Can’t you always tell when the person you’re speaking to is “from out of town”…or from a different country or when they’re not speaking their native language?
It’s sometimes blatantly obvious (as anyone I’ve ever spoken to in French, in France will confirm) and other times there’s just an underlying accent that gives them away.
Either way, you know.
Speaking “Pidgin” English doesn’t matter when it comes to conversing about every day things.
It does matter when the language you’re attempting to speak is a business language and the fluency you’re attempting to exhibit is about a specific industry or sector.
It matters a lot.
And while “getting-by” is perfectly acceptable when you’re ordering a beer on holiday…it really doesn’t cut the mustard when you’re trying to gain credibility in an industry and when you’re trying to come across as someone who can really add value and insight to those whose whole career has been steeped in the sector.
The best case scenario is that you will immediately be identified as a Tourist ….a “chancer”, “punting” something that yesterday was the “silver bullet” for some other poor sucker, in a completely different sector with an entirely different set of priorities. You will be demoted in the mind of your prospect to a supplier of “stuff” and you will sit nicely alongside all the other suppliers of stuff they will call on to quote when they want a price benchmark.
And you know…no one will tell you this is how they see you…you will just find it really hard to make any real progress or headway.
Take a look at some of your engagements and “relationships” now and ask yourself if that’s where you may be sitting…uncomfortable to consider isn’t it.
This happens a lot. Organisations spot what they consider is a lucrative market and so they simply re-hash their messaging based on a few days’ of internet research on “hot topics” or some advice from their PR agency and they go shooting off with a new must-have “vertical” proposition.
It never works and it’s actually quite insulting for the people who really spend their days up to their ears in their sector and know it back to front and inside out.
Of course you don’t have to be totally fluent or an expert or to have aligned your offering and proposition around really well researched and VALIDATED issues, but if you’re not, get used to being a bottom feeder, the sort that is left to fight over the low margin, low-end deals that as a company you really can’t afford to survive on.
Those that do make the effort will be in a different place all together. They will be having the conversations you are kidding yourself you’re having, they will be at and leading the meetings you’re telling your self you should be at and they will be closing the kind of deals you only get to read about once they’re done.
None of this is difficult…and the difference it can make to the speed and depth with which you can penetrate a market is remarkable.