Friday, August 12, 2011

How NOT to do business.

Today was what I'd call a rough day at work. I spent the majority of the day shooting off emails or calling people. The calls were rough. I had to inform a few companies that they lost bids to do work for us.

Let me give you a little insight. We are fast approaching trade show season in our industry. It's going to be a rough end of August through mid-October. Along with the everyday happening at work I have to plan tradeshows, make the price list for next year, put together the binder that includes the price list and product information, oh, and don't forget we are redoing a lot of packaging and launching new products. Yeah, I'm not going to be swamped AT ALL! But hey, that isn't the point of this post. The point is that we are in the midst of planning shows and we decided that we will be giving out t-shirts at some of these shows. The t-shirt will have our company name, the website, and the icons for twitter, facebook, and (we've just recently gone into social media and launched a new website).

I called a company in Texas that does a large part of our printing of flyers, pamphlets etc. to see if they know anyone that prints t-shirts. While I was waiting for the referral to come via email I called the company that we use here in Montreal often for a quote. At the same time my boss asked me to ask our sales reps if they had a printing person that could get a good price. Let's be honest, the economy is pretty much crappy right now and we are all looking for the best price possible. I got the first bid in from the Montreal company and while I hit the forward button to show my boss I knew we wouldn't be using them. They were extremely over priced. Seriously.  The referral from my friend in Texas came through and we discussed t-shirt brand, feel, print ideas etc. while I was waiting on his quote a quote came in from one of my sales reps contacts. I informed this guy that I was waiting for a quote from another company. He said he understood.

I felt overwhelmed but I knew one thing for sure. The Montreal company was out. The referral from Texas sent me mock ups via email but no pricing. He told me that he would stay in line with what we paid last year (I was off work for a year so I have no clue what it is). I told the company that my sales rep referred me to that although they have great prices and great mock ups I am still waiting on one more bid. He told me that he completely understood. A few minutes later I got another email from him asking for more details and he said "I'm confident that I'll be the price best and I'd like to be proactive while you wait for your final quote. Can I have the following information...."

My boss made the decision last night. He wanted to go with the company that my sales rep brought to us. He managed to get us higher quality shirts at a better price and he was located closer to come of our trade shows so the shipping price would be cheaper too.  I called the guy this morning and finalized some details and gave him the green light. BUT before I could do that I got a call from the Montreal company asking if we made a decision. Unfortunately I couldn't bring myself to let her down. What I told her instead was that we were waiting for another quote. She said, "Wow, that hurt." I don't understand why that could hurt? Are we supposed to blindly just accept your pricing without looking at another company? Are we supposed to assume that you are the best priced company? I'm really sorry but over the 4 years I've worked at this company I've quickly realized that instead of being the cheapest it really is one of the highest priced companies when doing printed materials. I think it might have hurt because my boss didn't just say "Okay" instead we decided to shop around.

I then had to call the company that was referred to me by a friend. I started off all nice and friendly and brought myself to say, "I'm really sorry but we have decided to go with another company" and then the guy went off on me. He asked what the pricing difference was and if we were willing to kill a business relationship over a couple hundred dollars and how he didn't feel his company was given a fair chance. I told him that "You were higher priced on lower quality shirts, therefore I'd assume that you are going to be higher priced on the higher quality shirts too" and he kept on going in. I mentioned that the other companies price quote included 24 Adidas polo shirts as well and then he says "Yeah Adidas is just throwing free shirts at everyone these days. He must have a rejected load" Wow. Excuse me!? Can't you just shut your face and accept that we decided to go with another company? Then he said the thing that irked me the most, "I don't understand how an executive would choose to go with a completely new company when we have worked together and proved that we price well, work on short deadlines, and always deliver on time." I basically, very politely told him, "I'm sorry but last year we did take a chance on you and it worked out for us, we are hoping that this year the same thing happens."

I completely understand that a company can be disappointed when they were expecting to land a $6000 job but I did inform them that I was waiting on other bids. I told all the companies that we were waiting on other bids (except the Montreal company who came in right around $10,000). I was honest and remained professional. I don't see how the owner of a company can just bitch and moan to me about us not choosing them. I would even understand him making a comment like, "I'm really sorry/disappointed that this didn't work out, I was looking forward to working with you." I can understand him telling a business partner how he's disappointed or how he was banking on getting the job. I just don't find it was very professional of him to complain directly to a company that MIGHT have used him again in the future. I can promise you one thing though, as long as I am at the company we will NOT work with that particular company again.

So, would you ever complain directly to a customer or potential customer?


  1. We have a couple of people every month that try to get us to lower the sale price of a car because of what another dealership quoted them on a similar car. If it's close we might lower the price and meet it, but if we aren't close we will thank them for their time, and ask them to think of us in the future. Even the owner has been involved with haggling. We respect the guest (not customer) and ask them to think about us for their service (maintenance)too.

    I couldn't imagine what he was trying to accomplish. Do you feel like you would want to work with him again? I would like to say I feel bad for him for losing a large order like that. But they shot themselves in the foot.

  2. Thats absolutely ridiculous. I hope you tell other people how horrible they were to work with.

  3. Dana I honestly don't mind when people try to bargain. I know that I certainly try to get the same or better deal with a company I'd like to work with but this guy was down right rude.

    It's like he wanted me to just slam the phone down or something!

    Ashley I'm going to call the guy that recommended him to me. That wasn't a great recommendation in my opinion.

  4. I can't believe how unprofessional that guy was. Apparently he's never heard of having tact before. It's so frustrating to deal with people like that and I think I would say something to the person's boss via email if possible.

  5. This was very interesting. It's never easy to tell a company that they didn't get a particular bid, but you handled it fine.

    And it amazes me how some companies are so quick to be salty when not chosen. When instead they should be saying, "OK, I didn't get this one, but what can I do to get the next one."

    I would do the same thing you did. Ban them for their actions and give the business to another company.

  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Following you, too! Please LIKE me on Facebook, too, Toni The Chic Momma!

    Toni The Chic Momma

  7. Yeah, I've had to deal with people like that too. It just blows my mind that they drive possible future customers away like that!

    Found you on the Blog Hop, and subscribed to your RSS feed, and friended you all over the place. :-)

    Feel free to stop by and follow back!

  8. now a days, doing a business is like to catch small viruses which are not seeing by naked eye:s


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