What becomes of the broken hearted?
I'm curious how other folks handle this situation. A known and loyal client calls you in for a meeting because they want you to produce a video for them. They tell you that that you are getting the job, but as a matter of course they have to interview other vendors ( uh yeah right.) Then they send you an email saying they went with someone else. How do you respond?
In the past, if I lost a bid on a project I would do a polite follow up email asking, as a business courtesy, for feedback so I can assess whether the decision was based on cost, or whatever. I'm curious how other's handle the big ole rejection email..
We all know it's strictly business, but does anyone out there ever find themselves with a bruised ego after such things? Who me? no way!
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I would assume that if they were truly a known and loyal client that it would be a pretty easy phone call to make. "Hey -----, just wanted to make sure I didn't leave anything off the proposal I submitted. Was it purely price that made you choose ---?"
That way you are assuming that the relationship is still "known and loyal" and that you are there for the next one, perhaps better armed for the situation.
Also, if it is a known and loyal customer and they said they were bidding it out I would try to get more info to see if what they needed was beyond the scope of your services. Then I would find out if there was still a way we could plug into the project.
These rejections are truly worse when it is slow. They pass pretty quickly when you are busy.
So get busy!
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post
You hope your bid is good for the client, but also good for you. If you do not know the client's budget, you give it your best shot, hopefully based upon previous work you have done for them.
Best way to respond is "sorry we won't have the opportunity to help you with this project. It sounded like a great fit for our company. I hope we can remain in contact and be considered for future jobs. It is always great working with you." Etc...
As described on this forum to the point of absurdity - there is the occasional client who goes with a hack because it is cheap, but they eventually will see the error of their ways and come back to you!
[Carol Lane] "I'm curious how other folks handle this situation. A known and loyal client calls you in for a meeting because they want you to produce a video for them. They tell you that that you are getting the job, but as a matter of course they have to interview other vendors ( uh yeah right.) Then they send you an email saying they went with someone else. How do you respond?"
Thank you for the consideration is always good. I don't try to haggle my way into a bad situation with em. Take the high road, say thanks and wait for em to come crawling back after your aise your rates.
There could be a bunch of reasons why they went with someone else, and most if not all of them may not have anything to do with you. We've had this happen many times over 14 years in business. Typically, someone higher up than the contact person we were dealing with made the decision to use someone else.
Sometimes, companies want to spread their work around to see what other types of products they can get and for what price. As others have noted, I'd politely ask why you didn't get the project. No harm in that. If they want to tell you they will. If not, just keep at them and probe harder next time you have a meeting for exactly what they're looking for on the project and in the proposal.
Just as an aside, we've had this same thing happen on two occasions where we pitched actual storyboards and concepts. In those two cases, guess whose ideas and visual concepts were used by the "other" production company? Yep...OURS! So it could be worse. They could use someone else AND steal your ideas!
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Good advice from Rich about keeping busy, and luckily I do have plenty of work to keep me so. Nonetheless, business or not, the sting of rejection is never fun, especially for us sensitive creative types. So, thanks to all for the responses, they helped to take my mind off of a bad day. And yes Chris, the thought crossed my mind that they might steal my ideas as well, since they assiduously took notes and thanked me for "brainstorming." I suppose you will all agree that the only response to that one is "you're welcome."
Send the follow-up message and be upbeat: "No hard feelings, but if there are any tips you can give about why you went the other way, we'd like that for future reference, so we can stay competitive. And hey, just know that, if it doesn't work out with the folks you picked, we're still here for you."
Of course, you're going to raise the rate a bit on them if they DO come back, hat in hand, with a broken production that needs your magic. But not too much more.:-)
We have also had the experience of helping out with in-depth brainstorming, to then find out that 3 prices are needed and low and behold the winning company has used our ideas.
It's a very difficult thing to do - remember that you haven't done anything wrong - if your work wasn't good enough they wouldn't have bothered coming to you for any prices at all. What also needs remembering is that you are helping them out just by bothering to help out with costing for the job...
Keep your chin up, and keep yourself busy - even if you work on your own showreel!
