I recently had a discussion at the ALA National in Nashville with an outsourcing vendor about the value of consultants being involved in outsourcing RFPs and why that particular company does not introduce a consultant into their process.
We both agreed on the following points:
- The transaction and client benefits by the added knowledge and expertise a consultant “should bring”.
- The Request for Proposals (RFPs) are much better written.
- The process moves and there is a decision made.
- The vendor gets much better feedback on why they didn’t get a deal.
- The ongoing engagement is much more beneficial for both the client and the vendor – the client due to the consultant oversight and the vendor by the unbiased knowledge and “referee” on the other side.
- They know in most situations that the process is above board – that their pricing and proposal are protected, there are no kickbacks involved, and so on.
The vendor’s single point of contention was that the RFP process and the expertise the consultant brings cost the vendor company margin and also that the consultants insulate the clients during the RFP process.
I am not seeing a negative side for the client here.
I call this selling like a dinosaur. The paradigm has shifted – not just for law firms, but for the vendors who service them. The most successful engagements for all parties involve an unbiased third party that benefits both parties. This is well-known and demonstrated in real estate, insurance, and all other big-ticket items.
If your pricing is fair, your terms are competitive and you are doing a good job – there is nothing to be concerned about. In fact, the better deals being made and more deals being brought to close should allay any concerns about margin and contact. Good contracts breed long term relationships.