Fait Accompli – a well documented tactic used in politics and business negotiation is something to keep in mind. This French phrase, translated Accomplished Fact, refers to a deal where one party takes an action that is irreversible. The buyer assumes everything is in place to close the business, but knows full well they are not done negotiating. It’s kind of like, rather than asking permission if you can have a cookie, you just do it. When caught, you act innocent and apologize.
The client may have you move ahead with purchasing something or installing something while the paper work is being processed. The system in nearly installed when the negotiator comes back with a misunderstanding on price or scope. “O, I thought these software licenses were included – if they’re not, please remove the entire server.” You know it will cost you more to remove it than it will to just move ahead with the customer’s request…what do you do?
This is why it is so important to put the agreement in writing, and get the signature before beginning work. Even when dealing with urgent support issues, make the client sign before beginning work. It’s their problem not yours – it’s their system that is down, not yours. If it’s critical, they should be able to get someone in the company to sign off on it. Don’t move ahead without agreement on scope, terms, and signature.
Comment with some more examples of this tactic…
© 2011, David Stelzl