Finding, and then contacting potential direct clients is not an easy job for translators.
Finding, and then contacting potential direct clients is not an easy job for translators. Today, companies are looking for someone who’s a lot more than just a great writer and translator: besides someone who can translate and offer background and cultural expertise, businesses are also looking for someone who understands their company’s vision. There are a number of relevant strategies for translators on how to market their translation services and deal with direct clients.
What Do Your Clients Need?
Perhaps the first step towards winning direct clients is to educate potential clients without pestering them. Yes, they need to know about the services we’re offering, but how do we get to these clients: how can we let them know that we are available to solve their problems? Our first suggestion is that you learn about their business and offer to help out with what they need most; always remembering that what you can do for them and what they need may be two entirely different things. For a translator to achieve the translation jobs they really want they have to be confident, find clients, and gain experience. This is done by listening to what clients really need, and delivering it to them by going that extra mile.
Think Outside the Box!
Start looking for direct clients by looking for businesses that are offering products or services that are new, complex, and expensive; a business that’s planning on expanding into a target market for your native language. Ideally, this will be a company with a lot of prepared documentation explaining about the products and/or services it’s offering. Now is the time for you as a translator to showcase your writing skills by providing this client with excellent copy in your target language. Businesses are generally looking for someone who is more than just a great writer and translator: as previously mentioned they’re looking for someone who can also provide cultural and background expertise - someone who understands the company’s vision.
So now you need to look beyond your usual contacts: look to the people they know; check out their circles online and ask yourself where you might do some meaningful work – by this we mean the type of work you not only enjoy, but excel at. These are the people you should be marketing to.
- Consider the people you already know in personal and professional circles;
- Consider the people you know, then think about where these people work. Could any of these companies be potential clients?
- What’s your favourite type of text? What’s your specialty? In what sector is it?
- Have you done previous work in that area? Request that a contact from a previous project supply you with a recommendation.
When you start your online research, go to LinkedIn and look at your contacts’ contacts: is there an area there where you may be able to fill a need? If there is an area of interest there, you should probably mention to your existing contact (as a matter of courtesy) that you may have found a potential lead on their profile list.
Focus More on Your Potential Clients
When you’re marketing your translation services, focus more on learning about the companies your clients run and how they’re organized. Shift your focus away from telling potential clients about your translation services. What are these clients looking for? What are their needs and wants and how can you help them? A great way of getting your foot in their door is to discover areas where the business needs help. Ask these clients what their communication needs are in relation to translation, cultural questions, or other services you may excel at. And remember to let them know about your certifications!