Friday, April 26, 2013

Don't Hit Back

Vengeance is mine! Not exactly something you expect to hear from your client or sales rep every day. Yet, it does get heard, usually internally at least.

We all have or had customers at one time that we wish we could put through some form of torture yet to be known for all the problems they bring. Rightly so we are also advised to let go of these horrid clients. The problem is they are usually the ones paying you the most money.

So what can you do? What should you do? This week's parsha has the infamous eye for an eye sentence, quoted below from 24:19-20
19. And a man who inflicts an injury upon his fellow man just as he did, so shall be done to him [namely,]   יט. וְאִישׁ כִּי יִתֵּן מוּם בַּעֲמִיתוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה כֵּן יֵעָשֶׂה לּוֹ:
20. fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he inflicted an injury upon a person, so shall it be inflicted upon him.   כ. שֶׁבֶר תַּחַת שֶׁבֶר עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן שֵׁן תַּחַת שֵׁן כַּאֲשֶׁר יִתֵּן מוּם בָּאָדָם כֵּן יִנָּתֶן בּוֹ:
No, please do not attack your clients. The inference is really about monetary payment. And what does one do when you can not bill more on a project? Some people try to weasel their way back to a client and say they need more money or time or both. Other people will merely shrug it off and maybe add their costs back into a new project.

When you are faced with expenses on a project that were unforeseen, not due to your negligence but oversight or plain "who knew THAT would happen", you should be able to receive that back from a rational person.

These days if it is not in the contract you may be out of luck. Reasonable people do not want to see you hurt as a business and should be amenable to your billing.

If you find there is no reasonableness, you may want to rethink the future dealings with the client. Never get into such a heated battle that the sentences above would come into play. It serves no one to even threaten to perform these actions. I have been in meetings where it looked like there would be a fight, on one occasion probably a gun fight, but cooler heads prevailed.

Ask yourself next time you get into a similar situation, what would you do?
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Parsha Emor in the book of Vayikra Leviticus 21:1-24:23
It is said that the Torah or Bible could be interpreted in over 70 ways. More likely these days 100's of ways. In light of this idea, I am writing some posts that bring a business sense to what we can learn on a weekly basis. Enjoy, Shabbat Shalom