Speaking about my developer job, to me the word "opportunity" means only four things:

  1. with few changes to a project, we can sell something to a customer - the Company will earn a lot of money;
  2. with a fair amount of modifications, we can sell something to a single customer and possibly also to many others - the Company will earn many, many money;
  3. with a huge but well defined modification, we can sell something to a single customer - the Company will earn a massive amount of money;
  4. we can drive a rover on Mars.

Unfortunately, what salesmen usually mean with "opportunity" is:

There is this big firm that wants to start a partnership with us and they said that, if the first test project is OK, they will leave their current provider and start to buy from us. The forecast is a very huge amount of money. You don't have to worry about the modification: they just need a couple of changes and they'll provide a specifications in few days, then we do the work in a couple of weeks and... problem solved!

This opportunity seems a dead end

Translated this means:

  • the current provider of this firm asked too much for the same modification;
  • the modification will be a total pain and the specifications will be incomplete and provided in late;
  • there will be a lot of work to do in a short amount of time;
  • the Company will give your work for free;
  • in the end, the firm will not switch to our Company.

Sounds familiar?

I've been in this situation a number of times. Assuming that sales guys are not stupid, why do they fall into this trap of making the Company work for free?

In my opinion, a big part is played by the fact that the request come from a big firm. Maybe the salesman knows that this work will be given for free, but he probably counts on reciprocity. Unfortunately, in my experience, reciprocity didn't work so much.

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Post last updated on 2018/08/15