Visiting potential clients?
Thread poster: Maria Simmen

Maria Simmen
Local time: 19:18
English to German
+ ...
Mar 18, 2010

Hello everybody,

While browsing this forum for ideas I read that some people have sucessfully attracted clients by visiting their offices. Since the weather is becoming nicer I thought I might venture out and give that a try.icon_wink.gif But I soon discovered that, in the age of e-mails and Skype, apparently nobody sees the need for a personal visit anymore! I called around a couple of agencies near where I live to make an appointment and was constantly told to send my stuff by e-mail.

Of course there is no acutal need to meet the freelancer before assigning a job. But since I'm not targeting any bottom feeder agencies but those intending to deliver (and hence receive) professional services, I though a professional encounter might be a nice touch.

Did anybody recently experience the same and do you think personal encounters really are that outdated?



John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Visit anyway Mar 18, 2010

I have always found that visiting is an excellent approach for winning new clients.

If somebody does not want to meet when you phone then it may be that they do not believe your language pair is useful for them.

If you feel that somebody is likely to need your services and they do not wish to meet - then just visit anyway. You have nothing to lose except a little pride.

In this age of globalisation many people still like to meet face to face and buy locally.


Maria Simmen
Local time: 19:18
English to German
+ ...
Really? Mar 18, 2010

Thanks, John. Have you acutally done this, visiting them anyway after being told that an e-mail will do? Because this might come across a bit pushy, I feel.

My langauge pair is quite crowded so I'm having a hard time to convince the person on the other end why they should grant me an audience. But never mind, plenty of other fish in the river Rhine!


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No good with agencies I guess... Mar 18, 2010

...unless you really have a breathtaking CV. Agencies are generally stuffed with CVs...

However, preparing profesionally-formatted advertising materials and business cards about your services and visiting potential end customers in industries you know well (i.e. you are sure you can hit a good translation in your first job for them) is a good option in my opinion.

End customers will value the fact that you know about their industry, can name the machines and technology you see in their offices and plants, and are interested in supplying quality translations they surely need. Or at least that is what I have experienced when meeting end customers. Maybe it is an option for you.

You must however be prepared to offer a full service, also comprising translation in other combinations (you could form alliances with quality translators in other pairs who are good in your same specialties), DTP, terminology research.... the works. End customers don't know a thing about CAT tools, TMs, TBs, POs, PMs, MT, etc. and they just need the work done, with perfect quality and with a minimum of hassle.


Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:18
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
end customers Apr 5, 2010

I did not try that, but my "freelance translator model"icon_razz.gif started like this, in a period when internet connection and generally computers were not common and it worked for him. Much elder than me, he has almost the same permanent clients now, which would probably never use translation services of someone else for those language pairs.

He told me that he had to face different strange situations and reactions while visiting the end customers' offices. It seemed that they would never contact him. But actually they did, cause we are those who offer the services, they do need us.


United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
. Apr 5, 2010

I think there are two situations in which a personal visit is a good idea:

If you're starting out in the profession, in which case I would say not "I want to tell you about my services" but "I'm new to translating and I wonder if you could spare half an hour to give me a few pointers".

If you have a close relationship with a client but have never met them face to face. I've done this a few times, and it's been time very well spent - though I still have one client I've been doing business with for about 15 years and have never bothered to meet.


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