Fairs and self-presentation
Thread poster: Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren

Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:37
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Mar 28, 2008

Hello friends,

Tomorrow will be the very first time for me to go to a fair (fair for Bankers and Investers) to present my enterprise. This time, I will naturally not act as a freelancer, but rather as an agency, for the fair is held in Germany, which is my current location, and the potential end clients I may encounter there will unlikely to be interested in an agency if it cannot promise to translate into German or English. I have been involved in few successful outsourcing experience and trust that a new venture has been merited.

Shortly, do you have any suggestions as to how I will undertake this position? One thing for sure:
****I will communicate in my A and/or B-level languages in the fair.

Dearest regards and thank you for your inputs!

Binnur


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:37
English to French
+ ...
Elevator speech Mar 28, 2008

You may meet many people there over a short period of time. You need to make a good impression right away because with certain people, you will only have a short time to do this. Therefore, writing an elevator speech and learning it so it sounds natural when you present it may be a good idea. This is basically a little speech about yourself and your services that takes about as much time as going for an elevator ride (30 seconds). You need to write a two or three-sentence speech that will allow for people to clearly understand what you can do for them.

Avoid using words that refer to selling something and make sure you write these sentences in a way that will make the people you speak to think that you want to help them rather than sell them something. If you have ever written a mission statement, you are all set to write an elevator speech.

The point of the elevator speech is not to land a contract - it is a polite and possibly pleasant way to strike up a conversation. The people you will meet know you are there to prospect and therefore don't really care about what you do - but they will ask anyway, so using a friendly elevator speech will help you to strike up a conversation with them, which will help you make that good first impression on them.

Naturally, if someone asks you what you do, do ask them the same, and pay close attention to what they tell you (you may want to keep notes on them when they are not looking - at the end of the day, it WILL be hard to remember all the details). If you can remember details about these people and they later leave you their business card and a reason to call them, you will be able to help them remember you when you do call if you can remind them of something fun you said to them, and even better if you can tell them something you remember about them.

Elevator speeches are like a first foot in the door - they will not really land any sales or contacts on their own, but will get you one step closer. To learn more about elevator speeches, look them up in a search engine.

P.S.: Make sure you don't wear your grey businesswoman suit. Most everybody does, and you will have trouble standing out from the crowd if you do. Of course, don't wear a tie-dye dress either. Look fresh and make sure you are comfortable in your clothes. If you don't look comfortable in your outfit, you will come off as someone who is not comfortable in your role of agency owner.

All the best!


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Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:37
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Viktoria, thank you! Mar 28, 2008

Dear Viktoria,

Thank you heartily for your detailed & elaborate information and your best wishes.

Since I read your posting, I have been combing through the internet websites about the topic "elevator speech" as well as my own website so that the written content would be transformed into a stylish 30 sec-speech.

Today, I will do best I can do to prepare myself both mentally and physically (referring to your tie-dye dress ) and will inform you how the event went.

Warmest regards,

Binnur


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:37
German to English
+ ...
Agree with elevator speech Mar 28, 2008

I agree with the advice given about elevator speeches. My husband has one and he's looking for a job as a teacher! Never know when you might run into a potential contact for work - it happened to him randomly in a cafe.

If I were going, I would actually wear a suit, but making it look fresh is a good idea.

You are also right that German>English is very much in demand in that field. If you are likely to land jobs in that combination, then I would start looking *now* for freelancers who specialize in that field. It seems to me (and I think many of my colleagues would agree) that there are too few proficient German>English finance/banking/accounting translators to go around.

PS A question: I looked at your profile - if you specialize in chemistry, why are you going to a conference for bankers? Just curious.

[Edited at 2008-03-28 15:54]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:37
English to French
+ ...
Oh, but bankers are important people! Mar 28, 2008

Daina Jauntirans wrote:

I looked at your profile - if you specialize in chemistry, why are you going to a conference for bankers? Just curious.


I can see where the question comes from - but if you look into it a bit more, you will find that bankers are like keys that open doors. They work with people in pretty much any kind of business you can imagine, and if you can have a few bankers in your circle of "friends", there is a nice potential for meeting people in your targeted industries though them. In that sense, bankers are formidable hubs. They often refer their clients to people who offer business services - accountants, attorneys, and yes, even if it may sound unrealistic, translators, too. I think Binnur is right in going to that kind of event.

Now, about what I said earlier, make sure you don't overdo it. People go to these events to make contact, but they meet so many people there that the ones they are most likely to remember at the end of the day are not those who talk strictly business but those who felt the most like people they would make friends with. It's OK to tell them what you can do for them, but be prepared to tell them about your family, your pastimes and your other interests. Of course, if you are a sex toy collector, you may want to skip that part. Also, if you notice something about someone that has nothing to do with business but that is personal, don't be afraid to use that to chat about something more fun than business. If you play tennis and you realize one of the people you talk to also plays tennis, you have something in common other than business, which will feel refreshing for both of you to talk about.

Remember, even though people visit the event for business, they still are people, and nobody likes dealing with people who are all about numbers. They want to have a good time, so being friendly and able to talk about subjects outside the scope of your work can help create a rapport. If dealing with people is part of your business model, put that forward by being easy to approach, relaxed and fun.

Most importantly, have a good time!

Edit: in your elevator speech, concentrate on the benefits to the client rather than on the services you offer. So, don't say you can translate their documents - say you help them to communicate with their global audiences. The second message is much better at telling them what good your services are to them than the first. Also, if you can, give them a reason or two to call you instead of calling someone else if they need to get something translated. How is your service better than the competition's? Don't make the competition look bad - just show them why they are better off with you than with someone else.

