Three Reasons to Keep Your Clients Engaged with You When You're Not Translating Their Content

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Keeping clients engaged is not as hard or as uncomfortable as it may sound. Not even close. If you want to stop working on those "one and done" client projects, then you have to stop being a "one and done" translator or interpreter. Look at every job as an opportunity for an ongoing business relationship. But like all good relationships, you have to cultivate this one.

Here are three reasons you ought to be engaging with your clients between your translation and interpreting jobs.

1. It shows that you care about having a lasting business relationship. After all, these are the people who put food on your table. When you engage with a client around the actual paid portion of work, you show that you're worth more than the line item that shows up on their expense sheet. By providing value in more ways than simply handing over the service you provide as a translator or interpreter, you might even be sealing an impression that keeps you on as a contractor for the long haul. People like to do business with people they like and trust. So... help them like and trust you.

2. It helps you to stay top of mind. Even if your client doesn't have a current project for you, he/she can refer you to others who do. These referrals will help fuel and grow your business, too. Never underestimate the power of referrals. When I took a hard look at how much of my business was based on referrals, I was shocked to see it was well over 50%!

To learn more about using referrals wisely, check out How to Use Referrals and Grow Your Client List.

3. It allows you to stay on top of the new things that are happening with your clients and with which you might be able to help. I can't tell you how many times I've simply sent off an email to a client to ask how things are going for them only to receive a tidbit of news or a mention of something that truly helps me to understand my client better. Perhaps your client has plans to grow in a new market. Do you translate that type of content? If you don't yet, could you? Or maybe they are planning to cut back on their budget. That doesn't mean you should stop engaging with them, but it does mean that you should plan ahead and perhaps start marketing to more clients in a similar industry so that your income doesn't suffer when you start to see the effects of that client's reduced budget. The information that comes from staying engaged with clients is valuable in so many ways. Don't overlook the possibilities!

By now I hope I've convinced you of the importance of engaging with your clients even when you're not actually working on one of their projects.

You might now be thinking, "How can I best engage with my customers between jobs?" I'll be covering exactly how to engage your clients and effectively network with them online in my upcoming webinars, How to Effectively Network with T&I Clients Online to Build and Maintain Lasting Business Relationships and How to Leverage Your Online Presence to Market Your Translation or Interpreting Business.

How to Take the Fear Out of Networking and Own Your Message as a Translator OR Interpreter

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A lot of us have a less than loving relationship with networking. I'll be honest. I've never really enjoyed it. And while I don't think I'd consider myself a true introvert, I do like to think of myself as a "webtrovert", i.e. someone who feels more comfortable interacting for the first time with clients and leads online rather than in person.

It's not that I'm opposed to meeting clients face-to-face. I often do, but ask me to go to a networking event, and I'll probably think of ten other things I'd rather be doing. I don't love to be thrown into situations where I don't know anyone in the room or I think I may not be making the best use of my time. However, if I can take some time to prepare in advance of the conversation, I feel more in control of or like I have more of an influence on the outcome. Of course, there's no guarantee, but I do prefer to feel prepared than caught off guard. My guess is you do, too.

So, how do we take the fear or discomfort out of networking and really own the message we want to share as translators and interpreters?

My suggestion: online networking… especially because of the industry in which we've chosen to work. As translators and interpreters, we don't always have the ability to meet our clients in person. Some of us work with clients in other states and countries. That's why we sure as heck better know how to effectively networking with them online.

Here are my top tips for taking the fear and discomfort out of networking.

● Set up a time to network every day. Yes, every day. Or at the very least, a few times a week. You set the time. Put it on your calendar or in your agenda, and show up for it like you would a meeting with a client. Decide how to best make use of this time by preparing and providing them with value. That value will look different for each of us. That's why it's best to know and understand the needs of your ideal clients.

To read more about how to know and target your ideal clients, check out How to Determine and Attract Your Ideal Client and How to Create and Ideal T&I Client Profile to Market Your Services.

● Use this time to interact with your clients or potential future clients. Send some warm emails or engage with them on social media. Give them a call, or send them a handwritten note. All of these things can be done on your own time and do not require you to attend an event or have an awkward conversation.

● Treat your online networking efforts as market research. The more you get to know your clients, the more information you can "swipe" for future marketing campaigns and messaging.

To learn more about what "swipe files" are and how they can work for you, check out Why You Need to Keep Swipe Files for Your T&I Business.

