We had a scope of work that was pretty darn tight: Top-line consulting for a UCaaS solution, vendor selection
Despite our generous pro-services pricing, he was struggling to get ours and other contracts he needed
“Do you trust that we will do a great job? That we will make the right suggestions, better than you could yourself, and drive a faster install for a site in need?” We knew the answer to this question, as this Client had a proposal from an existing carrier that was working directly with the site. We were shown the proposal. It was going to take this carrier roughly 120 days to install the wrong solution (we found three areas where it didn’t meet the Client’s clear criteria). The bar wasn’t set very high, although we would’ve cleared any bar he threw our way.
“Do you want to move forward with RCG and what we bring?” A resounding yes from the Client, but he still couldn’t get our pro-services contract without a few more hurdles, which would cost us a week (and again, we don’t work for free). We also don’t like to work without a clear SOW. But… we needed to get to work on dealing with a site that was in the death throes with their existing phone system and call-center application.
“Since your approval is purely around budget (not terms and conditions, or scope related items) then mark through the dollar amount, and write TBD. Can you then sign it?” Oddly the answer was yes. I didn’t expect yes, but was ready to move forward with that yes.
“I want your commitment that we will work towards my original fee number, and build a case showing our impact on this deployment. If we show a higher value than the original number, in the work we do, we expect our fee to go up. We have little protection here; this is a leap of trust. We need to act and we need to act now. Will you get the original fee approved as this project proceeds, and push your CFO with the details on the job we do for that approval? Will you also agree that if you can’t honor that approach, that you will find some way to replace my original fee through parts of other work that you commit to us, a committment on procurement or service work, or even by a referral to one of your peers?”
It was a risk, but it worked. We began the vendor selection, signed vendor contracts, and my PM is already setting up a cadence call. Oh, and my client signed our pro-services contract. He hasn’t given it to me yet (says he has it in a drawer) and may change the dollar amount of the fee – depending on how well we do. I trust that he will have a reason for any dollar amount he puts on there and a plan to make up any difference, if he has any sort of pushback.
With all that, we got to work. We earned two-way trust even deeper than it was already, and we’re confident that we will be made whole on the full original amount. It’s now all about how we got here.
And… I wouldn’t be surprised if he gave us a raise. He is, as I stated, a very good Client.