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Writing to potential direct clients
Thread poster: Julie Barber

Julie Barber  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:17
Member (2006)
French to English
Sep 2

Hi all. Do any of you write to potential private clients and how do you find your response rate? I find that I can write to lots of people but VERY few respond. I can understand this on the part of translation agencies and bigger companies, but I also write to local individuals who manage their own business and tailor letters to them personally. But still very few responses. I don't take it personally but I do find it quite boring and disheartening (and yes rude!). I even try to connect to membe... See more
Hi all. Do any of you write to potential private clients and how do you find your response rate? I find that I can write to lots of people but VERY few respond. I can understand this on the part of translation agencies and bigger companies, but I also write to local individuals who manage their own business and tailor letters to them personally. But still very few responses. I don't take it personally but I do find it quite boring and disheartening (and yes rude!). I even try to connect to members of local business networks but don't get far with that either so far......does the process work for you and any tips please? For info, I am writing using a professional format/look, tailoring it to them after doing research and talking about what I can offer them....ThanksCollapse


 

Andriy Yasharov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 00:17
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
A Rule of thumb Sep 2

Please correct me if I am mistaken, but the thing is that you are trying to sell your services to others, when in fact, as I have found out in my experience, one needs to satisfy demand. If you know or feel that an entity or a person is in need of your services, the response rate will be much higher. The key here is to find the demand that you can offer to meet. And that purpose requires research on your part.

Julie Barber
Sheila Wilson
Teresa Borges
Philippe Etienne
Maria Pia Giuseppina Nuzzolese
 

Julie Barber  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:17
Member (2006)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
@andriy Sep 2

Thank Andriy, yes I do some research in advance to try to target people who will need my services. I do try to target that demand.

[Edited at 2020-09-02 07:45 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:17
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What would you do? Sep 2

I must admit I don't get a lot of emails offering to do things but I know some people here do -- they get loads of CVs from people offering to supply translations. My impression is that most of these people come across as needy, and I'm not surprised that their emails just get deleted.

I certainly get loads of flyers and even people coming to the door, wanting to sell gardening and home maintenance services, security systems, frozen foods, water... I'm afraid I'm quite abrupt with t
... See more
I must admit I don't get a lot of emails offering to do things but I know some people here do -- they get loads of CVs from people offering to supply translations. My impression is that most of these people come across as needy, and I'm not surprised that their emails just get deleted.

I certainly get loads of flyers and even people coming to the door, wanting to sell gardening and home maintenance services, security systems, frozen foods, water... I'm afraid I'm quite abrupt with them all if it's face to face, and the flyers just get binned or, at best, pushed into a drawer with all the others. Actually, I dug one out just yesterday to order a pizza for the first time from a local company -- their flyer is dated 2017 (and the prices had risen!).

It's quite understandable that people I see as potential clients would also react negatively, or at best disinterested, if I were to approach them offering my translation or editing services.
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Julie Barber  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:17
Member (2006)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Sep 2

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I must admit I don't get a lot of emails offering to do things but I know some people here do -- they get loads of CVs from people offering to supply translations. My impression is that most of these people come across as needy, and I'm not surprised that their emails just get deleted.

I certainly get loads of flyers and even people coming to the door, wanting to sell gardening and home maintenance services, security systems, frozen foods, water... I'm afraid I'm quite abrupt with them all if it's face to face, and the flyers just get binned or, at best, pushed into a drawer with all the others. Actually, I dug one out just yesterday to order a pizza for the first time from a local company -- their flyer is dated 2017 (and the prices had risen!).

It's quite understandable that people I see as potential clients would also react negatively, or at best disinterested, if I were to approach them offering my translation or editing services.


Thanks Sheila - as for what I would do, I virtually always respond either to say a very brief but polite no thank you or to say that I will keep their details on file. I might not respond for a while, but I always do as it only takes a brief moment and I perceive it as basic manners. People offering their services are just like you and me, looking for business. The only time I don't reply is when the email looks weird or when the person clearly hasn't taken the time to look at my services properly.

Occasionally, I get a very polite and classy response - kind even - and these people totally stand out from the crowd. I would choose them to refer any business to if the need arose.

As for the needy aspect- well that's obviously to be avoid, but looking for prospect is surely a normal part of business?

