say and how to say it so people listen and are moved to buy. You should spend enough time getting your message right, so it will persuade others to want what you are offering. Once you have this perfected, you need to repeat that message consistently, so people will hear it, remember it, and act upon it.
David Beckham is not only a fantastic soccer player but also an internationally recognized “household” brand by even those who know nothing of the sport. While there are many amazing soccer players who are also notoriously good-looking, what was different about Beckham that made him stand out? Not to mention, how has he managed to remain so famous for so long, even after his move from Europe to the United States? David Beckham’s characteristic brand was not created overnight and was also not accidental. So how did he do it?
An interesting segment of Beckham’s career was his decision to sign with the LA Galaxy, taking him from Europe to the United States. This move was a big culture shock for both him and his fans, and required him to make adjustments and adaptations to his brand. The culture difference between Europe and the United States is bigger than many would expect, and for Beckham this meant redefining his image.
How Beckham used his brand to make soccer a more popular sport in America
Interestingly enough, Beckham did not choose to move to Los Angeles as a last resort. He carefully chose this location because here, soccer was not the number one sport. He envisioned “taking soccer to another level” in the United States and made doing so his goal. However, after living and working in the U.S. for some time, he found that he would have to adapt to the local ways of life to promote soccer in this country. The reason behind this lay deeply rooted in American culture, where celebrities enjoy a significant amount of public attention, so much so that his success as a first-class player was not enough.
Beckham was ultimately able to make soccer more popular in the U.S. by using his celebrity status to draw attention to the sport. In America, Beckham is famous for being fabulously good-looking, British, a great soccer player, and for having a big personality. His fame as an individual, rather than his soccer skills, gave the sport the recognition he wanted.
What can we learn from this? It is important to recognize the differences in values across the world. This can not be stressed enough, as cultural differences can change the way you and your brand are perceived. Become aware of the norms and values of your market, and then bring attention to your brand attributes that are in alignment with them. This strategy worked for David Beckham and his dreams for soccer in America, and it can also work for you.
Daily Tip for Growing Your Language Business: Be aware of the etiquette of doing business with someone who doesn’t necessarily want to be your client
This client may be someone who is purchasing from you because you are the only available provider of a certain language, or because you offer the best value. Respect them. You are doing business directly with the client now, not his or her business. Make that individual feel welcome; be friendly and polite. Make that client feel trusted by giving him or her decision-making power instead of just saying, “Well, you have no choice.” Always let your client know what is going on, and treat him or her as you would any other client.
Daily Tip for Growing Your Language Business: Don’t crumble under the pressure of a client’s deadline
Deadlines create time limits and stress to get things done. Your clients know this and use this knowledge to their advantage when trying to get you to surrender on their terms. Don’t be afraid that you might lose your business with someone because you have been given a difficult ultimatum that you can’t meet. Before giving a client a straight answer, tell them that you have to go back and check your schedule or run some calculations. If you come back with an answer that is unfavorable to your client, it will come across as much more concrete and legitimate. Take charge of your terms, and don’t be afraid to give a client a forceful “no” if he or she tries to manipulate your rates or due dates in ways that hurt you. Draw attention to the quality of your work, and stress that your terms are necessary for things to get done properly. Do not allow buyers’ tactics to control your business.
This article was originally published in the May 2013 edition of the ATA Chronicle.
So, you have chosen to be a translator? You have ﬁnished school, compiled your transcripts, and joined ATA. You consider yourself to be highly skilled and quality conscious. You are motivated, energized, and excited to be a part of connecting the world through translation. Sounds great, now what? It is time to build your business.
Without experience, referrals, or clients, how do you market yourself? First, there is not a secret sauce or silver bullet, there are not any short cuts, or easy ways to fast-track your business. One proven way to being a successful translator can be found in this formula:
Proficiency x Activity = Success
It may sound simple, but it is anything but simple. If it were, every translator would have a thriving, successful business. Always remember, before you can be a great translator you have to be proﬁcient at getting clients.
