Updated: May 4
“Only English” doesn’t work in today’s society – Here’s why Konsyg doesn’t rely on just English alone. A discussion with Joe Flaten, COO of Konsyg.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” - Nelson Mandela
How does this relate to connecting to non English speaking countries in terms of sales as a service and account based marketing? Konsyg is unique in that we run multilingual sales in marketing campaigns across the globe. Many companies struggle with market access where they’re not able to communicate in the local languages. That’s where Konsyg has the advantage and excels. For our clients, we have done global sales and account based marketing campaigns, where we’ve been able to use teams that speak up to 5 languages for one product or service: Konsyg has attacked markets and penetrated industries that companies were unable to do previously. Our local language abilities allow the prospects to connect and communicate in a very fluid manner and with ease. We find that when our sales representatives communicate with clients in their own language, as opposed to another language such as English, the prospects are more likely to share insights and engage in conversation comfortably. What we find is that most of the prospects are able to speak some English and are able to buy products or services that may not have their own language as a support. But to introduce the product and service in the local language is a big strength and is effective. When it comes to global business operations, what are some other advantages when using languages other than English? Some of the other advantages in using local languages include being able to explain products and services more deeply, in comparison to doing so in English. Many times, the prospect will understand general keywords, and they will be able to use your product/service/software that most countries in the world understand. For example, if you have a smart manufacturing platform, the technicians and production teams will understand certain English terms which will allow them to use the platform in English. However, to explain the functionality, intricate process and systems within the software and actually sell it to them, they need a person who has local language capabilities. Using local languages allows a deeper understanding and engagement with the prospect, in providing demonstrations, setting up products, systems and/or software and for them to utilize it in the greatest capacity. What are issues that arise when using other languages in business operations, like in the employment of people or an organization’s culture? I would say that when you are using multilingual teams, it creates more complexity within business operations. This complexity finds itself through quality assurance checks, as well as ways in formatting in those specific languages, as well as creating the messaging that will be deployed. For instance, if you have a Vietnamese team calling in Vietnam, you need to make sure that they have a Vietnamese manager who is quality assuring all of the communications, descripting and all the messaging they are employing. This can be a challenge if you have a small company, because you may not have those checks and balances within the organization. For Konsyg, whenever we start an office in various countries, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Hungary, etc;, we always make sure there’s a team there who communicate with each other in their local language and do quality assurance checks. What forms of communication (email, calling, etc.) do you think have the best outcome when it comes to connecting with international clients? In business and sales, there’s a hierarchy of information. The first level of hierarchy is in person, face-to-face communication, shaking hands, sitting down across the table from clients. However, currently we are in the “new normal,” this may not be possible. Many times, people are not comfortable with that form of communication, or it’s impossible due to government restrictions and/or company policies. The second level of the hierarchy (the primary order now), is the face-to-face video conference, where teams are mobile/video conference with their cameras on, so people can see each other and interact this way, which can be rather effective. Being able to communicate in this way is an alternative in how to connect to prospects and clients, with creating rapport and seeing how people respond to your points and questions. This method is important for scaling your product/service globally, because you don’t have to transfer between locations to present your product/service. It allows for much more efficient, optimized sales processes in less time. The third level would be phone conversations, which is also effective and quick. But the last level of the hierarchy is email or text message How do you address language barriers when speaking to prospects? It’s important to include visual aids when communicating. Many times when we’re communicating to prospects, it might be the first time they are seeing the product/service. Now it needs to be an educational piece, where we bring demos, marketing material, website, or any explanation videos for them to see. We can walk the prospect through certain decks or presentations, and go slowly through them. If a base language used, such as English, is a challenge, we make sure that we speak slowly, and not use any complex vocabulary and/or an excessive amount of acronyms that aren’t universal.