A client of mine began exploratory conversations with a marketing firm regarding the development of a new website.
After a few meetings and several wasted hours, it became apparent that this particular firm wasn’t the right one for the project. “Wasted” isn’t the right word because, as a result of these meetings, the client’s new website requirements became crystal clear.
They documented their requirements in an RFI (request for information) which was sent to several marketing firms for response. This RFI posed questions of the firms that would help the client determine which firms to engage in conversation. The RFI did not request pricing of the firms, nor were they asked to address pricing in any way.
Many of the firms, by the nature of their RFI submissions, viewed this exercise as an attempt to commoditize them. They were wrong.