Let’s look at how to become proﬁcient. As the world of translation becomes more and more competitive you have to be able to stand out from the crowd. Companies ﬁnd value in specialists. For example, do not just focus on an industry. Specialize! Find an industry niche and become an expert! Show value! Because there is NO value (or money) in being a jack of-all-trades. Once you have identiﬁed your niche, then you have to get active. Be creative with your marketing activities. Here are some ideas: submit articles to your target industry’s publications on how translation affects their business; blog about how translations are used in your target niche; or ﬁnd an association to join and volunteer to contribute to its newsletter. And do not wait for the phone to ring—reach out to your target customers and share your passion for helping them solve a problem. Finally, you will have to submit lots of samples (and, being a newbie, probably unpaid samples).
But being an expert in your niche will help prospects overlook your lack of experience. Just remember, if it were easy, everyone would be successful.
In addition to having a respected reputation, you also want to come across as trustworthy to those who have never heard of your language business. Make sure that your business is accessible and “pops up” when looked for on a search engine. Create a website, blog or electronic portfolio, with references, credentials, and testimonials. In addition, if a phone call with a potential client shows that he or she is hesitant to proceed, make them feel safe by offering an appointment for a face-to-face meeting (if feasible) and by being patient and gentle. Many times potential clients will turn away from services that appear unorganized, unprofessional or scattered. Make your business look legitimate by coming across as clean, professional-looking and organized, and your client will expect results.
Daily Tip for Growing Your Language Business: Loyalties can end up hurting you. Let go of any that are unprofitable
If your current clients are taking up so much of your time and effort that business growth is not a feasible goal, then it is time to let those clients go. Sometimes these are friends or long-term clients with whom you have certain loyalties. However, if your business with them is ultimately interfering with your interests, you may want to re-evaluate your relationship with them. If you happen to be doing business with a respected firm, you may find yourself in a similar situation. However, many times the seductive appeal of a distinguished name on your client list is not worth more than the profits you could be making elsewhere.
Daily Tip for Growing Your Language Business: There is a difference between your business plans and expectations. Learn to keep them separate
Consider the scenario where lately you haven’t been seeing any real growth in your language business and don’t expect there to be a significant change anytime soon. Not to mention that the current economic circumstances are unfavorable. Your business goals most likely include growth and prosperity, but clearly you are not expecting this. Small business failures are commonly caused by the deadly combination of business goals and business expectations. When the two are allowed to mingle, fears of failure can creep in, and the positive-feedback cycle of the self-fulfilling prophecy can make these fears come true. Even if your goals are outrageous, careful planning, combined with hope and baby steps, can help you get there. The odds in favor of your failure will only increase if you believe in them.
This is definitely an obvious tip, but one that is sometimes overlooked. Potential clients have endless language services to choose from. If someone remembers yours as rude or unpleasant in any way, news of this will spread more quickly than you would believe. This is becoming increasingly true with the help of social media and the Internet.
A Daily Email with Valuable and Practical Tips to Growing Your Language Business.
Latitudes is pleased to announce the launching of the Growing Your Language Business Daily Tips, an email with tips that can help you attract more clients, increase your revenue, get selling skills and strategies for marketing and branding, and much more. These emails will enable you to start your working day with engaging and interesting set of tips that will take only a minute to read but will build into a great collection of valuable information.
Sign up for the Growing Your Language Business Daily Tips email and you’ll receive a new tip in your inbox every weekday. You can expect four to five fresh tips each week!
To subscribe, simply click here.
How is it that some people seem to capture and hold an audience so well, sometimes for even the most boring of subjects? While imagining that your listeners are all naked might work for you, there are much better tricks to remember when you want to give a captivating presentation. Keeping these tips in the forefront of your mind will help your speech every time, especially in the special situation where your audience is one of many backgrounds and, as a result, has varying expectations.
Things to remember when speaking publicly. The ultimate goal of your presentation is to share your information in a manner that your audience will understand and remember. To achieve this, it is important to keep your listeners interested in what you are saying so they will be totally absorbed in your words.
