Last week, my firm gained a new design client. It is a fun commercial project and while small, I think the emerging relationship between our two companies has great future potential. My firm does a very small amount of commercial work so this is an exciting new direction for us. So, ya – HOORAY! Anyway, the whole negotiation process was fairly alien to me – I mean, we even have a contract! – but I guess what really sticks out in my mind is the vocabulary our client used. I mean, when did corporate America become so ruthless?
As we discussed different design possibilities and options for the project before we even crafted our proposal, our client decided that something could not be cut from the budget. He agreed that his firm would have to “bite the bullet” and swallow the cost.
“Bite the bullet?” Wow. Sound drastic. But once that issue had been addressed and resolved, my company prepared our proposal and submitted it to the client. After a few days, the client said they had reviewed the contract, it all looked agreeable and that they were ready to “pull the trigger” on the project and asked my business partner and I to lunch for the signing. “Pull the trigger?”
Again, another gun reference. Is that how ruthless corporate America has become? I’ll admit it – my little design company is FAR from corporate so maybe this language is common. Anyhow, we met the client’s agent for lunch, had a great time, toured the project and then he said, “Well, I guess we better get this executed” and signed the paper. Executed?
I mean – to be totally honest – our new clients could not be nicer and my business partner and I are very, VERY excited to be working with them. But – for a small business that still conducts most transactions with a handshake – it was different to be so “corporate.” And the language – bullets and triggers and executions, oh my! – made me smile. A nervous smile, but still a smile.
I plan on doing my very best to make this client happy and the end result perfection; otherwise, who knows what phrase may pop-up during our next conversation?