Idea theft by clients can be prevented

Once you send the plan you get to know you were the victim of idea theft. 

What can you do? Here is a scenario, a potential client reaches out to you via a Whatsapp message or an Email stating that they would need a digital marketing company for their new project and look forward to hearing from you. 

The Perfect Setup for Idea Theft

After the initial contact, the client give you a very convincing budget. To you it’s in the right in the range to do some kickass marketing and generate revenue. 

This is the famous start to some one who is planning to make you the victim of idea theft. It’s difficult to identify what’s real and what’s fake at the very beginning. 

These are just clues to be aware of anyone that doesn’t have the genuine intention to go ahead.

You do all the hard work with hours of research and competitor analysis to draft the proposal. You strategized to get the client a competitive advantage with a detailed plan, you hear nothing once you send it across.

Does this resonate with you?

Well, it happens to most young startups, solopreneurs, and freelancers, especially in the service sector. 

If you are new and passionate about making it big fast, you might often jump into every opportunity you see.

However, people who are experienced and lack the creativity to come up with new ideas will source them from the talent pool. 

Often through requesting proposals and following up with a meeting to run it through where they perform the classic brain rape. 

They get the idea and way of execution from you and do it with their team or give to the agency they are working with already.

Once you have shared a detailed plan outlining the pros and cons you hardly hear from these clients. Often they might tell you they will think about it and get back to you.

Time is money, and this is a waste of your time. If you keep a close eye on the client, sometimes you’d notice that they have stolen your idea and doing it themselves.

You are not alone in this matter, often a national scale countries duplicate someone else’s work.

What can you do to avoid clients stealing your idea?

Idea theft is a common thing in every industry, and to avoid this, you can always start with not revealing the way forward to the smallest details.

Idea theft

From there on you can tell the potential clients how long you researched about the project and worked on the issue. Also you can talk about how you came up with the solutions to their needs.

“Birds often steal the seed but they can’t grow it!”

If your expertise can’t be duplicated easily then there is a chance they might not be able to achieve what you had planned for them. 

Think about it, the years of experience you have accumulated combined with your knowledge about the subject which can’t be duplicated easily.

Unless the other person is equally capable as you, they will need to come to you. If they are then they wouldn’t have come to you in the first place.

Secondly, if it’s a product that you are planning to launch or have launched and are afraid that another would duplicate it, get a patent. Idea theft is so common even your coworkers can steal your ideas.

Clients come to you is because you know something better than them and they are willing to pay you to get your help to solve their issues.

Therefore, clients go ahead with the proposal because they believe you can do it. That intrinsic motivation and emotion you radiate can’t be copied easily.

How clients are stealing your proposal?

Idea theft is done in a way that, Clients used your proposal to price shop and undercut the rate with other proposals from other agencies.

To prevent this and to stand a chance to benefit through legal proceedings, if they do use your proposal to price shop, You can add a non-disclosure statement to your proposal. This may or may not help you but it doesn’t hurt to add it to your proposal.

You can also look at signing a Non-disclosure agreement. Terms of Agreement. Since Copyright, patents are not going to protect service providers.

For a contract to be enforceable there should be an agreement between both parties before they conduct business. If not in this case, share a detailed proposal. So you can ask for contract value at the minimum if the client breaches the contract.

The Way Forward

In conclusion, what clients want is the result and as a small business owner or a salesperson, if you can’t close a deal in person or over the phone what are the chances that you’d be able to close a deal via a presentation? 

So when prospecting clients asks for a proposal, all they want to know is how am I going to solve the problem and make me more money by saving some of that budget.

So make use of the points here and try to close a business deal over the phone and if you can’t at least get more details through a questionnaire. Ask regarding the budget and timeframe and don’t forget to send the non-disclosure agreement.

We have done it

Even HypeX is reached out to by 5 to 10 leads every week and in the first 3 months even we shared proposals. Guess what some of the potential clients, we never heard back from the clients again. 

The last proposal we sent across in this form was to a Group Head of Sales from a Hotels Management Company down Havelock Road and from sources we found out that they were profiting off the sick by utilizing their property as a quarantine center. Apparently, they had no interest in perusing the plan they reach out to and requested. 

We are delighted that we learned early and learned fast. Therefore we only highlighted the pain points and never gave them a detailed plan. until they give us a commitment.

If they are ready to proceed they can reach out to us anytime. Clients should be geared with a ready-to-start mindset rather than beating around the bush to source new ideas from the talent pool in Sri Lanka.

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