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Why Didn't You Hire Me?

I'm searching for caterers for a wedding reception big backyard BBQ picnic this summer. I'm pretty sure that we have one chosen, but nothing is signed yet. One of the other potential vendors asked me why we didn't choose them as the top pick. "Was it the cost?"

This is my response to them (with minor mods for the sake of the public posting):

Price is always a consideration. But, in this case, our top pick is roughly 40% higher than your quote. Did you want to try to convince me you're the better option? I'll give you the chance if you want it, but you have an uphill battle.

Our top pick was more responsive, and her proposal was easier to understand. Those were the two primary reasons she rose to the top.

The first thing you did was send me two documents in my response. To this day, I could not tell you the difference between the Burger Bar Fancy and The Fundamental BBQ. They seem to be the exact same thing, except one doc had more detail on the menu. The price per person was not obvious in the original docs you sent me, nor was the total cost. Is cost even in the fancy document? I can't find it.

I didn't realize, until you mentioned later, that the initial two docs you sent were not custom proposals prepared for me. You wanted to chat; which is great, but you left me hanging for ~3 weeks and did not call me until I followed up. If it is not a priority to bring me on as a client, what sort of priority will you give us once we sign and start coughing over money?

The 2nd and more customized proposal you sent over is significantly improved over the initial menu docs. I'd even say it is the 2nd best proposal we've seen. Had it not been pulling teeth to get it out of you it would have warranted more serious consideration.

And there it is. That is probably why you didn't get my business. In my 9+ years of being in business, I've found that price is rarely the deciding factor.

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
John C. Bland II's Gravatar And with that you have to post their response email. :-D
# Posted By John C. Bland II | 4/6/09 7:51 PM
Jeffry Houser's Gravatar I wrote the e-mail from the stance of "one business owner to another." I almost put that text in the e-mail before realizing I didn't know if I was conversing with the owner.

I suspect, this will either be seen as me attacking them, or they'll chalk me up to a lost cause and not respond at all. I'm expecting the second and that I'll get no response.

They could take this as an opportunity to blow me away with attention to detail and customer service.

But I'll let you know if I hear anything more.
# Posted By Jeffry Houser | 4/6/09 8:35 PM
Jeffry Houser's Gravatar The most amusing stuff from the vendor's response was:
"Your response is so well written and to the point.
Honestly, I feel like I got my bottom spanked, but that is a good thing- a wake up call for me!"

The vendor updated their proposal and we're trying to schedule an in-person meeting. They still have an uphill battle though.
# Posted By Jeffry Houser | 4/17/09 8:12 PM
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