I have a translation agency nearly six months old.. I have had a few clients (Japan, Germany, UK, Canada). However, I do wonder how other agencies manage to get their clients, such as Siemens , Bosch, RBS, etc... How do they attract client, and inquiries? Is this all down to Google?
Can any successfull entrepeneur on here help me out? I really want to drive my agency/website forward, whatever it takes.
Thank you all in advance.
No, it's certainly not "down to Google".
Only the people who work for the agencies in question can tell you exactly how they do it (and they have no reason to do that). However, it's a safe bet that they earned their success by providing a top-quality service, at a price the client was willing to pay. Other factors probably included having a good availability of translators with specialist knowledge of the subject matter, and the willingness of the translators to work closely with the client and to provide a personal service.
Google might help you in making contact with new prospects, but when it comes to converting the prospects into clients, and retaining those clients in the long term, only you and your translators can do that. There is no secret in this. It's something that every successful entrepreneur already knows.
Get on the phone and call companies. Call, say, 5 companies every day, and battle your way through until you're talking to someone who can purchase your services. Tell them who you are and what you offer. Take it from there.
But calling 5 companies per day is not as easy as it sounds, of course. It will take many 'dials' before you succeed in getting useful conversations with the right people in 5 companies. So this requires persistence and discipline.
There is no easy way of attracting good clients. If there was, everyone would be doing it. Relying on Google is rather passive and wishy-washy. Much better to do something positive, and take control of the process.
What a brilliant question!
Anyhow, it's not down to Google, but instead it's ALL down to appearances and connections, nothing more!
You need to define a real appearance for yourself and shape yourself in a manner which appeals to your potential customers. This not only covers basic promotional material like business cards, letterheads, stationary and advertising, but also includes things like pricing.
Your pricing says something very important about your business. Charging little would attract small fish, charging a lot would attract bigger fish. So your prices defines your market.
I recently had a meeting with a prospect who wanted something cheap to start-up as she was starting out. Using professional templates you can easily create a professional appearing website, which would at least give her a professional online presence.
She was using 3.50GBP for 500 stock business cards and some home printed letterheads. In her defence she was only starting out so she would not know if the business would work.
If you value your business cards the same price as a cup of coffee from Starbucks then this will speak for it's self to your customers. Clearly what is says would loose you more prospects than gain them.
Builder type jobs (handy men, joiners, plumbers, tilers, electricians etc.) require something cheap and practical, whereas office jobs and corporate businesses require something more polished and prestigious.
So how do you land those BIG FISH from your appearance?
Create a polished image for yourself, make yourself look professional whether your working from home or an office block, keep in mind your target market, and price yourself accordingly.
I am not saying to spend a fortune on your appearance or charge them an arm and a leg, but at least make your business look good and charge something that they would consider.
Let's get down to the connections.
A lot of people land jobs because of the people they know. This has primarily to do with trust and goodwill.
Many even say to me, "if it wasn't for your dad we would not have used you", not that my dad knows anything about web design, but if it works for them, it's good enough for me.
People need connections in order to preserve trust within their business partners, this holds true for big international companies such as the ones you mentioned.
If they don't know anybody within their company who knows somebody who can help them, THEN they will ask several companies to pitch, and the ones that look the part (i.e. have a professional corporate image and are well presented) would be the ones who they would generally want to side with.
Those international firms you spoke off aren't anything like your smaller fish. When they want, THEY WANT, and really they do! They normally have dozens if not hundreds of employees with clashing opinions and a huge EGO somewhere in the middle.
Your pricing has to be higher to be reflectant on those demands and you must be deadly clear with them from the beginning with the support and guidance given. Always record and protect yourself for future reference. As a result of the amount of people in these big firms, conflicts are a possibility if not a certainty.
I know it probably does not sound that fun, which it probably isn't.
I personally don't care how big or small they are, if they are willing to pay for my time and consider my advice seriously, then they are good enough for me.
As a rule of thumb I see customers for what their money is.
On the end of the day, you need people who not only have money but are willing to spend it for what they want.
Many of those big firms like to feel that you should be honored to have their privaleage and would subsiquently want you to work for nothing as their business name is somehow worth more to you than your livelyhood. That all being well and good does not really work well for most. No doubt they will find somebody willing to do it, just it rather was not you.
It's about finding the balanced client, but as I say, the main thing is their money and their willingness to part with it.
I hope this rather lengthy explanation as helped you and I apologize in advance if this reply has come off a little negative as this was not my intention, intead I hope to higlight some home truths.
As a startup you will not be able to get into multi national corporations immediately
I am sure there are other large companies who already have contracts with such companies
So you will have to work your way through smaller companies
The easier way is to take a niche within and specialize on it
Select a profitable niche to specialize within the translation area
This way your company becomes known as the web translation company or the software manual translation company etc.
Use this angle to get into the larger companies and you will eventually be there