Before You Ask for Service, Show Me The Green

[youtube][/youtube]Erin go bragh! It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, which means we are all wearing green and dishing out the blarney. And one of the ongoing bits of blarney that continues to amuse me is the prospective clients who offer promises of untold riches and recognition, but no money. I sometimes think of these prospects as being like Popeye’s pal Wimpy, “I will gladly pay you Tuesday, for a promotion program today.” Today is a day to remember that it’s all about the green.

I use service providers all the time, and I respect what they do, and the fees that they charge. Whether they are doctors, lawyers, accountants, or Indian chiefs, you discuss their fees in advance and come to an understanding – you pay for their services. Even if you ultimately feel their service was inferior, if they fulfilled their contract, they need to be paid.

Which is why it constantly perplexes me when people approach me and offer a piece of the gate or to share in the profits. I’ve had two such offers in two weeks. Clearly, the power of public relations and online marketing is proven, otherwise these types of companies wouldn’t seek out marketing communications assistance, no matter what the price. Naturally, you don’t want to overcharge for your services, but you also can’t work for free.

So stop offering us a piece of your dream or promises of riches to come (assuming you get your funding, or the sales team meets their quota, or the market doesn’t tank, or there isn’t some form of fire, flood, or pestilence). Be prepared to pay a fair rate for quality work. If you are concerned about quality or performance, then check the references. In today’s online world you can learn almost anything about a prospective contractor. Use your resources, and trust your instincts. That’ s what I do before taking on a new client – I check them out to make sure they are worth representing. (Oh, yes, this game is played both ways.)

If you need professional help to market your company or products, then prepare to pay the going rate. You wouldn’t ask a doctor to discount his fees, especially if he is getting ready to conduct surgery. So why trust your marcomm campaign to a hack for hire? Find the right resource and pay the fee. That’s the best way to assure you get quality attention and service.

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One Reply to “Before You Ask for Service, Show Me The Green”

  1. Tom,
    Kudos to you for saying out loud exactly what I feel. It irks me when people want to pay for play. Recently we visited with a prospect who asked for that, and we just walked away. My take – if they think that all we do is sit around and send our press releases all day, then they won’t appreciate our work. Don’t they realize we have to research who to pitch to and via what method, understand their target audiences, determine key words & appropriate outlets, create messaging per audience, create strategic campaigns, etc, etc. I suggest these type of companies hire one of those big firms who charges for donuts while they train their recent graduates on the PR process and what technology means.

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