In the late 90’s, I was managing a premium brand for Jacuzzi and we had a giant web project up for bid. It was a complicated project, requiring the development and management of standardized websites for franchise hot tub dealers in 63 countries.
I had a brilliant young woman submit a proposal for the job, and I knew I wanted to hire her. She was sharp and determined and her solutions were creative and well-strategized.
But her proposal was out of my budget range.
I asked her to come to my office to discuss the proposal – to see if there was a way we could work together within my budget. I knew in my gut that she was the best solution for our issue at hand, and I intended to hire her. I was fully prepared to give up some of the services in the proposal – to minimize the bells and whistles – in exchange for the peace of mind I would receive in working with a true professional who was highly motivated to do the job.
She wanted the job.
I wanted her work.
When we sat down at the table and I presented my budget limitations, her automatic reply was:
“I can give you a 25% discount. I’d really like to work with you.”
In a split second, it changed the way I felt about her. I wondered – if she would give up so easily on her hourly rate – whether or not she really had other clients, and why she was clamoring for work.
I wondered if I’d misjudged her value.