- Make your presentation a story. Everyone loves stories, which are by nature easy to remember. Incorporating a plot with characters and personalities will spice up your speech, especially if it´s related to your place of origin or upbringing in a different culture.
- Involve your audience. When speaking in front of a room of many cultures, or an audience whose background is different from your own, your words may be interpreted in ways other than you intended. By allowing room for feedback and incorporating the listener, you can measure how your message is being received and thus make appropriate adjustments.
- Stay genuine. Honesty is one of the most important virtues around the globe. It is a value that consistently cuts through cultural barriers. People are keen on dishonesty and, if they sense even the slightest bit of insincerity, you will lose all credibility and listener interest.
- Don’t impress. While this may seem counter-intuitive, the fact of the matter is that most people don’t care about your awards and certifications. Carefully choose your words and actions so that you aren’t implying that you are better than your audience in any way. Your listeners will only absorb your words if they feel that they are being respected, not contested.
There isn’t one perfect way to give a good presentation. Ultimately, what will define the success of your presentation is not necessarily how well you gave it. More important is how your audience interprets your message and what they choose to do with it. When all is said and done, the ultimate success of your presentation lies in your audience and the impact that your message has on them.
From my Personal Branding Across Cultures Column: The Gender of Culture: How it May Affect Your Brand
An interesting and notable attitude change that has been occurring in the United States in the last century has been that of the roles of men and women. Moreover, because of the strong influence that the U.S. has over the culture of the rest of the world, similar trends can be found internationally. In other societies, products and services once marketed for a specific gender are becoming increasingly gender-neutral as the social roles of men and women become less defined. more…
- Remember that the prospective companies YOU are trying to meet are spending tens of thousands of dollars on booths, travel, entertainment, etc. to meet THEIR prospective clients. So, in everything you do, be respectful of that and you will have a better experience.
- NEVER go to booths to prospect on the first day or in the mornings. This is prime time for those exhibitors to see THEIR prospects, and the last thing they want (and you want) is to be talking to them as they see one of their prospects walk by. In that situation, one of two things will happen: 1) they will cut you off and greet their prospect, leaving you standing alone looking silly, or 2) which is even worse, they will keep talking to you as their prospect walks by but will now have developed a resentment towards you for making them miss an opportunity.
- Do not be a bag grabber. Don’t go grabbing their swag or give-aways. After all, those materials cost money and are for their prospects. Definitely pick up brochures, especially ones that have global addresses, and as many business cards as you can. Business cards should be the goal—a minimum of 25 cards a day for big shows!
- Learn as much as you can about the exhibitors and sponsors weeks before you even leave for the show. Create a target list of companies and notate why you want to speak to them (global footprint, international brand, global products, etc.).
- On the first day walk the floor and circle your target companies’ booth locations on the floor map. You will use this when it’s time for you to stop by booths.
- Learn about all the after-hour social events. THESE are your BEST opportunities, because, if you don’t have a booth, the next best place to see a lot of people is at these social gatherings. You will need to have your elevator pitch down, but PLEASE don’t say “we’re a translation company that has 140 language pairs.” Rather, understand who you are talking to and customize your value statement, i.e., “We provide language services that help our clients effectively communicate with customers, partners and employees globally,” or “We help companies effectively execute their globalization strategy as well as reach non-English speakers domestically.” Nine out of ten times they will go “huh?” What does that mean? Then you can share more about translation. Having a compelling elevator message is crucial in social situations, but DO NOT pitch people. Talk about wine, food or sports but not translation—unless you are asked. Remember, you can’t sell anyone in these environments; you need to stay focused on the goal: contact information. Don’t stay at social functions past 11 P.M.; nothing good happens on the road after that! And be on the floor or at the breakfast functions 15 minutes before they start.
- Learn about presentations and demonstrations being given, and pick a few to go to during the mornings, especially the first day when you have down time.
- There are a few key indicators as to when to start your prospecting. The last hour of each day work your map. It’s ok to stop by booths when the traffic is light. If the aisles are clear, that is your time. It’s important to make notes on the business cards and check off the booth on your map.
