How to find direct clients?
We all accept that it is not a hocus-pocus thing to find a customer and we can not force any client into a life long contract. It is our way of practice and method and techniques that we use to bring us new clients or keep any client we have.
1. Advertise yourself if you can. Do not ever spam people who may be your prospective customers. There are varieties of methods for advertising yourself. Your budget and other abilities you have will determine how and what to choose.
2. Register yourself as a Limited Liability Company or free-lance business owner in your local Chamber of Commerce. Have your service business listed in their directory. Forget not that you need to be there when people need you. And most of the time you must go to them before they come to you.
3. Advertise yourself in the most read and the most applied book, “yellow pages or telephone book” in your area. It may be better to put out a visible advertisement. If that is not possible, have your services appear in the book at least as a listing. Use small community publications that you think the audience may use your service.
4. Do not underestimate or neglect intelligence of others including your customers and your prospects.
5. First, search in your area, in your city or in your state small and mid size companies that may have translation work. Make a list and regularly approach them in a good way. Use variety of methods to reach them. Send post cards, other mailing materials, newsletter etc. Carefully write the content of these materials. If possible, let a few people read the content and comment.
6. Write a script to use when you call a prospective client. Your call is very important. First do role-plays before you start to call your prospective customer list.
7. Do not get disappointed with NO answers, call after a while again. Keep that in mind that this is your professional work and you should continue. Down the road you will see that every effort you put out will return to you as money.
8. Do not ever ask close-ended questions. Use open-ended questions and try to moderate the communication between you and your prospect. Let him know that you are reliable.
9. Always give yourself extra time and do not underestimate. Translation takes time! It is better to have a couple of extra days than doing a work that is full of stress. This way you may even risk your clients' business in the future.
10. Do not pretend that you are a big corporation owner, be yourself. People would like to work with someone who is one of them.
11. Do not answer phones if you are having dinner, lunch, or if your baby is crying. Let your answering machine do the good work once in a while. You call your client or prospective client back. Do not take a day or two before you get back to him. He may need you desperately and it may be urgent. Remember, majority of first time clients are the ones that have an urgent work. If you solve their problem, they will keep that in mind and they may come back more often.
12. Prepare well-written customizable cover letters and edit a few times before you start to use them. Make a price/rate chart that is easy to understand and make it ready to be e-mailed in different formats.
13. Attend activities in your community like school, church, volunteer work, etc and let other people know you are a free-lance translator.
14. If you live in small communities or in rural areas, let other people know in a suitable way that you have a family and you are accustomed to handle responsibilities.
15. Tell your colleagues, friends and family members and remind them once in a while what you do!
16. Get equipped well. Besides your computer you may need some peripherals such as scanner, printer, fax, USB stick, high speed internet connection and answering machine etc.
17. Obtain services that facilitate your work and your client’s work. Internet service, P. O. Box, toll free number, shipping service when necessary (UPS, FedEx, DHL etc) and technical services for your PC etc.
18. Get a good diary or a hand-held device that can function as one. Enter every activity into your diary and get used to do this always.
19. Try to be reachable. Get a mobile telephone and/or beeper to let others reach you when out of office.
20. Apply the 2-minute rule. If you can do something within 2 minutes, then do not delay it and try to do it right away. If delayed it will cost you more time. This will make you get rid of your stress faster.
21. Make the work of your client or your prospective client your “number 1” priority. Let them feel that. Once they observe that they are in your priority list they will come to you easily. This will bring the most important advertisement tool: the Word of Mouth (or as some people say mouth-to -mouth) Marketing.