Foreign Inquiries

March 2, 2014

Foreign inquiries are emails, calls or other attempts that a company receives from potential customers outside the United States. Often times these foreign inquiries are not in English, or broken English, and lead a busy company to shuffle them to the bottom of the pile. In other words, throw money down the drain. Companies that pay attention to foreign inquiries often start down the path of the accidental exporter. And within a short time, they are loving the results. But how do you manage foreign inquiries? Thanks for asking! Here are some tips.

Managing Foreign Language Inquiries

3 Simple Steps to Email Inquiries


Often we hear from our clients that they are afraid of email inquiries in other languages. They don’t know what to do with them because they don’t have the infrastructure in place to manage them, so they end up deleting their foreign inquiries.

We always gently plead them into understanding that foreign language inquiries should be the least of their problems. And quite to the contrary, they should be THRILLED that they are received the inquiry without even trying. That’s what we call an Accidental Exporter.

An Accidental Exporter is a business that has a product or service that an international target market is hungry to buy for. And that, in our opinion, is like cash money in hand.

A recent study completed by the Minnesota Trade Office found that 50% of foreign inquiries received by manufacturing companies go unanswered.




What? That’s like throwing money away.

The bottom line is this: if your product is exportable, and you are not exporting (accidentally or not), you are missing 75% of your potential customer base.

That’s right. 75%.

Says who? Says basic demographics.

95% of the world’s population resides outside of the United States and 75% of the world’s purchasing power is outside of the United States. So ignoring those email inquiries that come in from other countries and in other languages is exactly like throwing money away. (Generally not a good idea).

So now that we’ve established that throwing money away is a bad thing, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of how to manage foreign language email inquiries.

Step 1: Prewritten Email Responses

Prewritten Email Responses are so easy to write and even easier to set up. Think simple, think short, think “I care about you, I received your email, and I’m taking the time to respond.” Basic customer service 101.


To Whom It May Concern:


Thank you so much for your email inquiry.

We care about your request and will reply to you within 24-hours with a XYZ language response.

In the meantime, please feel free to browse our products at



Jane Johnson, President

My Company


Step 2: Translate Email Responses

Don’t throw money away. A professional translation provider will be able to help you out with this process. At INGCO International, we offer packages to translate email responses similar to the type above at a very cost effective rate. Typically, we put together 3-5 email responses per language that a company can utilize when responding to foreign language inquiries. We work together with our clients to help them craft their emails and we look at the inquiries they have already received. We also look at their competitors and are able to tell them where they are receiving inquiries from, and make suggestions as necessary to help them decide what languages they should translate into. Don’t throw those money making inquiries away.

3 Translated Email Responses for $50! 


Step 3: Establish a Follow Up Plan

Establish a follow up plan so that your promise of contacting the business lead within 24 hours is a broken promise. It’s really as simple as choosing a language service provider that places 3-way telephone calls. Typically it takes as little as 15 minutes to place a phone call and get a good sense if the inquiry may potentially lead to sales.

3-way telephone conferences with our linguists start at just $15 and are billed in 15-minute increments. The process is simple: let us know when you’d like to place the call. We call you to initiate the phone conference. We connect the call to your potential customer. You do the talking, we do the interpreting and voila: a once-forgotten email inquiry turns into a warm lead.


3 Simple Steps To Managing Foreign Email Inquiries

Are you interested in learning more about managing foreign inquiries and how INGCO International can help! Get in touch!