In a perfect world, clients and technology and service providers would always mesh. Projects would run smoothly. Congratulations would be exchanged, and sometimes, they’ll roll out a cake or share some beers. That’s what we strive for at Source 1 Solutions, which is why we have the core business value: Relationships over deals.
It is common knowledge that some IT service and support providers will try to maneuver their way into a deal that isn’t 100% right for the company, just to close the deal, leaving the project nightmare into the hands of the department in charge of implementation.
The animosity this creates goes without saying, with the sales department being pressured from the top to close deals, any deals, and the rest of the business trying to figure out how to comply with requirements that are out of the company’s scope or area of expertise.
For us, making a sale does not take precedence over building real relationships. We value our client relationships so much, that at times we turn down business if we know it won’t be the right fit.
Playing for the win-win-win
The first step is to fully grasp what the client needs and examine if we are the right provider. We hope that that’s always the case, but sometimes it isn’t and that is ok. It’s far more important for us to be honest and open about how well our solutions will serve the client in the long run. At times we are even able to recommend another company that we know can provide the service and provide the introduction.
The deal has to be good for the end client, our partner, and for Source 1 Solutions. If a deal is not good for all three parties, it is likely that the relationship will end up getting strained. That’s not the game we play.
From a client’s perspective, here are some questions you can ask to examine a vendor that might not be delivering on all fronts: is the vendor interested in a short-term, one-sided, transactional relationship or does it want a long-term, mutually beneficial, strategic one?
We Might Say “No”
There are a number of reasons why a partnership might not be optimal for all parties involved. For example, we’ve turned down opportunities because of unachievable expectations set by the end client; this could be due to geographic location, the cultural aspect of the region, unrealistic timeline, or simple logistics.
It is rare, fortunately, that a partner is unwilling to accept alternative solutions once we are able to explain our reasons for refusal on a given project’s expectations.
How to Say No
First, we explain why we are saying no. We carefully examine the project and give detailed feedback as to why we think that we might not be successful based on past experience.
Many times, a partner welcomes our insight and works with us on finding an alternate solution. The key here is to present options, instead of saying no and closing the door. Clients often appreciate our straightforward approach and the fact that we are looking out for their best interest.
An important factor is to be conscious of the message you are sending when you are negotiating a deal. You might know in the back of your mind that this has a 50/50 chance of working, but you are acting as if you are already onboard. Be mindful.
Like this article in Entrepreneur well states: “In order to prevent the wrong signals from being sent, entrepreneurs should convey strong interest without making a soft commitment in their language or actions — either expressly or implied.”
Finally, we are prepared to close that door. If, after we present alternate solutions, we still can’t come to an agreement, then we agree that we might not be the best partner for this project. In our experience, clients respect the transparency and still come back to us with future opportunities.
Our client relationship goals extend far into the future – we are invested in your business long-term. The relationship we build with you extends far beyond the initial sale; in fact, we consider it a contract of sorts. We are committed to providing you or your end client with a solution that fits their needs perfectly, not haphazardly. We hope that all of our clients can see the value in this mindset as we work to discover what your needs are from all of us at Source 1 Solutions.