When we step into a specialist clinic, we would have done sufficient background research on this facility and its physicians, or we have had a trusted referral from a family member or a friend. We expect quality care and humane treatment so as to get well, soon, and we would not count beans or pennies.

That is how it is, when we think about ourselves, our health, our well-being. We expect the best quality care with the kindest hearts, so that our vulnerable condition can be tended to with as little worry or pain as possible. At this stage, we would not think of finding the lowest denominator, but the best we can afford.

Likewise, when we have a professional need, whether it be advertising, branding, public relations, social media, Internet technology, or corporate training, we would not illogically only find the lowest denominator, or worse, the cheapest options.

This is where it gets a little shaky.

Some would find three or four service providers, and provide a specifications list or “request for proposal (RFP)” to these service providers, and have them pitch their proposals and ideas, and select the best option to move forward.

Asking professional service providers to pitch is not new. Most professional clients would choose one or two methods, (1) ask for a simple proposal and approximate costs, and then select the best provider to discuss final terms and ideas after a deal is closed, or (2) ask for all providers to pitch their best ideas in a detailed proposal, for a fee.

Both options are reasonable, since a detailed proposal and pitch requires a great deal of human and material resources to put together, and is chargeable. Some providers would provide the option to offset the pitch fee towards the retainer program. Everyone is happy.

However, there may be some who may expect every single provider to pitch their best ideas forward, for no charge. And the unfortunate experience many providers have gone through the recent years is that some unscrupulous prospects would appropriate the best ideas from one provider but award the deal to the cheapest provider and expect the cheapest provider to execute the ideas pilfered from another provider. Morality aside, it is simply bad business and even worse human relations and personal integrity.

A physician is as much a serious professional as a professional service provider like a branding consultant, a public relations practitioner, or a technology consultant. Every one of these professionals put in their best years to acquire expertise and experience, and deserve their fees. Nobody would sanely expect many doctors to pitch for your primary cure without a fee, right? We aren’t in a circus.