- The final afternoon (or the last few hours) of the conference, if people are breaking down their booths and you’re running behind, you have to act fast. The last day is prime prospecting time. Hopefully, you have walked the floor several times, and you have your plan mapped out as to how you will have these much-anticipated discussions with your target prospects. And there is a good chance you have seen some of them at the social events. If so, the best intro is, “Weren’t you at___? I liked it (or I hated it) because___.” Then you follow up with the $100,000 question: “Maybe you can help me (people do like to help other people). Our company provides language service that help our clients effectively communicate with customers, partners and employees globally.” Or “We help companies effectively execute their globalization strategy and reach non-English speakers domestically, and YOUR company has been on my list for some time. WHO WOULD I TALK TO ABOUT HOW YOUR COMPANY MEETS THOSE NEEDS TODAY”? They probably won’t know but may offer to find out and ask for your card. Give it to them, but YOU HAVE TO GET THEIR CARD as well. As soon as you get their card, it’s time to leave and go on to the next booth. But remember to write down as much info as possible, i.e., TT Joe on 4/5/13, 2pm, follow up for contact. (I also like to add personal info, such as sex, age, role, years with company.)
- Of course, the delivery of any of this personal contact is key. Try not to come across as being “salesy.” Be genuine when you ask them about what they do at their respective company. People love to talk about themselves. Find out what their job, role and business unit objectives are, and how long they have been there (someone who has been there 5+ years is a better resource than someone who has been there 5 months). Don’t be overly personal or talkative; ask questions but let THEM talk. And please, whatever you do, DON’T get into industry speak! No one cares about TMS, CMS, translation memory, or what languages you can support. If it ever gets that granular, then you can use case studies or real life examples about how you have helped other customers meet a need or overcome a problem. And remember, 15 MINUTES is the maximum time you should spend talking to one person.
- And lastly, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, have a game plan before you ever get on a plane. Strategize with team members and set goals. You need to maximize the return on investment for the trip.
- And it goes without saying: always look professional. It is always acceptable to be over-dressed but never underdressed!
If these 12 tips are followed, you will have a successful trade show as an attendee!
Planning an exit strategy is the most commonly overlooked consideration of an LSP’s business strategy. Failing to plan your exit strategy will make you work for 40 years and become a “penny stacker.” Your exit strategy plays a key role in determining the future direction of your language business. Failing to plan your exit strategy as part of your business goals may limit your options as a business owner as well as the ones of your heirs and successors.
“Love is in the air!” Today, we celebrate Valentine’s Day, the day on which we commemorate love and romance. People get to express their emotions and show how they feel about one another by doing something special for their loved ones. It’s interesting that we have to pick just one day out of the year to express our affection to those that we really care about. This demonstration of affection should be ongoing—every day, all the time, with all those special little things that touch the true essence of us: our feelings.
Throughout your entrepreneurial life, strive to create an emotional business experience with your clients. As a token of your appreciation, demonstrate to your clients that they are important to you by providing a caring and very professional experience, and always looking for ways to enrich that relationship. Entrepreneurs and small businesses have a huge advantage over big corporations. We can really add that human touch to our offering. We can easily create that “connection” that causes our clients to buy from us and stay with us for a long time.
People buy from people. And people like doing business with people who care about them. In business as in love we are always looking for ways to improve our relationships. Here are some basic principles that you can implement in your language services to get clients for life.
- Focus on your promise of value. Clearly state your unique selling proposition. We all have a set of unique values that we abide by. When you search for clients for life, look for those that will appreciate what you have to offer them. Look for the “chemistry.”
- Listen and communicate. When was the last time you asked your clients about their concerns, the issues they are facing in their business, why they buy from you, how satisfied they are with your services? Pay more attention to what is going on with your clients’ businesses and how their issues relate to you. Take immediate action to fix any areas of concern that may jeopardize the relationships.
