I just sent out a proposal for a deal that could change MWI’s trajectory. It’s not “ridiculous” big, and it’s nothing we can’t handle (trust me, I’ve turned down plenty of “ridiculous” big deals in the past two years because I knew we would just be getting ourselves into trouble and possibly a lawsuit if we took them on), but it’s a big deal. We may not get the deal, but I’ve learned not to be too pessimistic about these things, because you just never know, and because once upon a time I landed one of those outrageous deals. In telling the story I’m going to be purposely vague to be on the safe side, even though it’s been a few years and neither of my contacts for this client still work there, but here’s how it went down…
One day I a friend of mine contacted me and said “Hey, my employer needs some work done on a website. They’ve already got a bid from a huge New York firm, but they think they’re being overcharged so they want another bid and I recommended you guys.” He told me some of the details and I started coming up with rough pricing in my head. But before saying anything I asked “Can you tell me what the New York firm bid it at?”
When he told me the price I was floored. It was over ten times what I would have normally charged for the project. But if I submitted a bid for what I would have normally charged, I probably wouldn’t get the project because the client would look at my price, look at the New York firm price, and wonder if there was any possible way MWI could do as good a job if we cost so much less. It would be like someone offering to sell you a brand-new BMW for $5K–you would assume there was something wrong with it, or a catch of some sort.
So I asked my friend what he thought I should bid it at. He told me if I came in at about 2/3 the price of the New York firm then he thought it would be a slam dunk. So I met with the decision maker and his team (which included my friend, who had fully disclosed to the decision maker that he was my friend, just in case you’re wondering), got the details which confirmed this was not a huge project, and then submitted a bid for 2/3 the price of the New York firm.
I spent the next 24 hours wondering if this was all for real. It was almost like a dream. I stood to make a huge profit on this job, and almost felt bad about it. The next day the client contacted me, told me he really like my price and that it was going to save him a lot of money, and said he was ready to go. It was bizarre. Most people would have said “You’re going to charge me how much for this tiny bit of work?!” but this guy was ecstatic. I could tell he was excited because he had just cut tens of thousands of dollars off the cost of this project. I was ecstatic. Everyone was happy about it, except the New York firm, I suppose.
Over the next few weeks we completed the project and the client loved the work we did. We delivered the goods, got paid quickly, and it was all beautiful.
The ironic part is that my friend later told me the work we did never actually got used. There was a change in plans or something, and it was scrapped. But hey, I’m not complaining.
So who knows, maybe it will happen again some day.