The present economy has led a number of companies to set aside relationships in order to save a few dollars. When we go into a meeting, we ask if they are looking elsewhere at our competitors and what do we have to do in order to keep our job. This is a serious issue as we have lost a few clients based on price only. A few have come back but some have wanted to but felt embarrassed because the people they hired over us either did a crap job or raped them on price.
Some time they are just looking for something new and exciting after working with someone for a long time because the relationship has just become boring.
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stop being a baby. I have heard that men succeed in business much more than women, because men are used to being rejected at an early age in dating situations, and this prepares them for the business world (of getting rejected).
Let me tell you Carol, if your mother makes a wonderful dinner, and I wanted that dinner, and she wanted her TV hooked up in her bedroom, I would do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make sure that your mother makes ME dinner, and not you. And you would say "but Mom, I'm your daughter, how COULD you !". And you know what, I would get your mom's delicious dinner, because that is my goal, and even if she is blood and family, YOU are my enemy, and I am going to get your mom's delicious dinner - not you. Once you accept this fact, you will do better in business. There is no loyalty, and you have to keep proving that "you are the best daughter, at the best price, and will do anything for mom - no matter what". That is how you keep clients. It is very painful to find new clients, and I will lose money, to make sure that my competition does not have a chance to "get into the door". It's also painful for my clients to find a new vendor, so I will "reverse my decision", once my competitor is gone.
I have nothing but respect for Bob, I've often said "He may be harsh, but he's not wrong".
At the risk of getting a beat-down, however, I will say Bob Zelin *may* be wrong about one thing, this time.
He underestimates just how cruel and unforgiving, monomaniacal and mercenary the distaff gender can be. Or worse, when they get MAD.
He has obviously never seen 7th grade girls up close in their natural environment.
The Terminator is a second-rater by comparison.
While I generally agree with Bob and I certainly love his analogy (or is it a parable?), there are times when you can do "whatever it takes" and STILL lose a project.
The process that some companies go through to select vendors can be byzantine...and as I said before, you can talk, wine and dine, cajole, promise and massage the person you're told has the decision making power, but in the end, they often DON'T have the final say.
I'll give you an example. We had a long-time client come to us with a project. They weren't even bidding it out, they just wanted an estimate for budgeting purposes. Some weeks went by...no word from the client on scheduling despite a few calls and emails. Finally, we get a call from our long-time contact, (who by the way really enjoys working with us). We lost the project to another company? How we ask? It seems the new Marketing Director for that brand at the company was....drum roll please...the CEO's daughter. She wasn't familiar with us but was familiar with another company run by friends & colleagues from college. She overruled our contact person and made her work with the other company.
Long story short, their experience with the other company was bad, their next project they were back with us.
Magnetic Image, Inc.
"It's not you, it's them"
Often, there are 101 variables that are neither within your control nor dependent on your professionalism, skill level, reel, wealth of experience, charm etc.
I could empathize with the biting feeling when you first find out that you've been rejected in spite of giving a good shot with the pitch. I mean, "Hey, we're nice, professional people and we've got this KICKASS concept at a great price!"
We have quite a fair bit of experience being contacted by old and new potential clients who need some help with coming up with the specs for an upcoming project [because they're required to call a tender] or provide a rough costing. Generally, we take it as an opportunity to make a good impression and just help them out. Sometimes, this involves going down to talk them through - mainly to help them clarify what they want.
I'd say the 'hit rate' for such goodwill gestures ain't that great. But for those clients we've retained, we've definitely developed a good working relationship. But business is business - there are no guarantees it will stay that way. Not least because bosses change, contacts change jobs etc.
If we had a dedicated business person to do this, it might be less taxing. But as fragile creative types who have to do double duty, sometimes it does become quite tiring.
Sometimes, when we're puzzled as to why we failed to clinch a bid, we do send a polite email to see if they could let us in on the reasons. Usually they're quite polite and PC about it...
We did have the odd incident when we spent quite some time sitting with a prospective client, failed to get the job and a few months later, when their shiny new video popped online... the concept looked WAY TOO FAMILIAR (though the execution left much to be desired). That kinda sucked... we contemplated taking some action but after some deliberation, reckoned it's not worth the trouble. Plus, we believe in karma ;)
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