- Forgive and be empathetic. As the business relationship grows, you get to know each other and trust is built. When you have a client that has been attentive to your needs, has a history of using your services, acknowledging your hard work and paying you on time, be sure to be there for that client in times of hardship. Nobody is exempt from making mistakes. However, if an uncomfortable situation becomes permanent, you should have an open conversation with your client to learn how you can work it out. Focus on the solution. Give it some time. If it does not improve, you may want to walk away.
- Nourish the relationship. Always look for ways to bring more benefit to your clients. You may need to learn a new skill or add a new piece of technology. Try to find value-added features that will enhance the relationship. Routines kill relationships. If your client sees that you are always looking to add value, the relationship will be strengthened, and it will be more difficult for your clients to “look for love” somewhere else.
- Be appreciative. Never take your clients for granted. Show gratitude for their loyalty and continuing business.
- Be committed. Tell your clients you are committed to the success of their businesses. You are committed to your clients’ success by always delivering on your promise of value. Also, be easily available to your clients. Never over promise and under deliver. Always avoid creating any disappointments for your clients. Your goal should always be to exceed your clients’ expectations.
- Be respectful and don’t cross any boundaries. Just because you are one of your client’s favorite vendors doesn’t mean you can take advantage of the relationship. Always be professional and respectful of your client’s time, needs and requirements. You can have disagreements but never allow your emotions to take over the situation. A relationship is a two-way street. So you should also set limits if your client tries to cross those boundaries with you.
- Avoid ultimatums. Always try to work together to address any issues. Avoid threats, ultimatums and any other coercive behavior. Instead, concentrate on building a solid foundation. If you are not happy with your client’s behavior, fire your client in a very polite way. Explain the reasons for the termination tactfully without any accusatory or snide language.
“It takes two to tango.” By applying these principles to your business and focusing more on the quality of your relationships than on the quantity, you will enjoy long-lasting and rewarding partnerships with your clients. They will appreciate your human touch and think of you first the next time they are in need of language services.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
There are so many sales methodologies and techniques out there. There are names and techniques for any type of selling you can imagine. There is value selling, complex selling, creative selling, solution selling, customer centric selling, compelling selling, no-bull selling, just to name a few. But what really works in the translation industry? Are there really any sustainable, proven methodologies? What process, technique, approach, style is better for this complex and very distinctive industry of language services?
After having studied, been certified and applied most of these approaches, techniques, and methodologies in the translation industry, I discovered that none of them really put the customer first. Instead, they are designed to benefit the sales person, and rarely do that effectively. These existing sales techniques and methodologies lack long-term processes and tactics to continually promote the customer’s success. The reason to me is simple: there isn’t a fast start sales program that works. You can’t learn how to sell in a 2-day seminar. It is NOT going to happen…to be successful in our industry you have to, without a doubt, put the customer first. And to put the customer first you have to completely change how you view your customers. Instead of seeing them as a transaction, or a win, think of then as a business partner.
If you were selling translation to a business partner…
- Wouldn’t you take the time to really understand what your business partner’s needs were? What he/she wanted to accomplish?
- Would you sell your business partner features he/she didn’t need?
- Wouldn’t you carefully consider the risk to your business partner if your solution didn’t work? What the downside might be?
- Wouldn’t you ask your business partner who else needed to participate in the discussions to fully understand the scope of the project?
- Wouldn’t you explain your product or services in a language easily understood rather than in complex “sales speak” or “translation terms”?
- Would you waste your business partner’s time with a 30-slide power point presentation of technical mumbo jumbo?
- Wouldn’t you be there with your business partner through the process to insure the project was going smoothly?
- Would you overcharge your business partner to make a quick buck?
- And would your business partner let you lose money? No, business partners would want you to make money too…just not too much!
- Wouldn’t you ask your business partners how they liked the service and get their feedback on how to make it better?
- And finally, wouldn’t you ask your business partner for referrals, and wouldn’t your business partner be ok with that?