● Set aside some time or a specific day each week in which you can meet with your clients virtually. You can easily set up appointments these days with online calendar tools, like Google, Calendly, etc. It's just as important to stay in touch with and meet with current clients so that they know you are available and excited to continue working with them. Tell them what you're working on and ask what they're working on as well. Engage. Engage. Engage. This is not the time to sell. Just engage.

● In advance of the networking session or meeting, take some time to get to know the person you are meeting by looking them up online. See if they have a blog, or published articles, if they've won any awards, if they have been mentioned or interviewed recently. See what they're posting on their social media platforms. Do your homework. A feeling of preparedness will allow you to show your interest in working with the client and will also give you some potential topics of conversation.

When you take the time to schedule these things, you will start to see the benefits of networking this way.

● You are in control of the "when" and "where". No longer will you be caught off guard by a direct question from a potential client.

● You can feel comfortable meeting someone from the familiar surroundings of your home office or workspace instead of having to pay $15 to $20 for an event and trying to juggle finger foods, a drink and hold an intelligent conversation.

● You can easily schedule your work around these networking sessions because they are short, focused and you won't be spending valuable time driving to and from an event.

● You are able to make sure that you meet with someone who you actually have a desire to do business with, and not just the person who ends up standing next to you in the buffet line at a large networking event. This type of networking allows you to be strategic.

● You can continue to get to know your clients and hone your message. Practice makes perfect, right? The more you take the time to network online with your clients, the better you will get at it. It will no longer feel like an uncomfortable task to help you market and grow your business. It will simply be a part of doing business.

Don't like the idea of a virtual session? Pick up the phone. Prefer to meet the client in person over a meal? If they're local to you, schedule it! Once you are able to comfortably network with clients on your terms, whether virtually or in person, you can really craft and refine your message so that marketing and networking become second nature. See what works for you and what doesn't. And go from there.

Networking doesn't have to be something that makes your hands sweat just thinking about it. It can be fun to do the research to get to know a client better before you have that first conversation. It also helps your clients get to know you better and trust you. After all, people like to do business with people they like and trust. Own your networking skills. Own your message. Grow your business.

To read even more networking tips, check out my Seven Tips for Effective Networking When You Work from Home.

And finally, if you'd like to learn more about how to hone your online networking skills and build better and lasting business relationships with your clients, sign up for one of my upcoming webinars, How to Effectively Network with T&I Clients Online to Build and Maintain Lasting Business Relationships and How to Leverage Your Online Presence to Market Your Translation or Interpreting Business today!

Why Translators and Interpreters Should Virtually Meet Potential Direct Clients

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Meeting clients face-to-face isn't only for those who do business locally. As we work in an industry in which a lunch meeting or a quick coffee break with a direct client can be difficult, given geographic constraints, we should not use this excuse to simply correspond with clients via email all the time. In fact, we should all make a point to "meet" new clients, even if they never end up signing on the dotted line. By taking the time to meet your potential direct clients, you're able to prove your professionalism, allow them to get a feel for what it's like to work with you from the start, and uncover goals they have that you can assist them in reaching.

The next time a potential direct client requests a quote via email or a form on your website, refrain from sending the quote back to them immediately via email. Sometimes we rush to do this only to hear crickets afterwards. Remember, direct clients are usually in less of a hurry than translation agency clients, so you have some time to make a good first impression!

Send the client a link to your Google, Calendly, Apple, etc. calendar, and have them choose a 15- to 30-minute time slot to meet with you virtually or by phone. Schedule the meeting via a platform like Skype, FaceTime or Zoom, and set up a time to talk about their needs, goals and the why behind the translation or interpretation request. This will allow you to uncover much more about them than you could in a quick set of back-and-forth emails. It also gives you space to talk about the value you bring to the table rather than simply corresponding about price. After all, competing on price will get us nowhere fast!

Once you have the meeting time set up, take a half hour to research the client online. Look carefully at their website. Research news stories or press releases about them. Peruse their social media channels. Take a look at the LinkedIn profile of the person who reached out to you. Find out anything and everything you can about the size of their business, their goals, new ventures, etc. Just by doing some homework ahead of time, you may find that you can help a new client in ways they aren't even inquiring about… yet. For example, do they have a poorly translated website? Are they using a Google Translate button as a crutch instead of having a professional translate the key areas of the site that could help them reach a new market?

