I had the pleasure of attending the Meetings Show this week. The sheer size of the event made it almost certain that I would bump into someone who needed interpreting. It also taught me that we can easily find ourselves stuck in patterns that can slow us down.
One of the most subtle of these is found in our patterns of interactions both offline and online. As much as we need support from other interpreters and as much as referrals can be vital, if we want new clients, we probably won’t find them on interpreter forums.
When it comes to marketing, we need to leave behind the echo chamber of the interpreting world and head to client events. At least once a year, we need to leave the safety of “our people” and find out what life is like at the other side of the mic.
The most obvious reason for this is that personal contact makes marketing much easier. You get more personal contact in one hour at a seminar or tradeshow than you do in a week online. And, of course, people start expecting your email!
Once you get a feel for the world your potential clients dwell in, you can begin to understand their pain points and challenges. You might even find yourself sympathising with them, rather than writing criticisms of their spending decisions!
None of this obviates the need for Supportive Interpreting Communities. In fact, the two go hand in hand. As we grow and sustain ourselves with the support of our fellow interpreters, we gain confidence about our work and get better at selling it to clients. We need to be both in our own community of practice and in the world of our clients. But most of us find the latter much harder than the former.
What about you? When was the last time you went to a client event?