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Ladies, need some help sorting through this in my head
 
The situation: Imagine you submit a large RFP to a client and of course there are many competitors that do the same. Client comes back to you with only one feedback: others have submitted lower rate cards. Now everyone needs to submit a v2 response.
 
I guess my question is: If you submit a lower rate card... doesn't that show the client that you don't stand by your original rate card? Also doesnt it set the wrong precedent moving forward?

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As an aside, I just have to laugh at the “ competition has lower rate card” thing. They will say that 100% of the time.

McDonald’s charges less for a burger than the Gramercy Tavern, too.

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Can you “give to get” - ie change rate card but also futz w the scope a bit? There are a million ways to negotiate and come to agreement. Don’t be ideological about it.

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Well my POV is from talent negotiations so I’m not sure it translates. Maybe someone from consultancy can provide an example? In my world, if the rate is low then I shorten the term of employment, or give them that rate but limit the hours to be worked. My husband owns a company and does the same — if they want to negotiate on rate then maybe he holds firm on the rate but throws in a few more deliverables. These are generic concepts, I hope it helps kick start specifics.

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Don’t change your rates without changing something else, or asking them for something, too. There are so many levers that drive price. As thought starters:

- Lower rate/hour but it takes more hours
-More junior people at lower rates
-Unlimited billable hours (Ie: no “1800”
Or other hours cap)
-Bill for every hour worked ( vs “ not to exceed” )
-Very clear and adhered to client requirements on things like: quality of brief, number of stakeholders providing feedback/approvals, timing of feedback, etc
-Volume and time commitment
-Reduced overhead or non-value add things ( on things like reporting, meetings, reconciliation, etc)
Etc.

likehelpful

This is helpful, thank you... I think I just needed to hear all of the different POVs on this, I am newer to large scale negotiations and wanted to make sure I wasn’t being tunnel-visioned.

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Every client expects to negotiate

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No this is typical. Means give me your best. You won’t want to do so until you’ve discussed and negotiated with your account team as it will set a precedent as you say. They know rates are bloated so it’s just the first step in haggling.

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You could go back with volume based rates or some type of rebate

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When I source RFPs, I always come back and ask the vendors to submit their best and final. Typically vendors reduce their rates. A suggestion for you is to reduce if you can, and tie it to the fact that you've received more info through the process, if you can make that case. Don't lower a lot then it'll look like you way overpriced in the first place.

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I've conducted 6 RFPs for health and welfare plans in the last two years and we request Best & Final Offers every single time and with the exception of one, every carrier comes back with a lower quote. It is a normal step in the process for us.

I'm totally bias but I don't drop our rates without a massive upside. We price fairly and I've been burned by the "well someone else is cheaper" game one too many times. Now if you agree to say upon recipet ACH payment Net terms for a 5-10% cut I can make a case for the upside. But at the end of the day the rates are the rates and it's unfair to other clients and my team if I cut you a break is my thought. Good luck! Never a fun situation.

Then you are selling a commodity and they don’t see the value yet.

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