THAT is what selling to a business partner would be like! So, what about you? Are you selling to business partners — working to add value to every project and build customer relationships? Or are you just trying to close the deal to make a quick buck?
by Marcela Jenney-Reyes
Have you ever walked into a small Latin or Asian market? If you have, you’re probably familiar with the immediate sense of rich culture (that may or may not be different from your own) that surrounds you. What is it about these places that give them this vivid genuine feeling? In this increasingly globalized and growingly uniform world it is still not difficult to find strong cultural links to foreign places. Read more
What makes you different from other translators? If you said “quality” or something like that, you are NOT attracting clients, you are not differentiating yourself. You are becoming part of the big “herd” of translators that are struggling to get work but are being forced to reduce their rates because their only differentiator is PRICE.
Quality does not sell! Quality is a given!
Stop claiming that you offer quality translation! It does NOT sell. If you are a professional translator, quality is a given! In the translation industry, where there are more options than ever, especially in certain language pairs, everyone demands quality from everyone they buy translation services from. Thus, quality is something you are expected to provide in exchange for the compensation you require for your language services. It is a “must” in order not to lose clients, but it is not a selling point.
And I have news for you: all of your competitors claim to provide quality services, even if you think or know that they don’t. Out of curiosity, go visit 10 different websites, either from translation agencies or translators, and count how many of them promote their services based on “quality.” How many did you find? Thus, you can see that quality is not a differentiator.
What’s your edge?
Marketing 101 teaches you that, in order to differentiate yourself from your competitors, you need to offer your clients something that is different. If every other translator is offering quality, what are you offering that is different? What’s your “edge”? What makes you unique and a “stand out” from other translators?
The role of branding
Have you thought about the impact you may have when you do things? What do you want people to think of when you network with them, sell to them, consult or help them, or when you come to them looking for business, a job, or whatever it is that you need? What is it you do that makes you, or your work, stand out in other people’s minds?
Whatever that stand-out factor is, it becomes part of your personal brand.
But where to start? How you brand yourself and your language services define what your edge is and how you demonstrate it to others. So, work on discovering and building on what makes you unique. Market yourself based on how you differentiate from your competition. Don’t copy or repeat the same “claims” that other translators are using to promote their services. Reassuring the quality of your translation services is indeed a great thing to do, but definitely not something to hinge your marketing strategy on.
You’re in the business of translation. Obviously, your primary focus is on your translation services, right? Wrong. Although this will take up a majority of your time, you also need to be working on the business end of things. You should spend as much time as you can in sales situations. This can be a phone call, in-person meetings, or even video conferences or emails where you can communicate with people and figure out what they need from you. If you’re always talking to people, you’re always increasing your chances of getting the sale and growing your business.
Find out the needs of your prospects by creating a list of well-planned questions that aren’t just straightforward and simple. Come up with persuasive questions that will teach you all about their situation and what their problems are. Make sure that you have them express the implications of not getting what they need, so that you know but also so that they are aware of your importance. Do a little bit of research about your potential clients to determine what they are going to need and how you can meet their objectives.
If you know how to satisfy your clients without them having to tell you directly and explicitly, you’re going to make a great impression. They will see that you really know what you’re doing in the translation business and that you care about your clients. There is so much that you can get from effective communication with your clients, but asking the right questions and putting yourself in constant sales situations is also important to your business.
It’s all about the client, and when you show them that’s what you care about, they’re sure to be impressed and will be much more likely to choose your language business for their translation needs.
Thursday, January 24 @ 11 AM EST
Do translators have a brand? You bet! Do you know what yours is? How can you make your translation work more visible, recognized and valued?
In today’s economy that standardizes processes, products and services, it is essential to differentiate and recognize the “value added” you bring to others through your services. The best way is to discover and communicate your brand. In a world where nobody is indispensable, having a personal brand makes others perceive you as a professional with unique and clear characteristics.
William Arruda, Personal Branding Guru, predicts each December the personal branding trends that will be of value to career-minded professionals like translators. Join us for this free 30-minute webinar and learn what trends translators should incorporate in their marketing strategy to increase their influence, name recognition and success!
Participants will receive a copy of William Arruda’s Personal Branding Trends for 2013!