When you finally meet with the potential client, you can ask them key questions in addition to the typical questions you'd ask of a client. Make sure you cover topics that will help you uncover more information that allows you to better articulate your value. Here are a few questions to get you started.

○ What has your previous experience been with translation or interpreting?

○ What is the goal you want to achieve by having this document professionally translated/this meeting professionally interpreted?

○ What are the characteristics you are looking for in a professional translator/interpreter?

○ What would this translation/interpretation do for you? What problem(s) would it help solve?

○ If we were to meet a year from now over coffee, what would you like to be telling me about this project or the goals you had a year ago?

By meeting with someone to find out more about the why behind their request, you are able to truly nail down the actual value you bring to the table as a trusted colleague and team player. This information is priceless and can be used moving forward with other clients as well. Having this knowledge can help you set your price with the client, because you know that you are providing a service that enables them to reach a goal, and that helps them to achieve more. Without you, they might not be able to do so.

When you meet your clients online (virtually), you are able to put a face to a name and professional. You are also more likely to win a new client's trust, as they will now know who you are and will be more likely to want to engage with you. People like to do business with those they like and trust.

If meeting a client in a virtual session makes you sweat, at least set up a proper phone call with your potential clients before you send back a quote. Otherwise, you'll just be like every other translator or interpreter out there who shoots off rapid-fire quotes based on a generic rate sheet. All this allows you to do is compete on price, and that is the last thing you want to do. Make a lasting impression, and give your client the courtesy of getting to know (and trust) you.

If you are looking to boost your online networking game with direct clients, make sure you check out my upcoming webinars How to Effectively Network with T&I Clients Online to Build and Maintain Lasting Business Relationships and How to Leverage Your Online Presence to Market Your Translation or Interpreting Business.

How to Nail the "About" Section of Your T&I Business Website

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The "About" section of your business website is arguably the most important page to get right. Why's that? Your "About" page section allows people to get to know you. It also lets you show potential clients what it will be like to work with you. After all, people do business with those they like (and sometimes those they are like). So, use your "About" page to shine, and really toot your own horn. There's no need to be salesy, but you will want to be specific and brief, since you have little time to impress those who visit your page and read about you for the first time. You have less than 30 seconds to impress someone in order to keep them interested enough to stay on your site, so it is crucial to get it right.

That's why nailing the "About" page of your website is so vital. People want to know who you are and how you're qualified before they hire you to translate a document or interpret for their next meeting. Sure, it's fine to go and look at the "About" section of others who work in our industry to get an idea of how to construct this page on your website. But here's where I'd tell you to stay in your lane. Before you follow the lead of others, use your research on what others do to really take a hard look at how how you can be different. Remember, you want to stand out from the crowd in order for a client to choose you over someone else who provides the same or similar services.

How do you do this? The answer lies in giving potential clients a better idea of who you are and what it's like to work with you. Here is an example (admittedly, one I made up for the purpose of this post) of a truly different and effective "About" description.


Olá! My name is Susan Duncan… I am a small town Portuguese to English translator who serves big town clients all over the world by delivering translations of their marketing and communications content. I've found that companies in Portuguese-speaking countries struggle to find professional translators who really understand the corporate culture when they start to do business in and market their products in the United States. I've helped numerous clients refine their email campaigns, advertisements, internal and external communications, brand identity and social media messaging so that they can conduct business successfully in the American market and gain peace of mind in the process.

It's easy to see that this translator mentions all the key areas that a client would wish to know about the work she does: her profession, language pair and the type of translations she is able to handle. She also touches on a pain point that she knows her clients have and how she can solve this problem for them. The description is effective because Susan tells clients that when they work with her, they will gain peace of mind and will be able to conduct business successfully in the American market. This type of language not only taps into the emotion of the buyer, but it also builds confidence within the reader.

You may have noticed that there is no long list of coursework or trainings, certifications, certificates, awards or achievements. Why's that? While still important to mention, these are items that do not necessarily have to be wrapped into the "About" section of your website. By keeping the "About" section brief and above the fold (i.e. the part of the website that is shown when someone first lands on the page before having to scroll down), Susan is able to capture the attention of the reader. Once the reader decides that he wants to know more, he will click to other pages on the website to get more information.

