How to End a Relationship before it Begins

We recently had to negotiate a contract with a potential client that we ultimately through the negotiation process decided was not a client we wanted. It wasn’t because the work wasn’t in our core area of expertise or that the client wouldn’t be profitable, under both these measures it should have been a perfect client for us. It was because of the way their executive team behaved during contract negotiations.
The two executives from the client spent the hour on the phone with us trying to intimidate and bully us. They refused to discuss points that were at issue, dismissed any of our concerns out of hand, and yelled, screamed and berated us that if we wanted their business we had to except their demands. They acted school yard bullies.
I have experienced behavior like this throughout my career during negotiations, while never at this extreme. What I have found is that acting like a bully  may give you what you want at the moment but in the end,  it does not create a partnership or an internal advocate. Inevitably in any relationship there’s going to be some downs and you want your partner to rally for you. But when they remember your poor treatment of them, they will not go the extra mile that you need them most to support you. By setting the relationship up for success from the very beginning by building a partnership at initial relationship and contract creates mutual and sustainable benefit for both parties. In the end, we want all our partners to be profitable and happy so they can continue to give us their best. If we take that opportunity from them, we only get sub-par performance with a lack of passion.
We realized with this particular potential client, that success would be elusive no matter how hard we tried. They would be an emotional drain our team so the team would not be able to deliver their best.  No matter how important our revenue goals were for year, our ability to successfully deliver for a client and our team members was more important.
  • Brian

    Great read and sometimes it does just make more sense to walk away!