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What to Do with Those Development Companies That Don’t Get the Job

Hiring a Development Company

Image of a fake help wanted sign for a software developer

Hiring a development company is a lot like hiring an employee. You have multiple “applicants” to fill a role and there are the same risks and rewards. Getting a development company up to speed usually takes some effort and requires a good relationship before the project even starts.

Most organizations will either ask multiple companies to quote or solicit bids for their development contracts. We all know how exciting it is to embark on a new project, but what do you do with the companies that don’t get the contract? Do you ever follow up with them?

I think this question should be approached similarly to new employee hiring practices. Many companies don’t communicate with applicants unless they have been shortlisted but if you are one of the shortlisted applicants, say for example that you’ve had an interview (or possibly multiple interviews) – you would probably expect some sort of communication after the interview. I don’t see this as being much different just because you are now dealing with a business entity instead of an individual.

At CoreSolutions, we offer all of our prospects a free needs analysis where we help you itemize your system workflow, purpose, and gather requirements. It’s a great conversation starter and our clients tend to really appreciate the outcomes of the needs analysis - but that isn’t free for us. Even the estimates we create often have hours of time invested to prepare. This isn’t about me complaining that people “stop taking calls” once we have given them something.

Customer and Vendor: It's a Two-Way Relationship

In a similar vein, what do you usually do with unsuccessful applicants that apply for positions at your company? I’m betting that the ones you actually interview, you likely come back to them with a “we went with another applicant” email, right?

If you know before we leave the door that we aren’t going to get the work, let us know right away.

It’s better to let us know, that way we don’t continue to call on that particular opportunity. Sales individuals tend to be persistent. It’s part of the job description. We understand that business is business and it’s not personal and we won’t be offended. Promise.

Simple - Send Them An Email

So, from a development company – How do we want to communicate?

I know that it can be daunting to have to tell a developer that you aren’t choosing their services. It can be almost like a breakup.

I would always like to have a personal phone call with the sales representative. It’s a great way to help build rapport and to allow us to better help you in the future. You never know if you will need someone to come in and fix it later. But that won’t work for everyone. Email is a great way to relieve some of the “pressure” of talking with a representative directly.

Email can also work well in these situations.

A simple example:

“We appreciate you quoting/bidding on our custom database and although you did a very thorough job itemizing the estimate, we have chosen another company. We will keep you in mind for our next project.“

Another great email:

"Dear _______,

Thank-you very much for your quotation on our [System name]. We are very appreciative of your time and effort.

I am writing to inform you that you were not selected for our project. The criteria we used to evaluate and choose a development company included: [list the criteria: price, personality, experience, references, options presented, timeline commitment, etc.].

Your company did not perform as well in our evaluation vs. another contractor due to the following reasons [give them honest feedback like “it works better with my calendar and budget]."

I know for some it seems like a small task to respond to the vendors that were vying for your business, but it’s surprising how often it is overlooked. Your response can be as short or detailed as you want, but the more detail you provide will lead to less questions. In the end, it makes things easier for you, as you don’t have to avoid our phone calls and we will not follow up as often. You don’t have to answer anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

Do you have a good response you’ve gotten or given to the vendors/clients that you didn’t end up working with? I’d love to debate it in the comments below.


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