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External salesperson
Thread poster: Anja Brito

Anja Brito  Identity Verified
Canada
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Oct 15

I have joined forces with a few colleagues to form a small translation company/collective, and we are looking for someone to do business development and sales for us on a commission basis. Running into roadblocks (or very high costs) with posting a commission-based sales job on LinkedIn, Indeed, facebook and similar sites. Has anyone here successfully done this, i.e. found an external salesperson? If yes, how did you go about this, where did you search and/or advertise? Or does anyone here know ... See more
I have joined forces with a few colleagues to form a small translation company/collective, and we are looking for someone to do business development and sales for us on a commission basis. Running into roadblocks (or very high costs) with posting a commission-based sales job on LinkedIn, Indeed, facebook and similar sites. Has anyone here successfully done this, i.e. found an external salesperson? If yes, how did you go about this, where did you search and/or advertise? Or does anyone here know someone who might be interested in such a job. It would be working from home, with some initial "legwork" to be put in, but good earning potential for the right person in the medium term.

[Bearbeitet am 2020-10-15 23:47 GMT]
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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 19:54
German to Serbian
+ ...
Good luck with that. Oct 15

Would you provide translation work on commission basis, eg. you get paid only if your translation brings direct and verifiable/measurable profit to the client? If it doesn’t, you still have promises of “big earning potential”. Would you do it?

Tina Vonhof
 

Anja Brito  Identity Verified
Canada
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Misunderstanding Oct 15

Hi Lingua 5B, I think we have a misunderstanding. We are not looking for someone to provide translations on a commission basis, that would be absurd... We are a group of very experienced and qualified translators who are looking to hire a commission-based salesperson, meaning that person would get a commission on every translation contract s/he brings in. The problem is that in our little group, we all love translating and we all hate (and are bad at) sales and business development. Your typical... See more
Hi Lingua 5B, I think we have a misunderstanding. We are not looking for someone to provide translations on a commission basis, that would be absurd... We are a group of very experienced and qualified translators who are looking to hire a commission-based salesperson, meaning that person would get a commission on every translation contract s/he brings in. The problem is that in our little group, we all love translating and we all hate (and are bad at) sales and business development. Your typical introverted translation nerdsCollapse


Fatine777
Arabic & More
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Lingua Oct 16

Lingua 5B wrote:
Would you provide translation work on commission basis...? Would you do it?


Sales staff are not translators, though. It is quite common for sales representatives to work on a commission basis, even in companies where they also draw a [small] salary. It is perfectly normal for freelance sales people to work exclusively for commission, and you can't really compare it to freelance translators.


Michael Wetzel
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 19:54
German to Serbian
+ ...
No it's not. Oct 16

Samuel Murray wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:
Would you provide translation work on commission basis...? Would you do it?


Sales staff are not translators, though. It is quite common for sales representatives to work on a commission basis, even in companies where they also draw a [small] salary. It is perfectly normal for freelance sales people to work exclusively for commission, and you can't really compare it to freelance translators.


I know some highly successful sales people who never accept commission only projects (they are a good reference, as they are in sales for a long time plus very successful). Some form of base salary is always required.

Those that do accept commission only projects probably have no idea what they are doing and are not very good at sales.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 19:54
German to Serbian
+ ...
Aha moment. Oct 16

Anja Brito wrote:

Hi Lingua 5B, I think we have a misunderstanding. We are not looking for someone to provide translations on a commission basis, that would be absurd... We are a group of very experienced and qualified translators who are looking to hire a commission-based salesperson, meaning that person would get a commission on every translation contract s/he brings in. The problem is that in our little group, we all love translating and we all hate (and are bad at) sales and business development. Your typical introverted translation nerds


If you hate it, why do you believe someone else would do it for free? You basically answered your own question here, if there is something to hate about it, then it's probably a stressful and tedious job, why would someone do it on a salary that pays with promises?

If you opened your own little business, then you need to have some money to invest in business development (and be ready for risks, even when you pay).

I can't think of a reason someone would do it on commission basis providing they are a very skilled salesperson. Perhaps only in case when a salesperson analyzes your service/product and realizes there's a very little competition and your product is highly special and highly needed. Translation is probably not that product. However, a professional salesperson would charge you for that analysis and consultation as well.

[Edited at 2020-10-16 10:22 GMT]


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 19:54
Member (2016)
English to German
Post a job here Oct 16

It should be possible to post a job like this here on Proz. But of course you should define this job well and make it attractive. There are good salespeople out there, but an offer that simply says "Get us jobs and then you'll get a commission" would be only attractive if you are a top-notch company with a top-notch product or service that is not difficult to sell. Otherwise, good salespeople will go elsewhere where they get a big car and fat travel expenses to visit a bunch of potential clients... See more
It should be possible to post a job like this here on Proz. But of course you should define this job well and make it attractive. There are good salespeople out there, but an offer that simply says "Get us jobs and then you'll get a commission" would be only attractive if you are a top-notch company with a top-notch product or service that is not difficult to sell. Otherwise, good salespeople will go elsewhere where they get a big car and fat travel expenses to visit a bunch of potential clients or trade shows or conferences every day. That's how it works. As translators we want our work taken seriously, and it's the same for salespeople. Selling is hard work that needs to be taken seriously and to be compensated well.Collapse


Michael Wetzel
Nurettin Ceylan
Yolanda Broad
Zibow Retailleau
Teresa Borges
Jorge Payan
Rachel Waddington
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:54
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
This isn't difficult Oct 16

Lingua 5B wrote:
If you hate it, why do you believe someone else would do it for free?

