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  1. #1
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    Cool Bigger than you actually are!

    Hi all,

    Is it ever a good idea to give clients the impression that you and your company is actually bigger than you actually are? for example, using "we" on your website and other correspondence instead of "I".

    We are all aware that its kindof dishonest and you run the risk of being caught out and lose credibility, but how are you suppose to gain more/bigger projects then the single freelance jobs? Even if you're able to handle the bigger project by splitting off the work to other freelancers aswell.

  2. #2
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    No. They'll find out you're lying in the end and will no longer want to do business with you. Your reputation will also suffer as a result.

    Just be honest and direct with them. If they want to know why they should deal with a smaller vendor rather than a big company, the best thing you can tell them is that YOU will be PERSONALLY handling their project, rather than handing it off to other people. Anything you can't handle yourself you can outsource to a competent professional that you already have a solid working relationship with.

  3. #3
    Webwellwisher Robert Warren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperRobot5000
    Hi all,

    Is it ever a good idea to give clients the impression that you and your company is actually bigger than you actually are? for example, using "we" on your website and other correspondence instead of "I".
    It's a good idea to have to live up to your marketing. It's a bad idea to be dishonest about it.

    Pretending that you're a firm when you're not, or that you have a staff when you're just a freelancer, is going to get you called out. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it will happen. Not only your credibility, but that of your entire field, will suffer as a result.

    That having been said, you're fighting a guerrilla campaign here. You should be using every advantage you possibly can to win it - there's no room for innocent humility, not if you plan to stay in business. Always have your best face out, your best foot forward, and present yourself in the most confident and optimistic manner possible (and practical). Deploy a marketing message that you have to work to live up to, and then be that message: it'll achieve the effect you're looking for, without nearly the same level of risk that flat-out dishonesty brings.

  4. #4
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    thanks for the feedback guys..

    Isn't it alot harder for companies to trust one-man-bands though? if they thought they had the protection of a company behind the development work, are they more likely to but faith in you?

  5. #5
    Webwellwisher Robert Warren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperRobot5000
    thanks for the feedback guys..

    Isn't it alot harder for companies to trust one-man-bands though? if they thought they had the protection of a company behind the development work, are they more likely to but faith in you?
    Not necessarily. Depends on how creative you can be in selling yourself, and how hard you work to tilt things in your favor.

    I've said for a long time now that freelance web designers do themselves a disservice trying to compete with marketing firms, because it completely disregards the advantages an independent has over a committee staff. Instead, there should be more "web consultants" in the market, business and communications specialists who just happen to provide web design as part of their services. That puts you on a favorable playing field, stressing personal communication, knowledgeable and experienced service and a commitment to quality. A freelancer has the luxury of working with just one client at a time, even if he/she has many clients - a marketing firm just can't provide that kind of service.

    Think "Jerry Maguire" at the end of the film. That's the position you should be shooting for. Go deep, not wide.

  6. #6
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    Be honest and use that fact that you are a freelancer to your advantage. Think about what it is you can provide that bigger companies cannot - i.e. flexible working hours, reduced rates (i.e. less overheads), more personal service, etc.

    Lying isn't gonig to work, you'll get sussed out very quickly. The problem is, if you market yourself as a big company the majority of people contacting you will be looking for a big company - they'll talk about wanting to come down to your offices to meet your team, they'll expect to be courted by your team of sales staff, etc etc. The result is a lot of wasted time chasing prospects who'll never sign up with you because they'll think you can't meet their needs.

    But if you tell people in your marketing that you are a one-man band you will have already disqualified these jobs that you had no chance of getting. Instead you'll only be approached by people looking for the kind of things you offer as a sole freelancer. I meet a lot of people who are happy to work with someone like me - they see the quality of my work, they read my case studies, testimonials, references and they feel confident that I am in it for the long haul. But as a back up, I make sure one of my main selling points is that I build sites with easy to use CMS's so that my clients are not reliant on me in the future when they want to update their site content.

    Not sure what the deal is in your country, but in the UK you can incorporate a company and be the only employee/director - this will help show your clients that you are serious about your company and business practice.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Guru worchyld's Avatar
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    I agree, saying that you're a small company is an advantage is and should be used as a positive; it means that you're willing to work with small businesses with realistic and affordable ideas, it means that you can offer a much more personal service. Ask them at this point if a much more rewarding business relationship is what they are looking for? They may say "yeah, but I just want it cheap/free", but that means you don't have to do business with them.

    Tell my clients that your services are independent of the mainstream new media culture is also a great benefit.

    I tell them that "The way I work is that I work with you, is a positive web-to-business relationship the kind you're looking for?" -- it's really about interpersonal contact and offering an almost trust-based/consulative approach.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for your comments shadowbox...

    Not sure what the deal is in your country, but in the UK you can incorporate a company and be the only employee/director - this will help show your clients that you are serious about your company and business practice.
    yip we have this here in NZ too... that is what i have done with my company.

  9. #9
    A Smarter Way to Web! zivo's Avatar
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    Talking Don't Lie

    Don't lie... don't put people in empty offices... be yourself, and look for clients that are looking for what you are!

    mp/m

  10. #10
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Exactly. The prospect will just find out in the end anyway. Remember, if you can't do it to your own mother, you shouldn't do it to your prospective clients (or your existing ones).

  11. #11
    A Smarter Way to Web! zivo's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Words to live by!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz
    Remember, if you can't do it to your own mother, you shouldn't do it to your prospective clients (or your existing ones).
    Interesting perspective... one hard to argue with!

    mp/m

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot shim's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Warren
    ...You should be using every advantage you possibly can to win it - there's no room for innocent humility, not if you plan to stay in business...
    I love that!!!!
    Sonic Rise - At the intersection of cars, nappy hair, and life!



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