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Batman Syndrome of Freelancers

At some point, many freelance consultants consider hiring a junior consultant. The idea is to train him/her, and send him/her to low priority clients. The assumption is; low priority clients would accept the junior (as Robin) just because the freelancer has a brand name (as Batman).

However, this assumption often fails.

Have you seen anyone calling Robin without Batman? No. Exceptions aside; people call Batman, and they could accept Robin as a sidekick only if Batman is present as well.

Batman may consider a client as “low priority”, but the client considers its own business as “high priority”. Therefore; if they call Batman, they want Batman. They often won’t accept an unaccompanied Robin. It is really hard to convince clients to accept Robin as a regular consultant just because Batman has a name.

This has a psychological aspect as well: They will continuously compare Robin to Batman, and assume Robin to be a character lesser than he/she really is.

Solution?

My initial suggestion is to make a schedule where Batman & Robin can go to projects mostly together. If both of them are present at the client site 3 days/week, the client might be willing to accept an unaccompanied Robin at the 4th day; assuming that Robin’s activities are transparent, rate is agreeable and he/she will add reasonable value to the project.

If you can find a position where one of your clients need a junior consultant, this would be a rare opportunity to market Robin! If the trust of the client is obtained, promising that Batman would jump in on critical occasions would increase the chance of a deal.

In any case, I would suggest premeditating on possible positions for Robin before taking any costly action.

Some big consultancy companies have the tendency to showcase “Batman”s during the sales process and send “Robin”s to the actual project.

This is a different case though. They are selling projects over the brand and image of a company, not a person. The client can request a change of certain consultants any time, and they can force the consultancy company to call-in “Batman”s in case a significant risk surfaces. Therefore, clients are relatively comfortable accepting mid-level team members of a big company.

Another important aspect is; decision makers feel more comfortable when they select a big brand for their SAP project (despite the mediocre CV’s). If the project fails, the manager can save his/her rear end by telling that they made the best decision they could by picking the biggest name on the market. Picking a boutique set of freelancers means that some manager takes full responsibility. Smart managers make a mixture of a big company + Batman-level freelancers though.

In any case; big players can market Robins due to such factors. It doesn’t mean that a singular Batman can pull off the same thing. It is possible, but not as easy & common.

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One thought on “Batman Syndrome of Freelancers

  1. Pingback: Freelancer Olmak Ya Da Olmamak – Dr. Kerem Koseoglu

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