How to Avoid Surprises in the Sales and Contracting Process

By Deena Stevens

I love it when everything works out like it’s supposed to. Unfortunately, that’s not what I experienced at my local car dealer. I recently went car shopping—a dreaded or highly anticipated purchase, depending on your past experience. For me, it was a little bit of both. I love cars, love getting a new one, love the days of methodical searching for the “right” one for me. Right price, right package, right engine, 4WD, AWD, 2WD, leather, heated seats, luggage rack, sound system, the endless possibilities…I love all the details. But that’s about where the love ends.

On this particular day, I had made my choice and began the negotiations with the sales person. We’d worked out the terms and wrangled with the manager to get approval for my added options and pricing. (I actually kind of like this process, too. Weird, I know.) At this point, I was passed off to financing and the final process.

Going through the terms and line items, I discovered the dealer had added undercarriage coating and a vehicle warranty. Are they giving me these two items because I’m such a great client? Nope, I see the cost added to my price. We had never discussed either of those items, and I was not pleased. In a matter of seconds, the dealer had turned a positive experience into enemy territory. They obviously hoped I wouldn’t read the fine details of the contract before signing. But not this girl! I was born to read the details. Remove the add ons, reprint the contract, go through it all again and finally, the deal is done.

It occurred to me, this car dealer could learn a bit from Onspring. From the first NDA, to a quote, to final contract and finally implementation and service, it’s all open and honest with no hidden fees and no unexpected charges when you receive your invoice. Our goal is to make every process—from evaluation to selection to licensing to implementation—easy for you. I think we succeed.

If you’re tired of working with vendors who insert “gotchas” in the sales and contracting process, you’re not alone. Here are a few ways you can avoid such surprises:

  • Communication is key. Take the time to clearly define what your data collection and workflow needs are. Flow charts are helpful to build common understanding.
  • Don’t forget to think about your future needs and how they might affect how you implement your solution now.
  • Clearly communicate your needs to the vendor so they can create the best statement of work and offer best pricing.
  • Require clear communication with regard to associated costs, ongoing maintenance, implementation, payment and licensing terms, service levels, performance, warranties and limits of liabilities.

Life is always full of surprises, but you don’t have to put up with them in the sales and contracting process. The initial purchasing experience speaks volumes about the remainder of your relationship with the vendor. At Onspring, we’re committed to delivering an exceptional experience at every stage of your customer journey. We hope you feel the difference.

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