In “How To Sell” (Hamlyn, 2004), Robert Ashton devotes a section to “selling overseas”:

“The greatest barrier that you will have to overcome is language. English is widely spoken as a second language, so communication is usually possible [...] but you need to recognise that:

-         Discussions about your offer may take place in a language you don’t understand

-         Subtle nuances may be lost, so you need to keep your message clear, explicit and simple

-         Learning a few words of your prospect’s language will earn you respect

You should also have translations made of all key documents, just in case” (p.110)

To sum up, preparation is key – and the ability not only to understand the language but also the more subtle cultural codes can be the difference between deal or no deal. This is whether you actually visit the country or deal with prospective clients over the phone or via your website, social media or via email. It actually also applies to suppliers, customers and colleagues in other countries, apart from (potential) clients. We believe we can offer you something unique: a multi-lingual approach to sales. This means we don’t just translate sales scripts – we can actually sell in a different language, translating more than just the words but also the tone, the real message, the persuasion, the real benefits - and we can actually interpret what the other person is saying beyond the actual words – so we can become your international sales support partner.

2 Responses to Selling Overseas – lost in translation?

  1. After 30 years in dealing with german, french and spanish business partners all day every day, I can advise you that you need to understand the language and culture. Do NOT be a “brit abroad.” It makes you look stupid and uneducated.
    Having sold over £50M of machinery over 25 years, I know understanding your european partners helps business. And use a local as your partner when you are overseas.

    I now help companies with their online projects. or follow me on Twitter!/WebCriticUK

  2. Gabriela says:

    Thank you, Charles, really appreciate your comment. Will start following you on Twitter right now! Gabriela.