5 Reasons clients decline an IT proposal

A photo of a man and woman sitting at a conference table talking. The woman is working on a laptop, as well.

The last time you received an IT proposal, do you remember why you accepted it or declined it? Why do some proposals seem "off" while others feel compatible with your business goals?

There are numerous reasons individual IT proposals may be rejected, each unique to its business and the IT provider or internal IT team that created it. However, we've identified five reasons why IT proposals are declined:

  1. The client and IT provider disagree on the proposal's potential impact.
  2. The proposal and its effects are unclear.
  3. There isn't an available budget.
  4. The proposal does not fit the client's business needs.
  5. The client does not trust the IT provider.

For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients develop IT strategies, create effective IT systems, and plan and execute IT projects.

By reading this article, you will learn five reasons why clients decline IT proposals and three habits that will increase accepted proposals.

 

5 reasons for declined IT project proposals

IT proposals are often made to address an identified risk or "gap" in your IT network's security or functionality.

For example, if a manufacturer declares a server as an "end of life" (EOL) machine, your IT provider or internal IT team will suggest you replace it ASAP. This is because an EOL server will not function reliably for much longer, and if it crashes, it takes down your network.

Therefore, the IT provider will create a proposal to replace the server, reducing risk.

Unfortunately, not every identified risk or proposal is as clear-cut as this example.

Here's why businesses may turn down proposals.

 

1. The client and IT provider disagree on the proposal's potential impact.

Sometimes, the client sees the "gap" as smaller than the IT provider or internal IT team sees it. If that's the case, the client may feel that the gap is not worth the investment. This is a reflection of the client's risk appetite.

This disagreement is usually the result of one of two issues:

1. The client does not understand the danger or potential cost of the risk.

Quality IT providers will take the time to educate their clients on potential risks and solutions. These providers know that you cannot address what you do not understand.

For example, you may not invest in security measures to prevent cyberattacks if you feel you will never be a target. But, in reality, cybercriminals cast wide nets to catch whomever they can, and their attacks cost victims thousands, if not millions.

Once a business owner better understands the potential danger of the risk, they may accept the proposal.

However, if the client disagrees that the risk is as threatening as the IT team claims,  they will decline the proposal and accept the risk.

2. The solution to the risk may be more expensive than the risk itself.

Suppose an IT provider says to its client, "I have found a risk that could cost you $5000 if it occurs. To prevent it, you must invest in $50,000 worth of technology."

In this circumstance, the solution costs more than the risk. In response, the business owner may feel more comfortable with the risk occurring than paying to resolve it. But, again, this is a reflection of the client's risk appetite.

 

2. The proposal and its effects are unclear.

If the client does not understand the proposal, the risk, or the solution, they are unlikely to accept the proposal.

The IT provider or internal IT team must clearly explain the risk, the solution, and why the proposal is valuable.

For example, an IT provider tells the client that a switch must be replaced. But why does the switch need replacing? What does the switch do? What happens if they don't buy a new one? What happens to the IT network and business if the switch is not replaced?

For the proposal to succeed, the IT provider must answer all of these questions, explaining the dangers and the investment. If the client does not understand, they are unlikely to approve the proposal.

 

3. There isn't an available budget.

Sometimes, proposals are made when there is no funding available for new IT projects.

However, a quality IT provider should know its client's IT budget, system, growth expectations, and needs to meet the client's business goals. These plans should all be outlined within the IT roadmap.

If the IT roadmap is correct, then the IT provider will be aware of the budget status and will only make proposals within the set budget.

 

4. The proposal does not fit the client's business needs or goals.

Some IT proposals are crafted as a "one-size-fits-all." However, businesses are all unique, with different needs and individual goals. Because of this, one-size-fits-all proposals rarely fit and will be rejected by most clients.

Suppose an IT provider proposes all clients buy a specific laptop for employees. Some clients will love the computer because it meets their needs. Others may find it too slow, limited, or unable to perform the tasks needed.

Proposals that do not meet a business's needs will be rejected.

In addition, proposals must align with the client's goals. The following four factors drive all businesses:

  1. Increase revenue
  2. Decrease expense
  3. Increase productivity
  4. Decrease risk

If the proposal does not address one or more of these four motivations (or the motivation you most prioritize), it will not be accepted.

For instance, your IT provider presents a proposal that will reduce your risk but not increase profitability.

If your main goal at that time is to reduce risk, you will accept the proposal. However, if your main goal is to increase profit, you will decline this proposal because it does not align with your primary objective.

 

5. The client does not trust the IT provider.

Trust is foundational in all relationships—business or personal. If clients do not trust their IT provider or internal IT team, proposals will not be accepted.

For instance, an IT provider presents an IT project proposal with a high price tag that the IT provider claims the investment will protect against an even more costly risk.

The client will likely accept if their IT partnership is built on mutual trust and helping each other succeed.

However, if the client does not trust the IT provider, they may suspect it of overcharging or choosing a more expensive option to receive a larger commission. In addition, they may not believe that the risk is as dangerous as the provider claims.

Proposals are rarely accepted without a level of trust in the partnership.

 

How do identify helpful IT proposals

All of these proposal issues can be addressed by three practices:

  1. Good communication
    Your provider regularly and honestly discusses risks and solutions. In addition, it asks relevant questions to better understand your business, IT system, and goals.
  2. Following a relevant IT roadmap
    During onboarding, your IT provider discussed your IT roadmap. This living document includes your current IT setup and budget and your growth plans for the future.
    With an updated, quality IT roadmap, you will rarely be surprised by IT project proposals because they'll all be in the roadmap! In addition, all non-emergency projects and investments will be planned, scheduled, and recorded in the roadmap.
  3. Trust
    If you do not trust your IT provider or internal IT team, the partnership will not thrive. Quality IT providers will communicate well, build and follow your IT roadmap, and build an IT system that helps your business succeed. You can trust your provider when it says a risk is dangerous and a solution is necessary.

If your IT provider or internal IT team utilizes these three practices, its proposals will have a higher acceptance rate.

However, if your IT provider or team does not follow these practices, it may be time to discuss your concerns. If an agreement cannot be reached or the behavior does not change, it may be time to seek a new IT provider.

For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients build successful IT strategies and processes while utilizing effective technology.

If you are looking for a new IT provider, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how WEBIT can help.

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