I am now VP of Marketing at Andovar, but I worked as a Business Development Manager before for four years. I have to admit – I didn’t really know what I was doing in the beginning. But over time I gained experience and learned things about selling localization services (or just selling in general) I wish I knew from the start. Here are the most important ones.
Disclaimer! This is just my own opinion. It might not be what works for you. I would love to hear what you think, but since there is no commenting option here, feel free to comment on this post on our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.
Here we go.
- Be in it for the long run. You’re not going to get big sales right off the bat. In fact, you’re not likely to get any sales for quite some time when you first start. That’s not just because you are new or not good at selling. Rather, selling localization tends to be a longer process than selling burgers, so don’t expect anyone to buy on your first call. If they talk to you, ask for more information, reply to emails, but don’t commit to anything for a while, don’t worry. That’s how it works. So be patient and keep your eye on the prize. Keep in touch, follow up and make them feel confident that you are not a fly-by-night operation that just wants to take their money and run, but they can count on you for the long term.
- People buy from people. Don’t be a cold-calling, email-sending automaton. Yes, you will need to reach out to a lot of people and only a small percentage of them will reply or be interested in your services, but that doesn’t mean you should be sending the same boring email to everyone or reading from the script on every call. That’s what mass emailing platforms are for, not humans. So find out at least the most basic facts about people you contact, such as who they are in the organization, what their companies do and where localization fits in all that. Not only will your emails or calls be much more pleasant to the recipients, but they are guaranteed to be more successful too.
- Prioritize. If you send 100 emails and get 5 replies, stop sending more emails and give those 5 your full attention. Reply to them right away, answer any questions they have, learn more about them and do your best to make them feel important. Because they are. It’s those 5 that are a miles closer to becoming your customers than any of the remaining 95. Then, after you follow up and one of those five seems to be seriously interested, again give that one your all. Don’t waste time prospecting, when you have a perfect prospect waiting to hear back from you.
- Know your stuff. For all the talk about commoditization, buying localization is still not the same as buying apples. There is much more to it than the price and you want your prospects to realize that. If they believe that cost is the only thing that matters, they won’t buy from you, but will use Google Translate or some “online translation marketplace” service anyway. At the end of the day, they don’t just want words translated, they want their website, document or product to work, look and sell well to speakers of the new languages. So answer all their questions, especially the ones they didn’t even know they should be asking. Learn about localization and how to reply to common concerns. This will set you apart from all the other sales people who only know how to sell, but fumble when faced with a specific question.
- It’s not all about you. Yes, your job is to sell, you want your commission and you don’t want to get fired for not meeting your quota. But you won’t get far if you only talk about how great your company is and how you are better than everyone else. Listen to your clients, learn about their situation and how you fit (or not!) into the equation. Clients buy when:
- The time is right
- The price is right
- Your service and how you present it answers their need
- They feel confident you’ll do a good job
Not a day sooner than that.
- Don’t sell and forget. Even after the sale is closed, the contract is signed, and work starts – keep in touch. Don’t just abandon the relationship you’ve built with the client and hand it off to someone else. One of the reasons they signed that quote is because you convinced them they can rely on you. You, not the other guy. Even if they are perfectly competent, friendly and know more about how to proceed with the project than you, they are still a stranger to your client. Misunderstandings can easily happen between strangers and all the hard work you’ve put into winning the account and building trust can be lost overnight. Remember, it’s much easier to increase your sales by growing an existing account or getting referrals from satisfied customers than when you have to start from scratch.
I hope that was useful to all new sales reps out there!
Once again, I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic on one of Andovar’s social media channels listed above. You can also get in touch with me directly via my LinkedIn profile.