I’ve blogged before on the perils of doing speculative work and free pitches.
It is an absolute no-no.
Knowledge-based solution selling can fall into this trap.
I myself encountered a massive global firm akin to a secretive religious cult once.
In the door, I was immediately scared. I felt both interrogated and bled of my expertise. At each turn, I sought quid pro quo. To no avail. I vowed never to return.
So I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw one of the huge UK supermarkets solicit a big fat freebie.
Sainsburys wanted a canteen artily repainted. For zero money. Advert placed; “Sainsbury’s are looking for an artist to volunteer their skills”. And why not, when you’d ‘gain’ the experience of doing the job, right?
The internet duly gave them hell. #PayArtists trending.
Head Office tried to backtrack. Damage already done.
The clamour to demand their gifting of free groceries became deafening.
Everyone must on occasion give away something of value upfront. Part of the pre-sale process. A necessary proof-of-concept.
But to surrender payment for talent should be completely avoided.
If you’d charge for it after ‘agreement’, why devalue it as nothing beforehand?
If a buyer truly believes this is equitable, then you are best advised qualifying out. Let your competition suffer the imbalance. “Idiots pre-sales, idiots post-sale”. Run away. Place your energies elsewhere for greater reward.
Anything that you do before their wet ink is applied must be a validation of what you do that guarantees such signature.
One way to ensure this, is make sure it takes up as much of your prospect’s time as it does for you. Time is money. And implied commitment. Make the investment count.
I myself have been in situations where I will work with someone upfront. Happily, in fact. Yet my precious resource is capped. And I require equal attention from my possible partner. Fair’s fair. And the future more bountiful for both.