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Boost Your Business : An Expert's Tips

Michael Walsh. Twenty years business assessment and marketing counsellor for the Federation of Master Builders and Guild of Master Craftsmen (UK)

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITIES
02 January 2014

From one business to another,

Nadia and Mike Walsh wish you and the Costa business communities well. Early days but Spain now enters 2014 without Euro zone support for its banks.

The property market is again lively. The prosperity this creates cascades across all businesses and services. Much of this new wealth is driven by the non-EU Russian speaking market. The Eurasian Customs Union (ECU) is five times the size of the EU and far more prosperous.

Whilst most Russian speakers know enough English to get by their buying bias will favour Russian friendly services.

  • English to Russian translations.
  •  All website copy where necessary receives a free grammar make-over.
  •  We offer a wide range of advertising options in Spain’s online and conventional media.
  •  Fees are transparent, reasonable and paid at staged intervals.
  •  It costs nothing to ask,

 Michael and Nadia Walsh.

 keyboardcosmetics@gmail.com



Like 0        Published at 11:36   Comments (0)


IT ISN'T WHAT YOU SAY
16 December 2013

IT IS NOT WHAT YOU SAY

 

It is how you say it. If you intend to sell to Russian speakers, translation of your company website is essential. Russians do speak a little English just as many British speak a little Spanish. However, the opportunist knows that setting one’s stall out in Russian opens hearts, minds and wallets. Many service providers provide a Russian language section of their marketing material.

There are translation pitfalls to avoid. Natural Russian, English, Latvian and Spanish speakers tell me that Google translate leaves much to be desired and is often ludicrous. Who wants their business to be seen in a clown’s outfit?

If English language content is badly written you get poorly written Russian. Spelling mistakes are common in English language content. My Russian translator wife constantly asks me to explain a word that confuses her. They confuse me too.

How do you translate break when it is written as brake. What is a rooter (router)? Do you enjoy the sunset on the Spanish cost? So it goes on. To make her job easier I often edit poor content before my wife tears hair her out if you get my drift.

There are Russians who are qualified English language translators. Why then do Russian service providers ask me to provide their Russian to English content? This puzzled me until Alexander who speaks quite good English, explained to me.

Russian born translators cannot get into the mind-set of Westerners. It is EU speak. Such Russian to English translation is invariably wooden. The content is what you might expect of a Charles Dickens novel after a city lawyer had corrected it.

There is a metaphor well known to most British and American sales personnel. “Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.“ We naturalised English speaking copywriters can do it, foreign-born translators cannot. There is the difference.

Michael and Nadia Walsh: Russian Translation and Marketing Specialists. Email keyboardcosmetics@gmail.com

Website www.michaelwalsh.es



Like 0        Published at 18:33   Comments (0)


EDITING, COPYWRITING and GHOST-WRITING
13 December 2013

EDITING, COPYWRITING OR GHOST-WRITING

These are three common terms but what do they mean? Is there a difference?

EDITING is to correct poorly written English language. A company’s website content may be informative but contain grammatical mistakes. The editor corrects poorly written English. PRICE €20 then €10 per 1,000 words.

COPYWRITING is editing plus creative marketing flair. A skilled copywriter will use written content to engage the reader. He will add interest to dry content. This will give the product or service added appeal to encourage customer interest. Editors sell the steak, copywriters sell the sizzle. PRICE Typically €40 per website or brochure content of no more than 400 words. or

GHOST-WRITING is similar to copywriting but applies itself to written articles, features, speeches, stories. A speech or book may need editing, added flair and flow. The ghost-writer can turn a 20,000 word narrative into a page-turning good read. PRICE €15 per 1,000 words. OFFER ENDS JANUARY 6, 2013.

Michael Walsh. keyboardcosmetics@gmail.com



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WE LOVE QUEUE JUMPERS
12 December 2013

ENGLISH - RUSSIAN WEBSITE TRANSLATIONS

 

WE LOVE QUEUE JUMPERS

 

In January we expect an increase in orders. Translating website content from English to Russian is labour intensive. This can be a problem for clients. Having decided it is a good idea they want their translation completed or advertisement published yesterday.

 

Give your business the edge by jumping the queue. FREE HOME PAGE translation (up to 200 words). Only €1.50 per property description (80 words). Pay by bank transfers per 100 property descriptions.

 

Note: As with any business, once the order book is full special offers will be gradually withdrawn. See website for up to the minute details.



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IS NAME AND SHAME THE ANSWER
07 December 2013

NAME AND SHAME

Mike Walsh

Is name and shame the name of the game? A lax system of debt recovery in Costa Spain has lead to widespread abuse by businesses that order services and then neglect to pay. Of eight business clients on the Sol only two paid for work completed. The Costa Blanca is a little better behaved with just two businesses putting two fingers up to the overdue invoice.

Does such corruption merit a Name and Shame response, perhaps through social media? Such a suggestion is considered unethical or even, in terms of risk, unwise. How do I reply to that?

