Promoting our industry is very important in these difficult times. People must know we are here and we are open for business. Unfortunately, lots of businesses are closed and there are a lot of people out of work, that may also mean fewer clients for us. However, it also means that we may need to work a bit harder to find the ones who aren’t closed and may become our new clients. We need to promote our industry and our services, so these possible clients know we are ready for them.
Because there are so many businesses that closed down, it may be a be challenging for us to find new clients. But it is not impossible. We need to do a good assessment of our skills and what fields we are confident with and then match these with the possible clients that may be out there. For example, working in the tourism industry is totally out of question these days. Unfortunately, that has been one of the hardest-hit industries and with so many of them gone, there are very little chances we will find work there. The same can be said about the hospitality industry, beauty industry and others.
Another challenge can be budget. With the current economic crisis, many companies may not want to invest in language services and that may be a big challenge for us. We are in an already budget stretched industry, so for us, it is very hard to stretch a bit more.
With social distancing measures in place, visit new clients may also be a big challenge.
We must be creative and reinvent ourselves. We must assess our skills and what we can do to change the way we do business, promoting our business and promoting our industry to the right clients. This will allow us to keep our business afloat.
Instead of brochures or press releases for travel agencies and airlines, we can be doing them for companies in other sectors. I think we just need to know where we want to go and start looking. Then we can target our promotion to these companies, allowing them to know us and our services. We can write articles targeting that particular industry showcasing our knowledge, or we can do videos; if we can budget for that, we can even set an advertising campaign on social media targeting these industries.
We must know our rates well, our margins and how far we can stretch if you want to offer discounts, to get a vulnerable client. But we work in a very budget stretched industry, so it may be very difficult to stretch a bit more. Have a deep understanding of our finances may help us, help clients on this front. If you decide to go for discounted rates, let your possible clients know. Maybe instead of a discounted rate, you can offer something else in your scope of services. Creativity is the key here.
Social distancing should not be a problem. We don’t need to meet clients face to face to get them. We can contact them with a letter or email. But if you want a more personalised option, there’s always the possibility of an online meeting, where you can see each other face to face and discuss business and promote our industry.
In a broader spectrum, our Association should also have a very important role in promoting our industry. They can’t do advertising campaigns for us, nor they can get us, clients, directly, but they can help us in so many ways.
Associations may promote our industry by making sure people know the value of our work and don’t take us simply by someone who speaks more than one language. Our biggest problem, and in my opinion, the one that leads to many others like low pay, crazy deadlines, etc, is the massive devaluation of our industry and our work. People still believe our job is too easy, takes no time to do and therefore should be cheap. They see us as unqualified people, who use the languages they speak to earn a living. Well we use the languages we speak to earn a living, but unlike people may think we have high qualifications to use them professionally, our work is highly qualified and complex and, like any other professional, we must be paid accordingly. By helping people have a better understanding of our industry, our associations could ultimately improve the idea people have of us and the way they see the amazing work we all do.