Until I put the project lead on the conference call with them and the vendor's CEO let his ego overcome his sensibilities. It was the biggest disintegration of a budding relationship I've ever seen.
The vendor said they'd watched it and didn't need to discuss it further. When asked to explain what they got from the video, their description indicated they'd missed a big part of the product's value. But it took 5 minutes to get them to actually pull up the video and look at it with us. [Yes, we should have stopped the call right here. But I think we were so shocked that we persevered, trying to get the call back on track.]
We wanted to discuss some design changes from their concept sketches.
The vendor began telling us why we couldn't have them. Then, when our project lead pushed, He threw out some ridiculously high numbers in an effort to dissuade us from pursuing our ideas. He didn't even want to talk them through. The call was quickly deteriorating into what we couldn't have instead of how to get us closer to what we wanted.
The vendor insisted they knew what was best for the project and was determined that we take their advice with no questions asked. They wanted to be the expert.
Problem was, they got obnoxious about it before they earned "expert" status with us. Not that obnoxious is ever good, but it's especially bad behavior when they haven't earned the right for their views to carry that much weight.
When they couldn't have their way, they abruptly hung up on the conference call.
Yep - I've never seen anything like it in my life. This vendor got so caught up in his own ego that he couldn't entertain a discussion that differed from his beliefs. To the point that he didn't let anyone else on the team have a chance to speak. Not that they'd have crossed him. But, he just couldn't stop himself.
This vendor may very well be sitting there smugly thinking, "I showed them! I'm not about to do work that's not all about me. So there." And, isn't it grand to be able to walk away from a high-visibility, cutting-edge project?
Seriously, there are times when it's best to walk away. We've all done it. But it's in how you do it that makes a difference.
Here are a few "gifts" this vendor may not be conscious of giving themselves:
The project lead had been so excited about the firm that their URL had been forwarded to everyone on the project - both internally and to external consultants and vendors.
There were 3 team members on that call who are talking about the vendor's bad behavior to their networks.
The vendor hung up on the call before he found out the true value of the project - which was about 3X the amount that was on the table by the time we gave them additional work beyond the initial scope. This could have significantly impacted what they thought they could do, but they weren't open enough to see the call through.
In the team call the next morning, the situation was talked about thoroughly with 15 people on the call - including both internal and external resources to the client company.
The vendor has lost any opportunity they might have had for future work from a variety of sources that do jobs appropriate for them all the time.
Letting ego and gracelessness into any conversation with a potential client is a BIG mistake. The cost is a lot more than one lost project.
Heck, I'm still talking about how obnoxious they were. They should be grateful they're not named here. Others involved may not be so nice.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, we moved on to another vendor who is absolutely terrific, gets the concept and is bending over backwards to make our project sing. So, actually I'm thankful for that vendor's lack of grace. He did us a HUGE favor.
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