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Evolution Not Revolution: Mini Master Class with Jessica Rathke

 

One particularly interesting mini master class in which we took part at the ATC conference was that led by translation sales and marketing professional Jessica Rathke from L10N Sales & Marketing. This highly informative session led us through the current challenges our industry is facing and the importance of approaching your sales and marketing tactics in a way that diverges from the “beware-the-buyer” format that many mistake to be the primary form of gaining customers for your business.

Jessica began by considering the nature of the majority of our customers and its effect on the way we should approach them. Our customers tend to be “crazy-busy” people, with roles being spread over less people, leading to a busy working day with little or no time for being introduced to various services over the phone. A combination of the economic downturn and the drastic monopolization of the internet have led to translation being often regarded as a commodity which, in turn, reduces the pricing power of the supplier because people these days are far more likely to select their supplier on the basis of price over quality. This intense price competition, coupled with an instability created through numerous mergers and acquisitions mean that a sound marketing strategy is as crucial as ever. It is time, then, to approach sales in a less reactive way in order for it to be effective.

There are so many assumptions that people make about sales and salespeople, something which Jessica aptly detailed in her master class. She began by suggesting that an unclear sales strategy, not being able to clearly define what is “more” or what exactly are we trying to achieve, may be one issue that needs targeting for some. Perhaps one is measuring the wrong things; what needs to be done is to measure what causes things to happen rather than just what happens, as without this it is difficult to use the information to your advantage when you plan your sales approach.

You may achieve getting in direct contact with a prospective client, but one of any number of obstacles prevents you from acquiring this sale. They may;

  1. a)Be extremely busy
  2. b)Already have a supplier they are happy with
  3. c)Have a supplier that they are required to use firm-wide
  4. d)Be risk aversive and therefore uncomfortable about change
  5. e)Be keen to cut costs where possible
  6. f)Be required to involve others in purchasing/supplier decisions

It is important therefore to consider the reasons behind each of these responses and come up with ways of diminishing them in order to recommend your own services to them. For example, if they are busy you could find another appropriate contact to have a discussion with, or arrange another time to speak, making them aware that you could in fact help ease their work load in the long term. If they are risk aversive, you must reflect on how to make it easier for customers to change their status quo.

Jessica pointed out that the same person may be receiving several similar calls from various similar companies, and for this reason it is crucial to distinguish yourself as a company in some way. Buyers will change suppliers if they feel that the services offered are consistent with their activities and objectives as a business, and if the supplier proffers a collaborative attitude that lets them know that their services exist to make things easier for their clients. If the supplier can help the buyer to justify the costs of the work, to avoid potential pitfalls and to understand exactly how their work can solve the buyer’s problems, this is how they can expect to establish a relationship with them. It is also crucial to maintain relationships with your current clients; asking for feedback from them can function as dual mechanism in that you are showing that you always want to provide the best possible service, whilst using that information to reiterate to potentials.

In conclusion to this enlightening seminar, Jessica left us all with one very true thought;

Think about what happens if translation doesn’t…

 

For more information about what Jessica does at L10N Sales and Marketing, do visit their website.




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