The ‘Let’s Try It Ourselves’ Problem

(Richard Millington) #1
Originally published at: <strong></strong><br><br>Every few months a prospective client, working on a new community, will invite us to submit a proposal, see the cost, and reply along the lines of:

“Thanks, we’re going to see how it goes and we’ll let you know if we need your help”

Which makes perfect sense if you feel you can make it work without help.

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(Shreyas) #2

I’ve always thought about this. We recently had a similar problem. One of the things we realized was that we should do is to start billing the client for the time put in on the project.

(Sarah Hawk) #3

For the proposal you mean?

(Shreyas) #4

Oops, yes.

(Richard Millington) #5

You bill clients for the time you spend putting a proposal together?

I’ve never heard of that before.

Wouldn’t you need a proposal to get approval to do that? :slight_smile:

(Shreyas) #6

Just realized that this reply might not be directly relevant to the topic.

More details

Well, so here’s the scenario-
We are into the business of doing developer conferences and community events. By virtue of consistently doing this for the last 6 years and because of the quality of the content, developers who’ve attended our events usually recommend their companies to sponsor or ‘be a part of our events’.

Last week, we had a company reach out to us because some of their employees had attended our event and had asked the marketing team to get in touch with some possibility of doing events together. Usually, when the marketing team takes over things, we’ve had some really bad experiences because they think that we are an ‘events’ company and they can just put in money, sit back and relax. We, on the other hand, spend so much time and effort coming up with topics for meetups, outreach mechanisms, surveys and a lot of meetings to put together a meetup. Now, they refused to change the dates for the meetup because ‘they don’t work on weekends and their office space won’t be open’. The problem here is that developers here attend events only on weekends, and that too specifically on Saturdays. The conversation didn’t seem to go very well mostly because all that team cared about was checking off that event from their list of things to do and not understand the idea behind why they’re doing an event.

It has consumed so many hours (we use Toggl to track time spent on different projects) of the editors & community manager for putting together the topic and list of speakers+format of the event. Now they tell us that they can’t do an event on a weekend, and at some point, might tell us that they’ll do the event themselves, in which case the entire effort is wasted.

So, from now on, we’ve decided not to do third party events. But in case there’s an instance where we can’t avoid the request, we tell them upfront that they will be billed for the event from the time we start the conversation, regardless of whether they choose to do the event with us or not.