It is unethical to place a small order, often with the promise of later substantial orders, and to then ignore the invoice for the service provided. Such parasites know that using legal channels to recover debts is rarely worth it in terms of hassle and cost. Small businesses tend to put it down to experience and write it off.

On the topic of ethics it is unethical for small businesses to shrug off such abuses. This allows the business leeches to prey on other businesses without fear of exposure.

Sure! In the event of scoundrel companies being named and shamed there is theoretical risk in being sued. Similarly there is a theoretical risk to them in my pursuing a €50 debt through the system. It is an empty threat so Name and Shame is a useful way of turning the tables on companies that take suppliers for a ride.

Why do I consider a threat to sue an empty gesture? Because such a tactic would attract further negative publicity. It would be a costly distraction. Besides, their weak attempt to salvage their reputation through a lawyer would be doomed to failure if they had not paid a legitimate bill.

Perhaps the best solution is to refuse orders unless pre-payment is made. This can be in part payment as a goodwill gesture. If clients are genuine and wish for a good partnership they will understand. If they take their business elsewhere they are not the kind of business that your business should be associated with. Count your blessings.



Like 1        Published at 12:45   Comments (1)


ADVERTISING IN RUSSIAN IS EASY
28 November 2013

RUSSIAN ADVERTISING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DIFFICULT

Advertising your business in appropriate Russian language media is difficult, especially for non-Russians. As a specialist advertising agency we do all the work for you. You do not get a discount by going direct so in that sense our services are free of charge.

Is there opportunity in welcoming Russian-speakers to your business? Is the Pope a Catholic? There are an estimated 350 million Russian speakers in Europe. Most Eastern Europeans, especially those over 30-years of age, speak and understand Russian.

You want to set your stall out to Russian speaking buyers? No one can afford to be language parochial. The only objection I ever heard was, ‘I would need to hire Russian-speaking staff.‘

Wrong! Most Russian speakers can get by enough to make themselves stood in English. However a website or advertisement in their language drives home to Russian browsers one very important (and to you, profitable advantage) point. It tells them 1) you welcome Russian speaking customers 2) As a consequence they can presume others of their language use your service.

As in the West there are hundreds of online portals offering a confusing set of packages. Which one is for you?

After much research, Nadia has identified the best online and conventional media for selling to Russian speakers browsing Spain’s property opportunities and related services.

We work with you. Let us know your minimum - maximum budget. We will offer options and recommendations that fit your budget and meet your needs.

accessrussian@yahoo.co.uk

www.michaelwalsh.es

 



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THE MENACE OF ROGUE SALESMEN
22 November 2013

THE MENACE OF ROGUE SALESMEN

Mike Walsh

 

Salesmen do not normally get a good press, especially the foot in the door types who will not take no for an answer. As with other lines of business, many are attracted to the art of persuasion for the wrong reasons. I have known a few for whom selling was a form of psycho-op with one aim, to get the better of the victim. Unscrupulous salesmen target the timid, the vulnerable, the trusting.

The UK’s Dolphin Bathrooms was part of a large financial house conglomerate. Its only real purpose was to vacuum finance house money through various home improvement companies. Principally these were fitted kitchens, double-glazed windows, fitted bathrooms and bedrooms. The Daily Mail and other Sunday supplements were awash with their expensive full-page advertisements.

These home improvement companies were fronts for finance houses. They harvested profits from providing financial credit to clients. Unsurprisingly, many who needed credit were the same poor devils whose naivety and tough circumstances made them unsuitable for credit agreements.

I went on a Dolphin Bathrooms three-day sales course. It was not an experience I would wish to repeat. On the last day, I told the shocked sales manager who had run the course it wasn’t for me. I needed the money but not at the expense of my conscience. The sales job entailed selling bathroom fittings that would be fitted by freelance sub-contractors.

Of the dozen ‘salesmen’ on the sales course I recall only one had any experience of bathrooms. Like me, most would find wiring an electric plug challenging. Of course, they would when selling appear to be fully conversant with all aspects of the trade. One sales trick was the suggestion that salesmen would be more successful if they were to dress down, to give the impression that they had been supervising on-site work.

The earnings were on a two-tier commission system. If the sale was a cash deal the commission earned was very small. If on the other hand the new bathroom was financed by a finance house the commission was high. For this reason the salesman was programmed to steer buying clients away from cash and towards finance. Repayments over 60 months (sounds better than 5-years) could easily amount to £10,000. This for a bathroom that could be bought and fitted by a local tradesmen for - at the time - about £700.

During the sales course the brainwashing was intense. If the word ‘cash’ was mentioned the class was instructed to leap on their chairs calling out, ‘cash is trash’. If the word ‘finance’ was mentioned then they would be obliged to leap on their seats and to cry out ‘finance is fun.‘

The selling profession has a bad name. In most cases it is undeserved but sadly the commission based system will always attract the unscrupulous.

