If you’re an insurance agent, you already know all too well how extremely competitive your industry is. No matter how comprehensive your policies may be or how low the premiums are for those policies, it’s hard to stand out in a crowd when there are literally thousands of other agencies out there vying for clients. But making your agency a success may be easier than you think, and we can sum up the key to that success in two words: translation services.

In fact, U.S. Census statistics show that over 20% of people over the age of 5 in this country speak a language other than English at home. That’s a lot of people – and a lot of potential business for your agency. Just imagine how beneficial it would be to tap into that market! It’s not as far-fetched as you may think. The first step involves securing the services of an experienced translator – one who is not only fluent in the target language(s), but one who also has experience within the insurance industry. Once you find the right person, here are helpful pointers on how to tap into that potential marketplace and grow your agency:

Identify your target market(s)

This will vary somewhat depending on where you’re located. But we can tell you that as of 2018, aside from English, some of the most commonly spoken languages in the U.S. are (in order of prevalence): Spanish, Chinese, French, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, German, Arabic, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Hindi, Polish, Japanese, Urdu and Persian. And that is only a partial list! Find out which languages are most commonly spoken in your area, and determine which of those target markets you want to reach. If you are an online agent, you have the ability and opportunity to reach out to virtually any target audience you want, so you may want to do some research to determine where your greatest business potential lies, then make your decision accordingly.

Start with marketing

You’ll never attract new non-native-English speaking clients with a website, ads and market collateral that are only in English. As you begin the translation process, remember that the people you are trying to reach often come from very different cultures, so the language, concepts and images you use in your marketing material should be appropriate for them. An experienced translator – preferably one who is a native speaker of the target language – can help you make the best choices depending on the cultural norms and sensitivities of your target audience.

Follow up (quickly!) with document translation

Attracting potential customers is one thing, but actually providing them with the services they need is another. Ask your translator to take on the task of translating the myriad of paperwork involved in your business, including policy documents, applications, quotes, disclosure forms, compliance documentation, etc.

Employ at least one staff member who can communicate with your non-native-English-speaking clients

Find someone who is not only fluent in the target language(s), but also someone who is personable and capable of simplifying some of the more complex language and concepts into terms more easily understood by your clients, who may not be familiar with insurance terminology. And don’t forget your role in these communications. Begin working at learning the language yourself so you can more clearly communicate with your clients.

All this may sound somewhat daunting, and understandably so. Begin by contacting a reputable translation company. They will find the right person for the job – one who is fluent in the required languages (and preferably a native speaker), as well as one who has solid knowledge of the insurance industry. Working together with your translator, you will be able to reach your target market and achieve more success than you may have ever believed possible.