Finnish Language Service Providers (SKY) kicked off 2020 with an after-work event on Tuesday 4 February. Around twenty people from our member companies gathered at Scandic Simonkenttä Hotel’s conference facilities, in downtown Helsinki, to hear what Renato Beninatto, a seasoned veteran and authority on the industry, had to say about the importance of sales for language service businesses.
But first, a few introductory words. I took over the responsibilities of president from Katja Virtanen in November. Thank you again, Katja, for your long and productive stint at the helm of our association. My intension is to continue the work already started during the last couple of years: to increase the awareness about SKY, to organize relevant events that successfully serve the needs of our member companies, and to promote sound tendering practices in public procurement of language services.
To come back to Renato Beninatto’s presentation, his core message was the unforgiving requirement that any business needs to meet in order to survive: if you don’t sell, a terrible thing happens – nothing at all. Renato recounted the early days of his career, as a translator and the owner of a translation agency. His initial conviction was that sales is an unnecessary function because translation business is based on personal connections and new work comes along through those connections when the time is right. After a merger into a bigger company, the first dedicated salespeople joined his team – and the revenue tripled within a short time. Ever since, Renato has been a believer when it comes to sales, and we had a chance to enjoy selected tidbits from his accumulated experience and sales knowledge.
A question from the audience came up: what is the biggest flaw or problem when it comes to sales in LSPs? According to Renato, our biggest flaw is focusing on ourselves: the customers are not that interested in language services as such; instead they would like to know what value our services can bring to their business. A good seller is primarily a good listener: the focus should be on the customer’s needs rather than the sales pitch.
I would like to wish you all a great 2020 and to welcome all Finnish language service businesses as members. Become a member.
Together we are stronger!