There are lots of reasons a person might not respond at all but honestly I think that if it's a local person in a business network, that it's often just rude....

[Edited at 2020-09-02 09:59 GMT]


 

David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:17
French to English
GDPR Sep 2

How do you write to these potential clients? If by email, where do you get their contact details? There seems to be confusion, especially in the UK, about whether sending unsolicited emails is an infringement of GDPR. I have been given completely conflicting information about this and so now tend to be wary of cold calling by email/telephone. It is often claimed that attending 'client events' and meeting people in person is the best approach. I guess that depends on attending the right events, m... See more
How do you write to these potential clients? If by email, where do you get their contact details? There seems to be confusion, especially in the UK, about whether sending unsolicited emails is an infringement of GDPR. I have been given completely conflicting information about this and so now tend to be wary of cold calling by email/telephone. It is often claimed that attending 'client events' and meeting people in person is the best approach. I guess that depends on attending the right events, meeting the right people while you're there and, of course, your own skills in selling your services to strangers without seeming too needy or pushy. In short, none of this is easy!

[Edited at 2020-09-02 09:10 GMT]

PS I was once told by a translation agency business manager that GDPR now means you can only send unsolicited offers via a company's contact form on their website (if they have one). Just harvesting random email addresses you happen to find displayed is, according to him, no longer acceptable since you cannot assume that permission has been given for such email addresses to be used for marketing purposes. Also, you are supposed to tell anyone you contact about how you plan to protect their data, which includes not storing email addresses that have not been given to you by the address holder. I don't really know the legal intricacies of such things, but it's worth covering yourself in case anyone decides to be nasty.

[Edited at 2020-09-02 09:50 GMT]
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Julie Barber
Sheila Wilson
Yvonne Gallagher
Teresa Borges
 

Julie Barber  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:17
Member (2006)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Sep 2

David Hayes wrote:

How do you write to these potential clients? If by email, where do you get their contact details? There seems to be confusion, especially in the UK, about whether sending unsolicited emails is an infringement of GDPR. I have been given completely conflicting information about this and so now tend to be wary of cold calling by email/telephone. It is often claimed that attending 'client events' and meeting people in person is the best approach. I guess that depends on attending the right events, meeting the right people while you're there and, of course, your own skills in selling your services to strangers without seeming too needy or pushy. In short, none of this is easy!

[Edited at 2020-09-02 09:10 GMT]


thanks David. Yes via email. Well, they advertise their email addresses so...it is sort of fair game. Sometimes I also call, which is very useful because you can't be ignored! I have occasionally tried networking events. It is hard though because they are time consuming and do not always fit in with my schedule and sometimes have a cost attached. Thanks for reminding me of that though. Yes, there is an art to getting the approaching right - a fine balance.


 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:17
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Normal Sep 2

I think it's always going to be normal to get a low response rate to a direct approach like this. Most people will be too busy to respond unless they have an immediate need for what you're offering.

But if you're in the UK and are contacting local companies offering them French to English translations they probably just don't have a need. Wouldn't you need to be approaching French companies?


Chris S
Philippe Etienne
Julie Barber
Sheila Wilson
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 06:17
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Rude? Sep 2

Do you have any idea how many emails I get from Indian "website designing company" to help businesses like myself?

Good god, this is halfway down email spam territory and you're complaining that people are rude for not responding to your unsolicited and most likely unwanted emails?


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Philippe Etienne
Teresa Borges
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:17
Member
English to French
Aim at the next level Sep 2

Andriy Yasharov wrote:
...as I have found out in my experience, one needs to satisfy demand. If you know or feel that an entity or a person is in need of your services, the response rate will be much higher. The key here is to find the demand that you can offer to meet. And that purpose requires research on your part.

There are also entities that manage to sell you things that you don't need and that don't improve your quality of life. They just tell you what you need, because you can't possibly know it by yourself.
Getting there is what makes them successful.

Philippe


 

Julie Barber  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:17
Member (2006)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Sep 2

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Do you have any idea how many emails I get from Indian "website designing company" to help businesses like myself?

Good god, this is halfway down email spam territory and you're complaining that people are rude for not responding to your unsolicited and most likely unwanted emails?


