Ten Things Outside CI Consultants Do Not Want to Deal With

July 5, 2017

On the relationship

 

  1. “I’m not the final client for this work.” That makes doing the work harder, since the consultant is going through a filter – you. And that means no opportunity for effective pushback or digging into the end user’s real needs, as opposed to its (different) stated needs.

 

  1. “We’ll promise you more business if you’ll cut your fee.” Unless you have that authority, and there is more business in the pipeline, do not hold out this faux carrot. And don’t you think this will impact the current work? Remember the saying, “There are three things possible, but you only get two: fast, cheap, or good.”

 

  1. “Your relationship is limited to the person who signed your contract.” (This involves a sad story in which a client was fired in mid-project, and his successors initially didn’t want to pay a pending invoice.)

 

On the submitted bid/proposal

 

  1. “We’ll share your proposal and/or approach with other vendors.” In other words, one consultant is now working for its competitors? Increasingly, proposals are submitted to potential clients with language forbidding sharing the contents. Respect it.

 

  1. “We’re really just looking for good ideas for our own people.” Why not pay a consultant to work with your team to learn how to develop better skills and approaches?

 

  1. “You’re column fodder.” That means you need to get three bids, but want only vendor #1. The other two bidders are there to fill out the columns on the evaluation matrix. Don’t do it.

 

  1. “Your bid is a bargaining tool.” Sometimes bids are solicited on an existing piece of work to keep an incumbent “in its place” cost-wise and otherwise. See number 6 above.

 

  1. “You’re not bidding on the same scope of work as others.” It is amazing how few companies issue formal RFPs or other engagement specs for CI these days, so they are often getting competing “apples and oranges” proposals.

 

On fees and payments

 

  1. “We always bargain harder with small vendors.” High quality small vendors without big time “brand names” are often seen as more likely to cut fees to win work. See number 2 above.

 

  1. “We only pay on 45 (or 60 or 75) days.” When that comes from a (large) firm which requires its own customers to pay in 10-15 days net, it translates to “We ride our accounts payable to enhance our cash flow.”


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