Consultants - how do you handle your client sharing your pricing?

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by Emily, May 25, 2014.

  1. Emily

    Emily
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    This question is geared toward businesses that don't want their pricing to be public knowledge. (Like consultants and those who bid on projects.)

    Are you concerned about clients sharing your pricing with others, and if so, how do you protect that information? And if the client shares your info with others, do you do anything?

    Background: When I submit a proposal I include a confidentiality statement that the information is confidential and is not to be shared with anyone who is not part of the organization. I do corporate training. I have a client who is using me to teach their new computer system in conjunction with another company who is putting in the system. The other company provides both complimentary and competing services to mine. I sensed my client was openly discussing my proposal with the other company despite the confidentiality statement in it.

    More recently I responded by email to the client with details some services and included pricing in that email. I did not think to include a confidentiality statement in that email.

    The client forwarded that email to my competitor and low level internal people (secretaries) in their organization. I don't want secretaries or my competitors having my pricing information. The client also asked me about pricing on a conference call with my competitor and others present. The client was not being malicious, just clueless. (For many reasons it's clear she either did not read or did not retain much of my proposal.)

    I did not say anything to the client because the damage was done and I didn't want to strain our relationship, but I was really bothered by it. I understand my client is using my competitor in lieu of an internal IT department and if that company was their employee it would be normal to discuss my proposal with them.

    Do you think I am overly concerned about the pricing disclosure? Would you say something to the client and risk offending them? Would you include a "do not disclose!" statement in every single email that mentions an estimate once the proposal is accepted and work has started?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mark T

    Mark T
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    As long as you and the company has a written agreement, that would be enough for both of you to have good faith and being discreet on all the information that the company shares you. The company, on the other hand reserves the right not to give you information that you might need.

    Again, if the pricing closure if you're concern - then make sure that you are going to be really discreet if they are going to share that kind of information to you.

    Regards,
    Mark
     
  3. ellisthomas86

    ellisthomas86
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    We basically use a tool that has option to set for the clients where in they are not capable to look at the price which we don't want them to look into. I do have a friend as well who is a freelancer by profession and he too use certain tool to manage the things with his clients.
     
  4. Mark T

    Mark T
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    Is it okay if you share that tool here?
     
  5. 2parry

    2parry
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    there must be some legal documentation which could clerify to both of the teams..
     
  6. Emily

    Emily
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    Thanks fro the replies. EllisThomas, I'm curious about the tool too. Though I'm very confused by it -- how can I propose a solution to a potential client without giving them a price?!

    In my case I do have a proposal/agreement that the client signed that included a non disclosure clause. The problem is that the client apparently didn't pay any attention and shared the information regardless. They were being oblivious, not deliberately deceitful, because they did it right in front of me. Ironically, they're a law firm.

    Anyhow. I'm just wondering how most businesses who try to protect their pricing information would have handled this. Where is the balance between being difficult to work with and letting clueless clients disclose my confidential information to my competitors.

    My prices are not the lowest and I don't want to be chosen by price alone, however, I am a little sensitive in this area because in the past I had a consultant who knew my prices, and knew I was bidding on a project, approach that client and undercut me and got the project. So I believe keeping my pricing confidential can cost me a project. The person she forwarded my proposal to probably wouldn't bid against me, but definitely knows many of my direct competitors.
     
  7. Emily

    Emily
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    A follow up on this. I recently had to email the a pricing clarification. So I put a bold underlined notice at the top and bottom of the email requesting they don't forward it to anyone outside the company and only share it internally with people who need the pricing information. Hopefully that will get their attention without having to directly confront them and put them on the spot.
     
  8. SConsultant

    SConsultant
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    Hello,
    your competitors will always know your price - or assume the amount fairly close.
    When a Client opts for the cheapest not the best suits their needs - that is the Client to avoid.
    The short version of the non disclosure clause should be put as signature into every email and webpage - if you have one.
    The Clients have to know your price - if they share this sensitive info with your competitors that is not fair play - using it to get the best price is. I would not cooperate with such Client. And no I would not directly tell them about this issue - MAYBE [I do not recommend this] indirectly, during some informal speech (we know that in Consulting business there is NO informal speech!) but somehow I would come up with "believe or not I've heard that somehow the enemy got my mail sent to you, I do not really believe this crap..." just to make sure to let them know that you are well informed. But again I would not recommend this - they may get angry, and you are the only one who can lose. Swallow and go on.
     
  9. carldweb

    carldweb
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    better way to take approval on mail for every small changes & recommendation & also charge as per recommendation & requirement of client.
     

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