[Edited at 2008-03-28 19:23]


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Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:37
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I can answer now your questions and give my feedback:D Apr 1, 2008

Dear Viktoria,

Again... Thank you very much for your input! It has been the most useful. I could have built some business relationship with few clients thanks to your tips. They are not only interested in language services, but other prospects I might have provided them with. I have already connected them to a financial consultant agency in Turkey.

And dear Daina,

I totally agree with Viktoria. Besides, acting as an agency was already an endeavour to enlarge my resources, which was why I had to avoid limiting my capacity to hospitals, pharmaceutical & medical companies, drugs and cosmetics only. But yes, I am still a specialist on chemistry, medicine and pharmaceuticals and I am relatively cheap if my clients request translations in these fields (incl. my language combinations) and I believe this does not exclude the opportunity to work with other experts.

Hoping you both will be able to read this last posting, I am sending you both warmest regards from our sunny Heppenheim.

Binnur


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:37
English to French
+ ...
More details please Apr 2, 2008

Hi Binnur,

I am glad to read that all went well. However, a bit more detail, as long as they are not business secrets, would be most welcome. I haven't been to a trade show professionally so far, but I am planning to attend one next year, and my aspirations are the same as yours. I would love to learn more about how things went, both about things you observed that can help the rest of us make the most out of a trade show, but also to just get an idea of the challenges you were faced with there and how you dealt with them. I would also love to know how it all benefited you.

Please, keep us informed if you have any details for us.

Congratulations on your first, seemingly positive trade show experience!

[Edited at 2008-04-03 16:35]


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Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:37
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Challenges and dealing with them Apr 3, 2008

I am on again

Dear Viktoria, I think the biggest challenge in this fair was finding three-dimensional pictures to talk to, rather than communicating via computer. Most of us, who are not involved in the interpreting business or do not share an office with other collegues do not have a lot of opportunity to talk. One may organise powwows (cheapest scheme), go to fairs (not an expensive scheme) or to conferences (needs a bigger budget than the others mentioned) to diversify one's skills. All will add to your language & communication skills, as well as build some sort of self-confidence, unlock thinking potential and give you a push to be creative.

Let me turn back to your questions regarding challenges. I have differentiated them under two categories:

Firstly, by-me-unforseen challenges:
- At the fair, there were not so many stands, therefore not so many people to talk to. Although I had originally given myself 4 hours to stay there, I was done after 2 hours.
- Practically, most of the attendees were German (currently this language is still C-level language of mine). I would not mind the presence of a more diverse group.
- One should have a basic interest in the topic, which I (to my surprise & sorrow) lacked of.

Obviously, what I might have done was go through the list of attendees, and see whether it makes sense to attend the fair. But, if you always on the look for the best fair, you are on the wrong way (to my opinion), as your target will never be reached: timewise, motivationwise, budgetwise...
That's why, I drew a line, checked the possibilities and acted! (very spontaneous!)

Secondly, expected challenge; namely "elevator speech".
I did it parallel to your suggestions, tried to sharpen it. Naturally, I spiced the conversations with some spontaneity and this is how I helped myself with some relationship. When I was convinced that these people did not only need language services, I started to talk about other prospects I might offer them. I have had other contacts and this is how they wanted to contact me. By now, two of them have already contacted me. I have already connected one of them to a Turkish financial consultant, which is also a friend of mine. I might expect them to turn back to me with their language-related problems in the future. Or maybe not? No matter whether they will or not, I see this experience as a plus for it has taught me about the intangible challenges.

That is all I remember for now, Viktoria. I hope it helps to our language community & maybe to other venturers.

Warmest regards,

Binnur


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:37
English to French
+ ...
Better late than never Apr 13, 2008

Sorry, Binnur, if I didn't write back in a while. Been quite busy lately.

Thanks for the information. From what I understand, fairs and other like events need to be chosen carefully and a lot of preparation is required to visit them. When someone lives in a large city like me, finding events that are worth visiting isn't such a big problem - you name it, we've got it. However, when you live in a smaller city or a town, this may be a problem. Getting ready for the event does take a lot of preparation. You are right - you need to have at least a basic understanding of the businesses of the people who are present. This is where specialization comes in. I am visiting an event in a year and already have started putting it all together. It isn't easy, but my luck is that I already have an extensive list of who will be there and so I can investigate my prospects. I will have a clue of who I need to speak to, what I can discuss with them and how to try to sell my services to them. The nice thing is that it is the kind of event where I am pretty sure I will be the only language service provider present - no competition!

It is interesting that you mention lending your contacts to people you met. I need to react to this. In that case, you basically helped a person with needs they already have - they had a need that you couldn't cater to, but you did point them in the right direction. In other words, you helped them. This is important. Whether they will eventually offer you work is not that important. What is important is that that person sees you as a useful resource and as a friendly individual. They may not have work for you - but they will remember you, and when they come across someone else who may need your services, they will mention you first. It's all about making friends, really. Like I said earlier, the point is not trying to sell your services - although you might as well tell them about what you do, it can't hurt - but rather developing a network of people. Help them - and in time, they will help you if they have the chance. You would be surprised how far this can go.

Thanks again for your feedback. When I go to the event I am getting ready for, I will let you know how it went and what I found out.

Cheers!

[Edited at 2008-04-13 23:19]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:37
English to French
+ ...
. Apr 14, 2008



[Edited at 2008-04-14 14:11]


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Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:37
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Look forward to it Viktoria Apr 14, 2008

You see, how people get connected although they have physically not even met!

Warmest regards to Canada.

Binnur


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