Today's blog post is a guest article from Caelen King, founder and CEO of WhatClinic.com a website that allows consumers to easily find and compare health clinics around the world. WhatClinic.com gets over 8 million visitors each year and has most recently expanded into Private Dentists in the UK and Plastic Surgery Clinics in the UK.
Caelen tells a fascinating story of how one of his sales team has been able to win business in countries where he and the client don't share a common language. They use a gentle and professional approach which treats the potential client with respect and builds up trust through personal communication followed up with email.
Here's the story in Caelen's words…
Lately, I had a good chance to listen to one of our salespeople, Dermot, while he was doing business on the phone. I noticed that he was talking to someone who I believe whose English was very poor because Dermot was trying to spell out our business key advantages. I later learned that he was talking to a dentist in Mexico who does not speak English at all!
Everything seemed normal. Dermot was very accommodating and nodding courteously as he listens to the Mexican dentist at the other end of the line. But what was amazing was that Dermot does not speak Spanish, except for a few poorly pronounced “Gracias” and “Hola.” Despite the language barrier, Dermot was able to successfully deliver a clear message about the pricing of our products in both Euro and Mexican Peso.
What is wonderful about Dermot is that he was able to deliver his message and even understood the dentist’s unintelligible reply. The conversation went on for another few minutes, and then I finally heard Dermot taking the dentist’s credit card information, sealing that conversation with a final deal.
You may not believe what I am saying, but as we expand our market worldwide and WhatClinic.com is now starting to export products, it is no longer strange to us to deal with non-English speaking clients. In fact, Dermot is now able to close a deal almost every week with overseas client he has no common language with. Interestingly, he does it always in a unique way: by developing trust with a prospective client.
What usually occurs during the initial conversation is that a clinic manager—who at least know some English and who surely does not have any authority in terms in financial matters—would insist Dermot to speak to the clinic’s owner, who is a surgeon or a dentist. Since there is no common language, the conversation usually ends rather quickly, but effectively. Dermot, on his part, ends the conversation by promising to send a follow up email.
The most interesting part of this marketing approach begins after each call when Dermot would summarize our benefits along with the pricing, and then he translates the information using Google Translate to the client’s language. In our experience, this process is remarkably beneficial, both on our part and that of the client’s. Once Dermot receives the communication from the client, he would again use Google Translate to uncover the message. This process always ends in a successful sale.
Every successful sale is always a product of a successful phone call, despite having a language barrier. All information needs to be translated, but the initial phone conversation is all that matters in sealing a deal. In other words, if Dermot won’t pick the phone there would have been no sale at all.
Most business entities spend their marketing efforts looking for instant big wins, but ended up getting small or no gains at all. At WhatClinc.com, we invest on getting the client’s trust because it is in developing trust and confidence that huge sales are born. We make it a point that client is aware that at the other end of the line there is a real person who is willing to establish a genuine relationship and is willing to do business. We also make it a point that we are trustworthy, reliable and honest.
The success of our business lies in our professionalism in that we treat non-English speaking clients with the same respect we give to dentists and surgeons from the UK or Ireland. Dermot is the epitome of our business. He is aware that whatever lapses in phone communication due to language barrier can always be complemented by follow up emails. The result is that we are able to establish connection with prospective clients that always leads to sales. We have proven that it is impossible to do business without human contact.
Mexico is now our largest single market. We are able to achieve this largely because Dermot has broken the language barrier that separates us from our clients.
So what can we learn from this?
Well, if nothing else, if Dermot can use patience, respect and professionalism to build a relationship with someone he doesn't even share a common language with – then the rest of us should certainly be able to use the same approach with the far easier challenge of someone who does speak the same language as us.