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Direct mail and follow-up calls
Thread poster: Milos Prudek

Milos Prudek  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 03:50
English to Czech
+ ...
Aug 10, 2010

Anyone tried mass direct mail to businesses with follow-up calls with good results to get direct clients?

The time spent on follow-up calls could be prohibitive if I send 1000 letters or more. By the time I get to client number 999, he will have forgotten about the original letter. Any tips, advice and opinions welcome.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The way EU spam laws go... Aug 10, 2010

Milos Prudek wrote:
Anyone tried mass direct mail to businesses with follow-up calls with good results to get direct clients?


If you look at the direction in which EU spam laws are going, soon it will have to be phone calls first, followed by a follow-up e-mail, because the only way you can get permission to send commercial e-mails would be to either phone them or send them a snail mail.


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:50
French to English
+ ...
Why the call...? Aug 10, 2010

Milos Prudek wrote:
Anyone tried mass direct mail to businesses with follow-up calls with good results to get direct clients?


What's the purpose of the follow-up call? Not only is it time-consuming for you, but are you sure it won't just serve to irritate your potential customers?


 

Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:50
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
phone call Aug 10, 2010

Neil Coffey wrote:

What's the purpose of the follow-up call? Not only is it time-consuming for you, but are you sure it won't just serve to irritate your potential customers?


I also think it may be irritating. Moreover, it is time and money consuming if not using skype phone calls.

Mass email are probably the worse idea for promoting yourself as a translator. Clients are sensitive thingsicon_smile.gif

You should analyze the potential customer first and then prepare a special email, so that the customer knows that he was the only addressee and that you are really interested in qualitative cooperation. This is also time consuming, but you will probably have more (positive) results. You should also pay attention on your target potential clients. Are they interested in your services? Do they need translations in your target language? Will they be good payers? etc etc


 

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:50
English to German
+ ...
Depends on "target" Aug 10, 2010

Veronica Lupascu wrote:

Neil Coffey wrote:

What's the purpose of the follow-up call? Not only is it time-consuming for you, but are you sure it won't just serve to irritate your potential customers?


I also think it may be irritating. Moreover, it is time and money consuming if not using skype phone calls.
...


I think there are cultural factors to be taken into account. For instance, I think (but correct me if I'm wrong) that US customers would almost expect a follow-up call for you to be taken seriously. Also, I believe that those industries practising follow-ups with their customers on a regular basis, such as insurance and telecom, shouldn't complain too heavily if they become the target themselves once in a whileicon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2010-08-10 18:11 GMT]


 

Milos Prudek  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 03:50
English to Czech
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I never said "email" Aug 10, 2010

to send commercial e-mails would be to either phone them or send them a snail mail.


Everyone assumes I meant email. I did not. I said "direct mailing". This means letters delivered by a postman. I hate spam more than most people here, I used to work as IT system administrator.

Such letters would be sent to companies making products in my translation specialization. A follow-up call is a standard practice for direct mailing. My question is if someone tried this and what tips you could offer.


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 03:50
English to Czech
+ ...
Already tried Aug 10, 2010

Hi Miloš,
I already tried that about three years ago. Little response, absolutely not worth the time or efforts (or moneyicon_smile.gif ).


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:50
German to Spanish
+ ...
Direct mail and follow-up calls Aug 10, 2010

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Hi Miloš,
I already tried that about three years ago. Little response, absolutely not worth the time or efforts (or moneyicon_smile.gif ).


Agree. I did not try it, but because speaking with a spanish direct mail publicity agency they told me that such kind of publicity had only a 2/1000 positive result. That is, not worth the costs.




[Edited at 2010-08-10 22:16 GMT]


 

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:50
English to German
+ ...
Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't Aug 10, 2010

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Hi Miloš,
I already tried that about three years ago. Little response, absolutely not worth the time or efforts (or moneyicon_smile.gif ).


Agree. I did not try it, but because speaking with a spanish direct mail publicity agency they told me that such kind of publicity had only a 2/1000 positive result. That is, not worth the costs.




