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Contacting clients directly-- how can I go about it?
Thread poster: Jessie LN

Jessie LN
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 2, 2009

I was wondering how I could go about approaching clients directly. For example, I've seen a number of Spanish tourism websites that don't have an English version and I'd like to get in touch with them to see if my services could be of any interest. How can I sort of market myself to them without seeming pushy or critical?

Thanks for your help!

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-01-07 12:43 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two points Jan 2, 2009

miralaluna wrote:
I've seen a number of Spanish tourism websites that don't have an English version and I'd like to get in touch with them to see if my services could be of any interest.


Well, I think the key here is to contact the right people. I suspect sites without an English version are sites for smaller businesses where the owner of the business is also the person who commissions the web site. So your contact point would be that person. It may be a good idea to contact the web designer also, to get him on your side, to help convince the owner that a translation would be a good idea.

How can I sort of market myself to them without seeming pushy or critical?


You need to get out more. Different people have different personalities and temperaments and they respond differently to different approaches. Besides, a good sales person is pushy.

What I would do, is to create a brochure that explains why a bilingual site is better than a unilingual one. Write something that will convince the reader that he has a dire need for a bilingual web site.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Call them first Jan 2, 2009

I would call them first just to ascertain whether they have any interest. If they do, you can email them later with your contact details and offer a free translation test to show your qualities.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Should I stereotype or... Jan 2, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
...and offer a free translation test to show your qualities.


It could backfire. Suppose these places do get English visitors, what kind of English would the owners speak? Perfect English or Spanishified English? If the OP gives a sample of good English, would such an owner be able to recognise it as good English, especially if it sounds different from the English he always speaks to his English customers who generally seem impressed with his "good" English?

Instead of spending time on free translations, rather spend it on creating a good sales pitch.


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't agonize - just do it Jan 3, 2009

Working for clients is far more profitable than working for agencies. They pay much more, pay much more quickly, and give you much longer deadlines.

Don't agonize too much about how to approach somebody. Any approach is better than no approach. In general, avoid asking: 'Do you need a translator'. Instead, try asking: 'Do you know who is likely to want a translator'. In this way, you avoid putting people on the spot, and you are likely to get a wider range of suggestions.

Before deciding who to approach - try to get an idea of likely volumes. Phoning or visiting somebody in order to get a one-off job translating just three web pages is not likely to be a profitable use of your time.

I suggest you look locally. Despite the global nature of the internet, people still like to contract local people. Once you have some local clients, get out and meet them from time to time. You will be surprised how many clients can be introduced by other clients.

Good luck!


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Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:45
English to German
Agree Jan 9, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

I would call them first just to ascertain whether they have any interest. If they do, you can email them later with your contact details and offer a free translation test to show your qualities.


I completely agree with Tomás, because I tried that approach twice several years ago and I didn't get any responses at all! How frustrating. Either I contacted the wrong people or they weren't interested at all.

Annett


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Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 09:45
Japanese to English
You need to think about repeat business Jan 9, 2009

If you're going to go to the effort of marketing, you first need to think long term.

What if you do actually persuade a small business owner to let you translate their site? How much work will that represent? A week at the most? Even just a day or two?

When I was in your position, I looked through the Yahoo directory in my local area for companies that had already had information in English which confirmed that they needed it. Then I phoned them and asked for the contact details of the person in charge. After that I made my pitch. If I drew a blank, I left it at that. Sometimes I sent rewrites of their materials with a polite note explaining what was wrong and how I could fix it, and then followed up by phone. I got some good local clients this way. Some were very pleased that I pushed myself on them, because they weren't happy with their current situation.

But if you're going to go to this trouble, it's best to target customers who have an ongoing need in the form of new products and services. Serial one-off jobs are not much of a way to make a living.

Anyway, good luck.


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Valentina Novakova
Bulgaria
Local time: 03:45
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
Absolutely agree Jan 9, 2009

John Rawlins wrote:


I suggest you look locally. Despite the global nature of the internet, people still like to contract local people. Once you have some local clients, get out and meet them from time to time. You will be surprised how many clients can be introduced by other clients.

Good luck!


It is only for the first step. Then if you show quality all of a sudden many new clients appear.


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:45
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Look locally? Jan 9, 2009

John Rawlins wrote:
Working for clients is far more profitable than working for agencies. They pay much more, pay much more quickly, and give you much longer deadlines.
I suppose that this is your opinion according to your experiences. Would be useful to know if you are working mostly with Spanish agencies.

Don't agonize too much about how to approach somebody. Any approach is better than no approach.
Which country, which industry? I think that there are great differences. Not every business man appreciates unsolicited phone calls.

I suggest you look locally. Despite the global nature of the internet, people still like to contract local people.
Really? But why and where? In this case it is not logical. A native speaker of English in the UK would like to offer his services to Spanish clients. I know that there are a lot of English native speakers in Spain (Andalucia, Costa Blanca etc)but there are still some regions without them.


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
Direct contact Jan 12, 2009

Tuliparola wrote:

John Rawlins wrote:
Working for clients is far more profitable than working for agencies. They pay much more, pay much more quickly, and give you much longer deadlines.
I suppose that this is your opinion according to your experiences. Would be useful to know if you are working mostly with Spanish agencies.

Most of my work comes from direct clients. I generally see agencies as useful for filling any gaps between work from direct clients.

Don't agonize too much about how to approach somebody. Any approach is better than no approach.
Which country, which industry? I think that there are great differences. Not every business man appreciates unsolicited phone calls.

Almost all my direct approaches are made to local firms. This is where we all have a tremendous advantage - we are local for home town clients and most of our competitors are not. You are right that not every businessman appreciates unsolicited phone calls - so try visiting instead.

A much under-rated approach is to simply arrive at the front desk and attempt to establish with the receptionist who in the company would be your best contact. Having got a name and a number - ask for interview there and then. Providing you have got on reasonably well with the receptionist, and your contact is not busy, then you have a good chance of immediately meeting the decision-maker.

I suggest you look locally. Despite the global nature of the internet, people still like to contract local people.
Really? But why and where? In this case it is not logical. A native speaker of English in the UK would like to offer his services to Spanish clients. I know that there are a lot of English native speakers in Spain (Andalucia, Costa Blanca etc)but there are still some regions without them.

People really do prefer dealing with locals. Most of us have a built-in preference for nearby businesses and individuals.



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Jessie LN
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
local clients...? Jan 14, 2009

Thank you all very much for your input and experiences.

As for looking for clients locally, I'm currently living in the UK, so there's not a huge demand for Spanish > English translation. I would be more inclined to contact businesses in Spain via the internet. Then again, having only the internet as my point of reference, my options are fairly limited. That is, I wouldn't be able to walk into an office/tourism office/restaurant and offer my services... they'd have to have a website. And most don't!

I'm not sure where to begin!


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Considered looking for a local "agent"? Jan 14, 2009

I think you might want to look for a local "agent", i.e. a person in Spain (ideally in a larger city, for instance Madrid, Barcelone or Seville) who would be willing to explore the market for you and translation partner with you for the opposite direction, English into Spanish. This person could get a commission from you for any actual job done for a local business.

I think I would go that way if I was to offer translation into Spanish to companies looking for potential Spanish-speaking customers.


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