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Thread: Rant!!!

  1. #1
    Email problem KimH's Avatar
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    Rant!!!

    I do a fair amount of networking with other small business owners in my area - basically if one of my clients requires a service I don't provide, I will refer them to someone I know and trust and they will do the same for me.

    Recently I placed an ad on a professionals website and was contacted by another professional from this site who has a home based business in the same area as me. As it happened I was urgently trying to source someone with their skills for one of my larger monthly clients, we discussed it and my client was happy with the quote received - all good.

    The person then came to site to carry out the required services and that very evening I get an email from them stating that my client has requested that they do some additional work for him and requested certain information from me. Mind you no professional courtesy in the way of "Do you mind" etc and damned if I even got a Thank you for the initial referral. Whether the client approached this person or visa versa I will never really know, the point is my gut tells me that this person is opportunistic and will try their level best to secure this client as their own -and I am guessing by whatever means possible. :|

    My relationship with my client is very professional, I provide a service and he pays me monthly - as many business owners he is more interested in saving a buck than building long lasting relationships and should this person approach him with a cheaper rate it will be game over for me.

    My philosophy in life has always been that you get more right with honey than you do with vinegar, yet the more time I spend around people the more inclined I am to become cynical. It's a dog eat dog world out there I know, the question is how low am I prepared to go - I don't believe in screwing someone else over to make an extra buck, I guess I will never be rich, but at least I will sleep at night.

    The really sad part about this is that I could have passed on regular business to this person that would far exceed what they will gain from this one client of mine.


    Ah well,.... lesson learnt and rant over.
    "If at first you don't succeed, do it like your mother told you."

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    Unfortunately, you get.....wait, let me light a smoke....

    Where was I..Oh yes. Kim unfortunately you get people like this. I'm in the same boat. It's always a huge concern of mine. "What if someone comes along who's cheaper?". Firstly, if your client is more concerned about price than quality of work & service, then you don't need & want clients like that. Look, I don't have many clients, and yes, every month come the 25th i stress about paying bills. But you know what? My clients, the few I have, are GOOD clients. Trustworthy. Reliable. Yes sometimes they pay late, but that can be fixed.

    I struggled with this for ages. What if I'm charging too little? What if they can get Joe Soap down the road working out of his garage to do the job for less?

    You know what, if Joe Soap charges less and has inferior workmanship, then get Joe Soap. I'll expect a call from you in 3 months time telling me I was right. Kim you know what you are worth, you know what you studied, you know what you can do. & you charge p/h according to those skills. Never, ever sell yourself short. Your rates are your rates.

    I've had clients tell me, "Oh, so & so can do it cheaper". I ask them by how much, and if that fee is way below what I'm worth, then I say, "Ok good. Let them do it then". As with the referral, unfortunately this person screwed you over. Yes, screwed you over. Water under the bridge. I never wish anything bad on someone. Yes I'll be mad as hell. But let it go. If you lose the client, then so be it. You'll get more clients. Better clients.

    I charge what I'm worth. If you get a no-name brand IT Consultant to do it better, then great. But beware, when you call me, and you will call me to fix his mess, I'll charge full rates, with no mercy. I always reward people who refer business my way. & I always refer business to people whom I know are WORTH the referral.

    I'm sorry to hear about how you got screwed. If it makes you feel any better, I have a busted up car that wasn't my fault lol

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    Gold Member Mark Atkinson's Avatar
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    Welcome to the pains of running your own business. When you're working for somebody, this is generally something you don't have to worry about. As soon as you go out on your own, you realise suddenly that it's war.

    I'm sorry to hear about the situation - it is definitely a frustrating one to be in. I would probably pop a note to the "professional" stating that you referred the client to him for [insert service here] through your own good will and support for professionals in your area, and that you don't appreciate them soliciting your clients for other work. Then there are probably two things that could happen: Either they will respond negatively and burn the bridges between you - in which case you put it down to bad luck and a learning experience - or they will respond positively and say they did not intend to "steal" your client and will apologize and agree to not do work for your clients which you are already doing. Either way, you will know where you stand.