[Edited at 2010-08-10 22:16 GMT]


My experience tells me otherwise. But I would never resort to mass mailings, for instance. The type of letters sent out by one of those agencies mentioned by Pablo, you can easily tell them apart. It's no wonder no-one reads them. Automation has its limitsicon_wink.gif


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:50
German to English
individual mailings Aug 11, 2010

Hello Milos,
Samuel's comment is also relevant in your case. Mass-mailings with the post are OK, but follow-up calls are probably still be prohibited, because of the lack of express permission to call. However, the interpretation of EU directives is a national issue and the courts in your country may have defined probable interest more broadly in your country than in Germany, for example.

I recently had a very positive experience with a well-thought and individualized letter. That seems like the better option to me: set aside an hour per day to research and write one to three potential clients that seem really promising.

Sincerely,
Michael


 

Paula Morrison  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why not give it a try!!! Aug 11, 2010

Hi Milos,

I think you should not give up. I recommend you read a fantastic book called 'Get clients now' by CJ Hayden. It's a very clear book with a great 28-day program to do the calls and follow them up without having to send 1000 letters and think your first client would have forgotten you.

I'm a bit scared about cold-calling but I guess I will put myself together and do it. It's a bit intimidating but you have to mix the three. CJ suggests calling, emailing for follow up and calling again. It might be a bit exhausting but i think it gives good results.

As I said, it frightens me the fact of probably being rejected when cold-calling but I guess you have to try. I will soon and I will succeed!

Good luck!

Paula

------------------------------------------------------------

Paula Morrison

PM Translation & Interpreting Services

Tel: 0208 244 8278

Mob: 0782 8090 588

paula@pmtranslationservices.co.uk

www.pmtranslationservices.co.uk


 

Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 03:50
Member (2010)
English to Polish
+ ...
. Aug 11, 2010

Milos Prudek wrote:

Anyone tried mass direct mail to businesses with follow-up calls with good results to get direct clients?


Do you read ad leaflets delivered by your postman? I don't.


 

Milos Prudek  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 03:50
English to Czech
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What if they ask for more languages? Aug 12, 2010


CJ suggests calling, emailing for follow up and calling again.


OK. This sounds good, and the previous advice for carefully researched clients and personalized letters is excellent. Thank you for the tips.

I have a very good prepared sales pitch. One objection worries me in particular. My target language is not a major language. What if they say "We need your language but also seven other languages, can you arrange it?" I would most likely decline, because I do not want to become an agency. Should I tell them plainly "I do only this combination and I am looking for clients who are willing to manage multiple translators", or should I make an exception and gather a team of translators?


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Agencies or direct clients? Aug 12, 2010

Milos Prudek wrote:
What if they say "We need your language but also seven other languages, can you arrange it?"


Will you be targeting translation agencies/companies or direct clients?


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Permission to phone Aug 12, 2010

Michael Wetzel wrote:
Samuel's comment is also relevant in your case. Mass-mailings with the post are OK, but follow-up calls are probably still be prohibited, because of the lack of express permission to call.


I haven't heard of any EU laws prohibiting sellers from phoning potential customers (except laws that apply to call centres and third-party mass marketeers, who have to keep don't-call lists). Can you give us some URLs about this? As far as I know, phone call spam is still opt-out, not opt-in, in the EU (but of course, I may be wrong).

For example, in the UK, direct calls (i.e. a human does the calling) are opt-out (but there is a list on which one can opt-out of everything in one go), but automated calls (i.e. the phone call is just a recording that plays when the person picks up) are opt-in:
http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/privacy_and_electronic_communications_guide.aspx

So in the UK, you'd have to find out of the person you're calling has opted out of being called, and if not, then you may call them, but if they say "don't call me again" then you must make a note of it and not call them again.

Here is some information about the EU and some links, but I'm not sure how old this is:
http://www.dbt.co.uk/include_new.asp?sec=33&con=48
According to the above URL, for example, it is illegal to do direct marketing to people in Germany unless a judge would rule that the person being called would likely have been interested in buying the product (a bit of a grey area, if you ask me). I do assume therefore that a freelance translator may call a translation agency in Germany to offer his services.

Often, if a country has a direct marketing association or institute, their web site might give advice about when it is legal to phone.


 
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