How do I do, Sir, how do I behave?
Last time I ended on a question: How do you make them like you? And actually, the situation when I submit a manuscript isn’t all that different from when I try to find clients for a translation agency. The service and the target audience are a bit different, but the same basics apply. If anything, I’m in a better situation when I send out a manuscript, because I know I’ve got the acquisitions manager on the other end. It’s their job to read those letters and try to figure out which one to buy. If any.
This is where it helps to be professional.
Imagine that you’re a salesperson trying to sell them something. A new office chair. Or better still, something expensive, like a new telephone switchboard. How do you go about it?
One possible strategy is to tell them how much you want to sell it, because you need the money.
Rather silly, right?
So... tell them how much they’re going to like it, maybe? Or hand out chocolate? Or print a leaflet saying All Brand New, Be The First In Your Block To Own One?
Are you selling any switchboards?
No, you’re not. What you need to tell them is how much more money they’re going to make when they have the brand new switchboard. They’re going to like it, but not because it’s green, but because it filters out useless salespeople like yourself so they can focus on making their own sales calls. Or whatever.
In short: What’s in it for them?
That’s how you do business. You tell the prospective customer how they’re going to benefit from owning whatever it is you have to sell. (And one thing you’ve never seen, not even in your spam email, is advertising telling you how stupid you are for not buying the product. Insulting the customer is not the way to make them change their mind, it’s the way to make them tell all their friends what a loser you are.)
And since it’s B2B, you simply point out the strengths of your product, in a low-key manner. You’re quietly confident. Because you know that you have the best product on the market. At least, that’s the impression you want to give.
And if they disagree, you smile, wish them a nice day, and move on. It wasn’t for them. They already bought a new switchboard, or only have one phone, or prefer them in yellow, or promised to buy their cousin’s old one. Whatever the reason, it’s not your problem. Forget them already, there’s another waiting for your call.
And if you do this consistently, you will, underneath it all, give the message they really want to hear. You show them that you understand their situation. You show them that your goal is aligned with theirs—to make copies fly off the shelves and be brought home by readers. You show them that you’re easy to do business with.
There’s no way to over-estimate that. I have about 100 suppliers that I use with some regularity. Most of them aren’t the cheapest, or the best quality, or the fastest delivery.
They’re easy to do business with. Things may go wrong, but they take it seriously and do whatever they can to fix it. They don’t argue endlessly over small issues, but see to it that the greater picture works. They want the same things I want. They want my clients to be happy. Happy clients are returning clients.
And again, sending out a manuscript is a lot easier than selling what I’ve sold—translations. Because there’s any number of companies around that simply have no need whatsoever for a translation. Your average agent or editor really wants you to convince them to buy. It’s their core business.
And if you show them what’s in it for them, they’re going to love you.