    Is there a chance that they weren't aware that you were still performing that service for the client?
    "The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear." - Socrates
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    Email problem KimH's Avatar
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    Andrew,... hope you aren't smoking in public *chuckles* Thanks for the positive comments - as always you know just how spin it to make me feel less homicidal

    Mark,... This person is fully aware of my current business relationship with the client - they haven't "stolen" the client as such yet, but my gut tells me that it is only a matter of time before this occurs. Let's call it women's intuition shall we
    The lesson that I have learnt from this is, that in future any referrals I give will only be to people that I have a long term relationship based on trust with. Everyone else can go and find their own damn clients.
    "If at first you don't succeed, do it like your mother told you."

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    Or go screw themselves.

    Oops, did I say that out loud?

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    It is a difficult one and yes he should of at the very least said Thank you. Some times people do not realise that when they are reffered to a client that it is coming from a refferral from someone who you could either buy them lunch or make further contact with them to network at a later stage, thus benefitting both parties.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    My sympathy, Kim.

    I don't know if there's a code of networking ethics out there, but if there isn't maybe we should develop one here.

    Given the fairly wide range of services that are offered within my group of companies, we actually do have a policy on this sort of thing - best illustrated by an example.

    If a pest control company refers electrical COC tests to us from clients where they're doing the entomological clearance, we will not solicit any of the ento work. Even if the client asks if we will do it, we respond that to do so would be a conflict of interest and refer them back to the company that provided the referal. We won't even provide a quote.

    I believe this philosophy has been a key ingredient in building up the referal network we have. We view each of these relationships as a potential long term partnership, not just another sale.

    Just how financially astute this policy is, I have no idea. But I sense that breaking trust for short term gains is very short-sighted, and must surely cost you in the long run.

    Business may be likened to war, but even in war good allies are most useful.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    KimH (29-Jul-11)

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    Gold Member Mark Atkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A
    If a pest control company refers electrical COC tests to us from clients where they're doing the entomological clearance, we will not solicit any of the ento work. Even if the client asks if we will do it, we respond that to do so would be a conflict of interest and refer them back to the company that provided the referal. We won't even provide a quote.
    Likewise with our design services. If a web developer refers a client to us for design work, we don't even begin to think of soliciting web development work from the client. I believe that would be extremely rude and unethical. A slap in the face of the person who sent the referral your way, basically.
    "The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear." - Socrates
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    Kim - I have a different take on this. A customer isn't a bit of property that one owns. Nowhere in this do you consider the clients view. Look, the client has a brain and also makes his own decisions. Having a perfectly professional relationship isn't always what the client wants, sometimes he wants to talk a bit of rubbish or vent or whatever. The client might even require a service that he doesn't think you offer. - I don't know, maybe he wants somebody to make the tea while he chats...What I am saying is that somewhere in this one also needs to consider the client.

    As a client I will not be held over a barrel by a supplier. If the other guy offers a service that is more appropriate to my needs then I will move. Look, I know you feel done in, but the reality is that it is a dog eat dog world and just as clients look out for themselves so do service providers. We are quick to complain about Vodacom and switch to MTN, we bitch and moan about the banks and we change when we are unhappy. If the dentist isn't available and she sends us to another dentist and the new dentist is better we are quick to move. Why is it that we feel justified in our actions yet we feel done in when a client does this to us. If I refer a client to an opposition company I do so for various reasons, which might include my being unable to render the required service or possibly wanting to palm a terrible client off onto the opposition just to get in the oppositions face.

    Andrew - a thought - The greatest virtue one can have is humility. Joe soap might be an airline pilot who is helping a friend or he might be a guy with 3 degrees waiting for the perfect oppertunity - never ever underestimate the abilities and mental prowess of another, be it an opposition supplier or a client. Clients do not always make decisions based on price - a lot of decisions are made based on an evaluation of the suppliers attitude. Clients do not keep a smartass around no matter if he's the best or the cheapest.

    The bottom line is this - we hold on to our clients by supplying services that the client requires, at a price agreed to be fair to both parties. It is the clients right to move and we should respect that right simply because we are the client for the other 16 hours of the day.
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
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    It's a different story when Joe Soap has no degrees, no experience & the only thing he knows how to do is install Win 7 SP1. The company then goes with Joe Soap to install Active Directory on a server with 35 workstations & to configure that active directory & the DNS scope along with the proxy. Just because Joe Soap asks R80 p/h less.

    3 months later the company gets rid of Joe Soap because he doesn't have the capacity to do what he needs to do. I then get called in to clean up the mess and hear things like, "We should've never gone with him".

    That's what I have a problem with. When you inform the client the work will be inferior with the other service provider, you warn them of the consequences, and they still don't listen.

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