The salesperson has very obviously left out the pricing of a feature or it looks like they’re grossly under priced an element of a proposal. You think you’ve got a great deal as a result and don’t bring it up (for fear of losing this ‘amazing’ deal). Then, once the deal is signed, and the negotiation is complete you discover that the vendor (usually service provider) is change ordering their service all the time. Upon investigation, it looks like the item you’re being change ordered for is the under priced item in the proposal. What the heck?!?
This is all too common and is actually used more frequently than many service providers would care to admit (especially in industrial applications). Many times a service provider will grossly under price an element of a proposal to get ahead in a competitive process (RFx), then secure the business, only to change order and ultimately renegotiate the increase in the deal later on.
As a procurement person, it’s very easy to say, “That salesperson was so unethical in their bidding practice! They provided us a skewed proposal to win the business! I can’t believe they would do such a thing. What are we going to do now? The change out cost associated to bringing in another vendor far exceeds the cost of the change orders. I guess we’ll just have to try negotiate a deal on this item to stop it from being change ordered.”
The issue here, that most procurement people don’t like to admit (and I’m sure I’ll get hate mail for this), is that it takes two to tango. And while the proposal may have had an item that is grossly under priced, the procurement person, knowingly accepted it (likely knowing that it was grossly under priced compared to the competition). So, two parties were unethical in this process.
Procurement people will say, “Well that’s not true! How am I supposed to know whether it’s a ‘mistake’ to get the business or whether the company is just more competitive in this area?” My response to that is that you could ask. We’ve all been there. I’ve been guilty of seeing a great sticker price, keeping quiet, and closing the deal only to be caught by ‘surprise’ later on.
The moral of the story is, don’t try to ‘get away with it’. As a procurement person, if you see something that looks off in a proposal, bring it up and ask whether the number is accurate. Likewise, as a salesperson, don’t do this. It just pisses people off and makes you look greasy.