Last year, the BBC, amongst others, reported on a BCC (British Chambers of Commerce) poll of 2,600 companies which export goods and services that showed over 70% of them expected their turnover to increase in the next few months.” The volume of exports is at an all-time high according to the BCC, with exporters seeking to break into new markets. This is reflected in another report, in City AM, which says that 40% of exporting firms want to take on more staff. By the very nature of exports, a lot of these staff will be salespeople.
Scotland exports a lot (and not just whisky). In fact the Scots, and the British generally, have travelled the world, especially in the heyday of the British Empire, setting up companies, founding football teams, importing and exporting goods and services and generally creating prosperity for almost everyone concerned. Sales are good for business!
We are fortunate, because English is the lingua franca (if that’s not an oxymoron?) of world business. However, if you are in sales, imagine the benefits of being able to speak another language (and not just so you can order beer at the chiringuitos on the beach at Marbella).
Let’s take it a stage further. Imagine a Brazilian firm contacting someone in Edinburgh to try to get their business. If the Brazilian speaks only Portuguese he’s not going to get very far. For business, language is about breaking down barriers and it provides the lubrication that makes the wheels of commerce turn more smoothly. Developing new business abroad is difficult enough, but well nigh impossible when you can’t begin to say “Good morning” in the prospect’s language!
Like any other training, or career development, learning a new language has benefits over and above the immediate, practical application in your daily business. Globalisation is a fact of life, Scotland is home to many multi-lingual call centres and we have a lot of immigrants from all over Europe. The practical advantages of speaking another language are obvious, and will help you get a better job. ¿Por qué espera Vd?*
Stuart McRobbie, Associate Director
*What are you waiting for?