Some individuals are natural salespeople and they love it. Some people are engineers. Some people are artists. Some people were born to be farmers. We're all different.

Anja's initiative is no more than a pragmatic recognition of this fact. No salesman works for free, but commission is very common in sales. Commission-only may well be successful, given that some people are happy to work on an eat-what-you-kill basis. If you're a really good seller, commission-only typically gives you much greater upside.

Dan


Michael Wetzel
Maciek Drobka
Zibow Retailleau
Anja Brito
Angelika Gruber
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 19:54
German to Serbian
+ ...
Yes, greater upside and greater risk. Oct 16

Dan Lucas wrote:
If you're a really good seller, commission-only typically gives you much greater upside.


Yes, greater upside and greater risk. As I said, a good salesperson would do it strictly on commission basis if they already tested the product (from the sales perspective) and can anticipate some sales happening based on trends, quota etc. This is mostly present in high-end physical products such as cars, real estate, etc.



[Edited at 2020-10-16 10:53 GMT]


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:54
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Sure Oct 16

Lingua 5B wrote:
Yes, greater upside and greater risk.

Agreed, but some people are cool with that. Everybody's risk-reward profile is different. You do need a lot of confidence in the product - and yourself - for a low base / commission only arrangement.

Dan


Anja Brito
 

Anja Brito  Identity Verified
Canada
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 17

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses and comments. It's always good to hear some other perspectives and it will give us some food for thought as we move forward.

 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:54
Serbian to English
+ ...
Interesting idea Oct 17

Anja Brito wrote:

I have joined forces with a few colleagues to form a small translation company/collective, and we are looking for someone to do business development and sales for us on a commission basis. Running into roadblocks (or very high costs) with posting a commission-based sales job on LinkedIn, Indeed, facebook and similar sites. Has anyone here successfully done this, i.e. found an external salesperson? If yes, how did you go about this, where did you search and/or advertise? Or does anyone here know someone who might be interested in such a job. It would be working from home, with some initial "legwork" to be put in, but good earning potential for the right person in the medium term.

[Bearbeitet am 2020-10-15 23:47 GMT]


IOW you are looking for a "translator's agent" to be more precise.

That could make sense - basically a one-man-band agency acting on behalf of translators instead of acting on behalf of "buyers" of language services. Same as some estate agents specialise in acting on behalf of buyers, instead of representing sellers.

Sounds like a sound idea.

But the devil is, as always, in the details.

Is there anything that would make your "group offer" more than just a sum of "individual offers". For how long your "agent" should keep getting a commission? Getting a client is lots of work, once the relation is established there is far less work required from the "agent" - at which point / after which period you would stop paying commissions on long-ago found clients? What would be the extent of this agent's involvement? Just finding clients or also doing the admin? And many other elements to think of in advance ...


Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:54
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Marketing and sales Oct 18

If a translator is very good at turning leads into business at rates high enough for your company to have a good margin, why would he or she work for your company as a salesperson? I guess they would rather keep the business to themselves, or should have long become outsourcers themselves.

 

Anja Brito  Identity Verified
Canada
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
sales person, not translator Oct 19

jyuan_us wrote:

If a translator is very good at turning leads into business at rates high enough for your company to have a good margin, why would he or she work for your company as a salesperson? I guess they would rather keep the business to themselves, or should have long become outsourcers themselves.




That's precisely why we are not looking for a translator to do sales for us (because you are right, why would they want to do that???), but for a salesperson (preferably with experience in/knowledge of the translation industry or at with B2B sales of business services). Think of it like hiring an accountant. You wouldn't hire a translator (who is good at doing his/her own accounts) to do you bookkeeping/accounting, but you would outsource this to an external accountant. We are looking to outsource sales to an external salesperson.


Angelika Gruber
 

Anja Brito  Identity Verified
Canada
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
translator's agent vs. salesperson Oct 19

Daryo wrote:

Anja Brito wrote:

I have joined forces with a few colleagues to form a small translation company/collective, and we are looking for someone to do business development and sales for us on a commission basis. Running into roadblocks (or very high costs) with posting a commission-based sales job on LinkedIn, Indeed, facebook and similar sites. Has anyone here successfully done this, i.e. found an external salesperson? If yes, how did you go about this, where did you search and/or advertise? Or does anyone here know someone who might be interested in such a job. It would be working from home, with some initial "legwork" to be put in, but good earning potential for the right person in the medium term.

[Bearbeitet am 2020-10-15 23:47 GMT]


IOW you are looking for a "translator's agent" to be more precise.

That could make sense - basically a one-man-band agency acting on behalf of translators instead of acting on behalf of "buyers" of language services. Same as some estate agents specialise in acting on behalf of buyers, instead of representing sellers.

Sounds like a sound idea.

But the devil is, as always, in the details.

Is there anything that would make your "group offer" more than just a sum of "individual offers". For how long your "agent" should keep getting a commission? Getting a client is lots of work, once the relation is established there is far less work required from the "agent" - at which point / after which period you would stop paying commissions on long-ago found clients? What would be the extent of this agent's involvement? Just finding clients or also doing the admin? And many other elements to think of in advance ...



Call it what you will, but yes, that's the general idea. We have thought this through quite in detail and would ensure that the salesperson also gets a commission on repeat business, as compensation for ongoing customer care. The difference being that as a group/collective, we can turn over a higher translation volume than as individuals, i.e. we'd have a greater scope in the size of projects we can accept which would result in a greater income potential for the salesperson, plus the salesperson would be dealing with us as one entity, as opposed to having to deal with several individuals.


 
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