Being bilingual not only makes traveling a breeze, it exponentially increases who you can be friends with. And it can also provide career help in today’s globalized marketplace.
My parents sent me to Spain as a teenage exchange student. Boy was I grateful! This experience opened my eyes to the world and enabled me to learn a second language. By the time I finished high school, I was fluent in Spanish. Here are a few benefits in the business world that I have experienced first hand since then:
Increased Size of Target Market
Want more customers? When you learn another language, the size of the target market for your products or services automatically increases.
There are an estimated 500 million Spanish speakers worldwide, making it the second most spoken language in the world. Of that 500 million, 50 million reside in the USA. So, whether your company is looking to grow internationally or expand into new domestic markets, knowing a second language increases who you can sell to.
More Marketable to Employers
In today’s competitive job market, being bilingual adds tremendous value that separates you from the others in a pile of resumes. The more diverse your skill set, the more valuable and hirable you become to potential employers. Bilingual employees are in high demand in almost every business sector: health care, law, business, education, construction, and criminal justice to name a few. Globalization is in full swing, and worldwide markets are becoming more interdependent. Thus, the need for bilingual employees continues to rise.
Studies from Rosetta Stone have shown that bilingual employees earn on average 10% more in salary than those that are monolingual. I have found this to be true, as I have received a bilingual pay differential with almost every company I have worked for.
Win Instant Rapport With Clients
Learning a foreign language is no easy task. For this reason, people instantly love it when they realize you have taken the time and effort to learn their native language. I have been the beneficiary of this effect many times in my career.
On a cold call several years back, I reached the company CFO, and the call was going nowhere fast. I detected a Spanish accent and out of nowhere switched the conversation to Spanish. It was the perfect 180 degree turnaround that I needed! By then end of the conversation, I convinced her to switch their company mobile voice and data services, and enter into a 2-year business agreement with my company! This sales cycle usually takes at least two meetings, a formal proposal, and weeks—if not months—of negotiation.
Being multilingual is even better. Spanish was a start, and from there, the world!
Follow Beth at LinkedIn.com/in/marybkelzer