So, where should you put things like your education, trainings, achievements, memberships, etc.? I would argue that these are fine to put below the fold (i.e. the area of the page that is seen once the reader scrolls down) on the "About" page, or even on another page of the site. In order to avoid long lists or bulky paragraphs, consider using logos to represent education, memberships and other key information.

If you are an interpreter, you could even create a video for your "About" page instead of writing a description. Video is a very effective form of marketing these days. And what better way to allow your clients to hear how you speak and see your professionalism firsthand than through a video where they can get to know you better?

Finally, don't forget to utilize the "About" page of your website in other ways as well. Link your directory listings and profiles from organizations to which you belong back to this page or to the homepage of your website. Utilize every platform where people can find more information about you and drive all the traffic from those platforms back to your website. This is key to getting more work from the clients you want to target.

The "About" page of your website is bound to be one of the pages with the highest number of views, so you should always make sure it's up to date. Over time, this page is bound to change, just as your business does, as you do, and as your ideal client does. You may not always have the same type of ideal client. This is yet another reason to continue to update your "About" page at least once a year. Remember to include the type of work you want to do, not necessarily the work you are doing now. There is sometimes a difference, especially if you are just starting out or if you are looking to shift your specialization(s), so craft the description of yourself and your work to benefit you in the long term.

To read more about how to target your ideal translation or interpreting clients, check out How to Determine and Attract Your Ideal Client, How to Build a T&I Resume That Sells, and How to Create an Ideal T&I Client Profile to Market Your Services.

And if you want to learn more about how to network effectively with clients online, sign up for one of the two webinars I'll be hosting in August. In this 90-minute webinar, you will better understand how to make a positive first impression beyond the content on your "About" page. You will also learn strategies to maintain lasting and genuine business relationships with clients by using the online platforms at your fingertips.

How to Create an Ideal T&I Client Profile to Market Your Services

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It is incredibly important to know your ideal client if your marketing efforts are going to be effective. After all, we want to work with our ideal clients, and not just anyone who crosses our paths, right? I mentioned recently in a webinar that I created an ideal client profile and its usefulness in creating effective marketing content in my business.

One of the attendees asked me if I could show an example of an ideal client profile and how to create one, so I'm breaking it all down for you right here. I've even thrown in examples from my own translation client profile!

● Start with creating your ideal client avatar.

     ○ Find an image that depicts your ideal client. This way, whenever you create new marketing content, you have an image of this person in your head and you know that this is who you are talking to and targeting in your marketing campaigns.

     ○ Give your ideal client a name (also called a user persona).

     ○ Give them a position or title.

     ○ Include demographic information:

          ■ gender

          ■ age

          ■ education/background

          ■ marital status

          ■ salary

          ■ where he/she lives

          ■ number of children, etc.

     ○ Include information about his/her personality. What does he/she:

          ■ like to do outside of work?

          ■ like to watch on TV?

          ■ like to buy (what brands and where does he/she shop)?

          ■ drive?

          ■ wear?

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● Then, describe how you can be your ideal client's best choice of translator or interpreter.

     ○ What are his/her goals at home and at work? What does he/she aspire to do in his/her career?

     ○ What are his/her pain points/challenges?

     ○ What outcomes does he/she want?

     ○ What services do you offer that can help relieve his/her pains/

     ○ What services do you offer that help him/her reach goals?

     ○ What pains can you kill? What gains can you create?

     ○ How did he/she find you?

     ○ What makes him/her engage with you?

     ○ What makes him/her return to work with you?

     ○ What makes him/her recommend you to someone else?

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● Finally, create your marketing content based on what you know about your ideal client. Be creative!

     ○ How did he/she find you?

     ○ What makes him/her engage with you?

     ○ What makes him/her return as a customer?

     ○ What makes him/her recommend you?

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Once you can summarize this information related to your ideal client, you will have an ideal client profile that will inform all of your marketing decisions and efforts. All of your marketing efforts should be geared toward this type of client. You need to know this person before you can market to them. So, now that you do, create those marketing campaigns that you know will speak to them on a personal level. You can do this via social media posts, emails, blogs, etc., and always remember to keep them in mind every time you create a new piece of marketing content.

For more information on how to network effectively with your ideal clients online, sign up for one of the two webinars I'll be hosting in August. In this 90-minute webinar, you will better understand how to make a positive first impression with your ideal client now that you have created your ideal client profile. You will also learn strategies to maintain lasting and genuine business relationships with clients by using the online platforms at your fingertips.