Hi Lincoln. I'm am talking about addressing emails to local individuals themselves and related it to their business....not spam style ones.
No relationship to spam in fact! I think that most of us can tell the difference between mass marketing and somebody taking the time to write to us. But you hit the nail on the head with the culture surrounding the internet - that it's impersonal and can lose the human touch, even when it's a real person corresponding.


 

David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:17
French to English
GDPR (2) Sep 2

I was once told by a translation agency business manager that GDPR now means you can only send unsolicited offers via a company's contact form on their website (if they have one). Just harvesting random email addresses you happen to find displayed is, according to him, no longer acceptable since you cannot assume that permission has been given for such email addresses to be used for marketing purposes. Also, you are supposed to tell anyone you contact about how you plan to protect their data, wh... See more
I was once told by a translation agency business manager that GDPR now means you can only send unsolicited offers via a company's contact form on their website (if they have one). Just harvesting random email addresses you happen to find displayed is, according to him, no longer acceptable since you cannot assume that permission has been given for such email addresses to be used for marketing purposes. Also, you are supposed to tell anyone you contact about how you plan to protect their data, which includes not storing email addresses that have not been given to you by the address holder. I don't really know the legal intricacies of such things, but it's worth covering yourself in case anyone decides to be nasty.Collapse


Julie Barber
Teresa Borges
 

Julie Barber  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:17
Member (2006)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Rachel Sep 2

Rachel Waddington wrote:

I think it's always going to be normal to get a low response rate to a direct approach like this. Most people will be too busy to respond unless they have an immediate need for what you're offering.

But if you're in the UK and are contacting local companies offering them French to English translations they probably just don't have a need. Wouldn't you need to be approaching French companies?


Thanks Rachel. I manage to take the time to respond...but that's just me. I used to work in an office where it wasn't as impersonal as freelancing so perhaps it's a question of different expectations. But good to know if low response rates are the standard. Good point for who to contact - I am talking about (mainly) members of the legal professional who will occasionally use translators. BUT yes, French companies are on my list for future contacts so a very helpful point thanks.


Rachel Waddington
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:17
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
A thought Sep 2

Are you doing all you can to get them to come to you? That has to be the way to go. Make yourself visible to your potential client base and then make what they see sufficiently attractive for them to contact you. You've done the first by having a polished and professional profile here on ProZ.com, the place most people find early on when looking for a translator. But do potential clients like what they see? I do, but are they similarly impressed?

I notice that although you have a bi
... See more
Are you doing all you can to get them to come to you? That has to be the way to go. Make yourself visible to your potential client base and then make what they see sufficiently attractive for them to contact you. You've done the first by having a polished and professional profile here on ProZ.com, the place most people find early on when looking for a translator. But do potential clients like what they see? I do, but are they similarly impressed?

I notice that although you have a bilingual website, a lot of it (blog etc) is in English only, including the all-important "services flyer", aka CV. Also, your text in your profile here on ProZ.com seems to be only in English. I changed the site language to French and expected it then to come up in French -- as it can -- but it stayed in English. I wonder if the same applies to your presence on LinkedIn etc.

This is where you could have an immediate effect -- Francophones must be your main clientele, surely.
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Julie Barber
 

Julie Barber  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:17
Member (2006)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sheila Sep 2

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Are you doing all you can to get them to come to you? That has to be the way to go. Make yourself visible to your potential client base and then make what they see sufficiently attractive for them to contact you. You've done the first by having a polished and professional profile here on ProZ.com, the place most people find early on when looking for a translator. But do potential clients like what they see? I do, but are they similarly impressed?

I notice that although you have a bilingual website, a lot of it (blog etc) is in English only, including the all-important "services flyer", aka CV. Also, your text in your profile here on ProZ.com seems to be only in English. I changed the site language to French and expected it then to come up in French -- as it can -- but it stayed in English. I wonder if the same applies to your presence on LinkedIn etc.

This is where you could have an immediate effect -- Francophones must be your main clientele, surely.


Thanks Sheila! these are great points. I don't have the time at the moment to put all blog articles into French. However, I very much do need to translate the information flyer!! I'll get it on my list for this month. I hadn't thought of translating my proz profile as it is often agencies who come to me via proz. But again, that's a great point and one that I hadn't though of so will make sure that I do. Thanks for your helpful thoughts, as ever very useful. All handy tips welcome!


 
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