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Vova    1151
Quote

Sometimes, big companies will behave like, well, big companies. The left hand doesn’t always know what the right hand is doing. Office politics sometimes gets in the way. Some projects will take months when you could do it yourself in a few days if you didn’t have to build a consensus first. Head office will kill projects at random. People will move jobs. They might get bored of you. You might get derostered arbitrarily.

That’s a quote from an old but good article titled “Bambi vs. Godzilla: how to work with very big clients” by @Matthew Stibbe.

The article makes quite a few good points both on why big companies need small vendors, and on how small companies can get past the typical obstacles.

Here are some more quotes:

  1. “Your first objective is to make contact with individuals inside large corporations who can become your champion.”
  2. “Your objective is to get rostered. Once you are on the roster of approved suppliers, the nice people in the marketing department can give you work simply by raising a purchase order.”
  3. “'Avoid the trap of subcontracting for a larger agency that is already rostered.”
  4. “The more unique or specialist or niche your services, the harder it is for a purchasing department to haggle about prices or play you off against other providers.”
  5. “Try to avoid giving a daily or hourly rate as this is easily negotiated away.” (@Tanya Quintieri, I wonder what you have to say about this, as I know you are an advocate of hourly or per-project pricing.)

What do you guys think? How many of you are used to working with big clients? What tips and tricks you can share? I’ll tell you mine if you tell us yours ;) 

P.S. Thanks to @Alessandra Checcarelli for sharing this on Facebook!

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Hi Vova, 

How's life? The quote doesn't really impress me. I know my numbers, I know how little I have to negotiate prices. Matter of fact, I think I've eliminated the pain of discussing prices as much as possible. If you focus on solutions, you can forget about pricing.

As for working with large companies: Easy. Use a retainer that is approved and paid upfront. No matter how big the company is, in the end, you're still working with humans. And if they really wanna work with you, they'll find a way to make it happen, on your terms. If they don't, then you'll always just be a commodity anyway.

Best,

Tanya

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Vova    1151
22 hours ago, Tanya Quintieri said:

If you focus on solutions, you can forget about pricing.

Well said, Tanya!

I also promised to share some of my own tips.

Here they are:

  1. Show them you can give them the same as big contractors. They want to be able to hire people in other specializations/language pairs than yours — offer that. Find colleagues to team up with and a platform to organize everything (you know one wink-wink). They want to pay by wire transfer? Offer that as well. Don’t let your champion’s opponents claim that there is any organizational reason to opt for a mammoth instead of you.
  2. Show them you can give them more — namely, personal approach. There’s no need to advertise yourself like this — everyone claims this anyway, including vendors who couldn’t care less about personal relationships with clients. The thing is in doing, not claiming.
  3. Go the extra mile. Big vendors are usually tied to their “scope of services”. You have the luxury of transcending it. Your client wants a translation, but you see that the original sucks. Offer them to proofread the original text, too. Or to copywrite it from scratch.

And, finally, and paraphrasing Tanya’s words, focus on solutions not services. Your client has a pain that they want to get rid off. Or a summit they want to surmount. Help them reach their goals and not just blindly do what you are “meant to”.

Then they will see the difference.

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Vova    1151
Just now, Alessandra Checcarelli said:

Thank you for the mention @Vova;)

Thank you, and glad to have you here, Alessandra. Now that you’re onboarded, it’s time to share your own opinion on the matter ;) 

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from my personal experience as a freelancer , there are two major constraint factors ( time and peace of mind )

if i work with clients directly , i will waste time chasing them to pay or rectifying silly demands, so i will waste time and peace of mind to excel in other jobs .............. so leave it all and deal as a freelancer ..........even with cheap rates you will save time to increase your income through high productivity 

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Una D.    27

When it comes to working with big clients, I think the first step is absolutely crucial: 

  1. “Your first objective is to make contact with individuals inside large corporations who can become your champion."

Sending out a general cover letter and CV to dozens of communications departments won't work, it will be treated as spam. Existing personal contacts and networks play a really important role, and you can use LinkedIn to your advantage in this case. But going to networking or sales events where your potential clients will be, shaking hands, leaving business cards and a good impression are also great methods for the less introverted amongst us.

Just don't forget that while big clients can mean high-quantity, better-paid work, they are often also more demanding. They have a big reputation to uphold, and they'll be clear about the quality they require. Be prepared to create specific glossaries, go back-and-forth with various representatives, explain your linguistic choices and of course, always stay responsive, pleasant and professional. At the same time, be clear about payment policies (chase them up for late payment as you would any client) and your working hours. One of my mottos is "don't let big clients ruin your weekends"...

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