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Theft By Customer -- You Didn't Know?
Please don't tell me you didn't know. Surely you did and you do: stealing my ideas is no different than stealing my vehicle. How is it I can make such an outrageous statement? Find the answer in the Eighth Commandment.
For reference: Complete Jewish Bible, Exodus 20:1-17
How do (potential) customers commit theft?
It starts when you discover you have a problem in want of a solution. Next, you solicit solutions from one or more (usually more) service providers. As you discuss your problem, you ask how each service provider can solve that problem you have. So far, so good. So, where's the theft? Not so fast, my friend.
Theft occurs when you reveal one service provider's solution with one or more competitors in order to benefit (so you think) from the one valid solution at the lowest possible cost. So, wanting a good price is theft? No, not at all. But, when you reveal one service provider's solution with the others you are stealing someone's ideas, their solutions, intellectual property.
So, how do I get competitive prices? If you feel you must take bids, invite them and evaluate them on their own merits. Do not share the best idea with inferior service providers.
Our solutions to problems are the result of our years of experience, professional training and education. In the case of this company, our goal is to provide the best service at a reasonable price. Actually, our solutions are most often less costly than solutions of our competitors. What's the difference?
We intentionally develop sustainable solutions, solutions that will endure for many years. Since 1986 we have had only one or two whom we could not satisfy. In which case, we simply fire the customer and go on our way.
The majority of our customers have returned to us to resolve problems year after year, decade after decade.
For the above reason, we may not spell out our solutions in great detail within the text of our proposals. Is this a trust issue? In a word: yes. Trust is earned. We depend heavily on customer and supplier referrals.
By the way, after signing an agreement, we disclose our methods and materials, along with the functionality of our software BEFORE starting work on your project.
Think of our solutions as intellectual property. Our sound ideas are what we have to offer in the marketplace. When someone compromises our ideas two things happen: we lose something of high value and you typically get something of inferior quality.
Because our customers come to us for solutions, we know they did so due to a referral by another customer, a vendor or an engineer. It is our practice to respect the privacy and intellectual property of our customers. We expect nothing less, nothing more in return.