‘Lost’ your marbles??

First, let me begin by positioning the overview of the situation, as follows:

As any professional consultant will tell you, a large component of their role (at least on the front end with a new client) is negotiating the terms by which they will do business.

I know, I know….everyone works for top premium dollars right? Sure you do. Just like Johnny or Suzy Engineer that took a job making 65k but tell anyone who will listen that they make 70k+ (YOU know who YOU are)

Recently had a conversation with a new client that felt compelled to implement a ‘full cash refund’ policy in order to do business. From her perspective, “all the firms we work with offer this type of guarantee” (READ: so it must be ok?)

There is so much wrong with that statement that I don’t even know where to start…. Regardless, we wanted the business and genuinely enjoyed the dialogue with said Human Resources. Offered an olive branch to pay as they go, i.e., ½ fee within 30 days and the other ½ at 60 days. But there would be no cash refund – only a replacement guarantee. They agreed and then subsequently ‘moved the goal posts’ a few days later. (didnt see that coming, did you???)  LOL

What in the heck does this have to do with losing your marbles???  Here goes:

OK, so let’s say you owned a company that makes marbles – in fact, they specialize in little green glow in the dark ones. They are really cool… A new customer calls up and says we’d like to order 500 of em. You ask questions and they provide feedback re: specifications, size, color, texture etc… At end of conversation, they order 500 of them! OK, great!! Woohoo! (You’re really pleased because now you get to do what you enjoy and with a new client to boot)

This order is made with the understanding that you will not invoice them until they take receipt/delivery of these fabulous green marbles. (in real world, it’s the opposite – you pay and only THEN pick up – but for this example).

You suggest it wise for all parties involved to send over a package with several different marbles of various colors and shapes – just to be sure this is what the customer really wants… In fact, the customer agrees and thinks this is a fantastic idea! (provided their not paying for the package or mfg process) You fly a small package in Fed Ex; they can pass em around the staff and check em out further. You guessed it – after seeing them first hand, they are certain that they want 500 green glow in the dark marbles!  Sweet – someone call the union steward, we need to set production for OVERTIME next week!

That’s exactly what you do… You order necessary ingredients from your suppliers, manufacture, package, and ship them. Incurring all costs along the way. Customer inspects them upon receipt and everything looks great! Finally, you ‘get’ to invoice them! Boo Yah and happy days!  Right?

You get a call from the customer. Mind you, the same customer that specified, ordered, inspected & taken possession of these marbles nearly 60 days ago, and has one of the two following issues:

A) Customer changes their mind and decides they would like a different color and size combination
~OR ~
B) We have lost our marbles and now feel that we don’t owe you for them

What say you?  Does this seem Fair and Reasonable to anyone out there?  If so, please advise.


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