As an interpreter, not only do you accept assignments, you’re also constantly selling yourself and your services to agencies, businesses, and other potential clients. As a customer in everyday life, I’m sure your runner instinct activates the moment you spot a sales pitch. This is completely natural. I don’t like being sold to either. Like everyone else, we like to believe that we make decisions because we want to, not because we are told to.
But to grow your business and expand your clientele, selling is necessary. Instead of shoving information down a prospect’s throat, however, find ways to connect with them instead. Jeff Gitomer, author of the Little Red Book of Sales Answers, always says, “if the customer says they are not interested, you’re not interesting.” We need to make ourselves more interesting to give prospects a reason to spare their time of day.
I had the pleasure of hearing Jost Zetzche, co-author of Found in Translations, speak at this year’s ATA Annual Conference on the power of stories. We are all about stories, he says. Not only do stories define us, they also allow others a peak into our world, and allow others to connect with us through the shared anecdotes. When people become engaged with your stories, they will feel a connection growing.
People like to buy from people they like, so take the time to build rapport. Connect with your prospects by having a conversation. Ask them questions and find out what their needs and wants are. This will be a start for you and help open doors.
When there are an array of service providers offering similar options, what you do to set yourself apart by engaging the client is what’ll give you the business.
Good luck, and happy connecting!