A fascinating example recently of the need to cut one’s losses and walk away from a deal, even after being selected as the preferred supplier.
The client in question wanted us to run a series of training courses in a far-flung land. Pricing was agreed, terms and conditions discussed, dates provisionally scheduled in diaries. And then… And then: just a few ‘minor’ tweaks to the Ts and Cs were proposed by our client contact. A few highlights might raise your eyebrows as much as they caused us to raise ours.
We’d obviously be happy to provide them with electronic copies of all our materials, and grant them unlimited permission to reproduce and reuse these at no cost. Those travel expenses they’d offered, all along, to pay? Actually, we’d need to cover them after all.
It raised a couple of issues for us, as a business. We always aim to be open, honest, fair and trustworthy in our dealings. In this case, the potential client didn’t seem to uphold the same honourable standards. How could we trust them? And could we do business – no matter how lucrative the potential contract – on an entirely unreasonable commercial basis?
Sadly, dear reader, the project’s not going ahead. There reaches a point when enough has to be enough. And our little escapade illustrates the dangers of measuring proposal centres on win rates alone, when the negotiation phase can cause even a sole bidder to walk away from the table.