Tag Archives: English marketing

An eagle above the text “Like an eagle swooping down on its prey”

Like an Eagle Swooping Down on its Foreign Prey

For a few days I was a German person living in England.

It wasn’t intentional. I went about doing my thing and people wrongly assumed I was a foreigner – German apparently – and corrected me at every turn.

You must mean Streatham” [pronounced stretthaem] said the lady at the train station, trying to help.

No, I actually want to go to Chatham please!” (okay, nobody wants to go to Chatham but I lived there at the time).

It might have been the few seconds it took for me to realise where I was, which language I needed to use, maybe I’d developed a bit of a mixed accent.

I’d been living in Germany for a year and when I got back home to the UK it took some time to adjust. Something I’d never imagined would happen. It baffled, amused, and frustrated me at the same time.

It was a weird experience, being treated like a foreigner in your own country. People tried to help me even though all I needed was a couple of seconds thinking time. Often I’d be searching for the right word, sometimes carrying my rubbish around looking lost as I tried to find the non-existent recycling bins.

You don’t get given thinking time

And while you might not be buying train tickets or trying to sort your rubbish in the UK, the same applies to export.

British clients will identify the foreignness in your marketing like an eagle spots its rabbit dinner – from miles away.

Unfortunately, you don’t get the same ‘helpful’ guidance that you would face to face. Your prospective clients will expect you to make it easy for them instead.

Which means:

  • Easy for them to concentrate on your message instead of the odd word choice.
  • Easy for them to understand the benefits of working with a foreign company versus a British one.
  • Easy for them to appreciate you have everything covered so they can relax and get on with their business.

And all of this despite being foreign – this is the invisible barrier you have to overcome when dealing with British clients.

Once you’ve broken down this barrier, there’ll be no stopping you. So let’s get that sledge hammer out and start clearing your path.

Insider insights

When I worked in multinational companies, my foreign colleagues often called upon me to explain British behaviour, our hidden messages and how to cope with our cultural oddities. Over the past ten years as a translator, clients and friends have continued to ask for my insider insights.

So I dedicated an entire chapter of my book to Burrowing into the British Brain. You’ll find another about How to be Special and Position Your Business to Beat the Local Competition. Grab your insider’s guide here: www.chemicaltranslator.com/book

I’ll help you banish that hint of otherness and make sure those pesky British clients are lining up to work with you.

Be like Gudbrand, the happiest man on the mountain


There was once a Norwegian couple who lived in the mountains. They had two cows, one more than they needed so they decided to sell one to get some money. Gudbrand set off with his cow to town and had no luck at the market. Dejected, he headed the long way back home, which is where the real business took place. On his way home he met a lady with a horse and traded his cow for the horse. Further on he traded the horse for a goat, then the goat for a sheep, the sheep for a goose, the goose for a cockerel and in the end, the cockerel for a hot meal. He arrived home with nothing.

Now you can take a few things from this. One, you can find customers when you least expect it. The market didn’t work but opportunities arose on the way back home.  Two, Gudbrand had a cow and ended up with a hot meal. Not the best day’s work! But now for the second part of the story.

Before he reached his house Gudbrand met his neighbour. On telling him the story, his neighbour cried “The missus is going to kill you!”. Gudbrand was so certain she wouldn’t that his neighbour bet him 100 pieces of silver and hid by a window to eavesdrop.  It turns out Marit, his wife, was as laid back as her husband and was just happy to have him back safe and sound. They only needed one cow any way. And gained 100 pieces of silver from the bet!

There’s a lot to be said in business for being honest and not pushing for the maximum you can get out of someone. Prospective clients and business partners can smell desperation a mile away.

You’ll have come across those desperate for a sale, and probably backed off pretty sharpish. It doesn’t feel good does it? Likewise those clients who want to hammer you down to the last cent so they can be sure they squeezed the best bargain out of you. That’s not a win-win situation either.

I’m sure you already offer massive value to your clients but can you detach yourself from the outcome? I’m not suggesting you don’t follow up with a prospective client or leave it up to them to do all the running. However, when you’re laid back and don’t need the sale, that’s often when the orders come flooding in. Have you ever noticed you’re at your busiest when you’re trying to close the office to go away on holiday, or at Christmas, or just before a major event?

Focus on providing great service, making everybody as happy as your man in the mountains. And present yourself in a way that exudes quiet confidence in the fact that everything will work out just fine.

I’m quietly confident that I can improve your English marketing. Why not try me out and let me put your English Under the Microscope? It’s fully redeemable on any future work in the following six months and I won’t take your money if I think it’s already fit for purpose. You can’t say fairer than that.