 

Mike Walsh : Russian Language Translations : Main Advertising Agents for Moscow and St. Petersburg International Property Portfolios.

quite_write@yahoo.co.uk



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PEOPLE BUY PEOPLE
15 November 2013

PEOPLE BUY PEOPLE

Mike Walsh

 

For twenty years, I was a commission only salesman. You were either good at your job or you starved. I learnt from experience and sometimes from inspiration. Most of the tricks I picked up were passed on by far better men and women than I would ever be.

Successful salesmen know that people don’t buy products they buy people. If you do not sell yourself then just stop right there, turn on your heel and don’t slam the door on your way out.

Empathy with a client is everything. I could be in a boardroom situation in the morning, chatting with a high-class interior designer in the afternoon then, after dinner, setting out my stall in a roughly spoken builder’s terraced home. Each demands a different approach.

Those who have few people skills, empathy or sales experience often run service trades. They survive because we need them. We buy - they do not sell.

Few builders, roofers, car mechanics, home improvement or repair tradesmen ever pick up a ‘How to be a Successful Salesman’ book or go on a sales course. It sure tells. I met men who were particularly good at their trades. Typical were dry block pavers. Many could not figure out why people paid £50 per square metre for a job they could do equally well for £20 per square metre.

It is the salesman difference. The more expensive jobs were sold by smartly turned out professional salesman. Selling is a skill; it is not as the ignorant would say the gift of the gab. If you cannot empathise with a client, you cannot sell. It is not just product knowledge; it is the ability to create desire.

The poor salesman sells the steak; the good salesman sells the sizzle. It does not stop there; you have to close the sale. This is a skill in itself. I have trebled a salesman’s sales simply by showing him how to close a sale.

Having won the client’s friendship and trust the good salesperson sells not the product but the benefits. With this approach the becomes convinced that the higher price is compensated for it by being better value for money. People don’t buy on price. If they did we would be running around in Ladas.

Here is a tip. You are good at your trade but admittedly not the best when it comes to selling. Put your price up by say 15 per cent then advertise for a commission only salesman to follow up leads and close them. Offer him 15% commission on all sales paid for. You will get more work yet you will spend more time at home with the wife and kids. You have made life easier for yourself, there is much more work coming in, and someone else is employed doing your selling for you.

 

Michael Walsh and his wife Nadia provide a Russian translation service for businesses. www.michaelwalsh.es



Like 0        Published at 20:21   Comments (0)


GIRASOL HOMES GOES VIRAL RUSSIA
12 November 2013

GIRASOL HOMES GOES RUSSIAN

 

One of Spain’s most successful real estate agencies has given a vote of confidence to Spain in Russia online magazine. Girasol Homes has discovered a cost effective opportunity to capture the attention of Russians keen to get a foot on the property ladder.

Assisted by journalist Mike Walsh and his Russian-speaking wife, Nadezhda, Girasol’s Nigel Salmon describes the pioneering coverage as ‘great’. Spain in Russia focuses exclusively on Russian speakers who are interested in Spain property, news, culture, lifestyle and investment opportunities.

“Similar outlay would buy one week’s half page advert in a local newspaper,” says Mike Walsh. In return Girasol enjoys six months home page exposure and clickable unlimited online space to advertise their company’s products with website links on each page.”

Nadezhda says, “the advertising company’s home page is translated into Russian free of charge, a service which only we offer.”

 

For further information

Michael Walsh Russian Language Advertising

0034 662 067 490 email

www.michaelwalsh.es



Like 1        Published at 10:29   Comments (0)


KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID
04 November 2013

 Michael Walsh

KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID

Mike Walsh

 

Most people agree that a picture tells 1,000 words - they then ignore it.  Much of my work involves working website content. Most descriptive wording is surplus. There seems to be an obsession with stating the glaringly obvious.

Fireplaces (with chimneys - really?). En-suite master bedroom, solarium. A gazebo 4 metres by 5 metres; A garden - a pool, a palm tree, a driveway, balcony, on road parking…

Some of these descriptions are obvious, especially if looking at photographs. What is the point of describing a property’s interior; number and size of rooms, décor and outside if there are ample images?

A typical real estate company has 1,000 property images. Many descriptions average 250 words, which is 205,000 words or THREE PAPERBACKS!  Perhaps content writers think the more you write the more chance of a sale. Many hope their website content does their selling. It does not and is not intended to. That is the salesperson’s job.

What you are doing is giving the client too much information.  Do that and you confuse him. Bemused clients do not make decisions. Very often I can reduce 150 words to thirty words and say more.

Marketing experts have worked it out.  If a client cannot scan and absorb a sales message in less than 8 seconds he will not read it.  My advice was never more than a total of 50 words on a flyer.  Everyone who did so said their investment was good value for money. Well, nearly everyone.

One Welsh businessman insisted on every blind and awning design listed on his A5 flyer. With over 300 words it looked like a photocopy of a BT telephone directory. It failed! Let us end with another sales truism: K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple, Stupid.

By the way I welcome comment. Feel free to put your oar in. Michael Walsh

 

www.michaelwalsh.es email quite_write@yahoo.co.uk



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