Ongig – 12 Ways to Get a Discount from Me with Rob Kelly

Rob Kelly Ongig

On today’s RecruitingDaily Podcast, we have Rob Kelly on from Ongig and our topic is “12 Ways to Get a Discount with Me.”  This is a really fun topic, one that I’ve wanted to talk about for quite a while.

So we’re actually gonna be talking about some insider baseball-type stuff with this show. And FYI these can be applied to other companies, ways to get discounts with cloud tech companies.

Plus, you’ll hear a few stories about following the Grateful Dead back in the day before we get to our David Letterman style countdown list.

Tune in, check out their blog post on it, and let us know what you think!

Listening time: 28 minutes


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William 0:33
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup. And you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today, we have Rob Kelly on from Ongig and we’re going to be talking about a really, really fun topic. It’s actually a topic that I’ve wanted to talk about for quite a while. And it’s about ways to get discounts. So we’re actually gonna be talking about some insider baseball-type stuff. But the title for the show is “12 ways to get a discount with me,” with Rob Kelly. So lets, before we jump right into that, Rob, do us a favor and both introduce yourself and introduce Ongig.

Rob 1:11
Sure thing. Thanks, William, and first off, sorry to hear about your dad dying.

William 1:15
I appreciate that.

Rob 1:16
And since he created you, I know he must have been one heck of a human.

William 1:20
Good man, and a wonderful way to go out, so yeah, thank you.

Rob 1:24
Well, welcome to the club brother. Mine was a few years back but not easy, but he’ll go on to be someone you celebrate more and more as you get older, if your experience is like mine.

William 1:37

Rob 1:39
Thanks. Yeah, thanks for having me, and a quick thing on me. Let’s see, from New York City originally, now in the Bay Area, Oakland, California for the last 20 plus years, taking a caravan out with a girlfriend at the time. Had a big adventure. Came out here because I love the Grateful Dead and Silicon Valley and technology, and San Francisco seemed to be a good place to be in this bay area.

Eventually ended up in Oakland settling down with a family. And Ongig’s mission is simple. We’re eliminating boring and biased job descriptions and we have software to do it. And so our main client is typically head of talent acquisition at you know, a fast-growing company sort of potential unicorn type company on up to giant fortune you know, 50 companies.

William 2:24
So, let’s talk about that, but first. First of all, did you follow the Dead around for a while?

Rob 2:28
I did.

William 2:29
And uh, so I’ve lost a summer or two to the Dead and Phish.

Rob 2:35
Phish as well, I could only do one at a time. Like my focus of bands I’m passionate about, so the Dead was first and then Phish once the Dead started to, uh, I felt like they started to you know, when they started to lose it a little bit in terms of focus at the end of their careers.

William 2:54

Rob 2:55
I found Phish to be an awesome next venture. But I still love both, and—

William 2:59
Did you ever get, did you ever get into Sonic Youth and go that route as well?

Rob 3:03
No, how about you?

William 3:04
I did for a little bit. But my favorite Dead story was Jacksonville. I’d followed him around for a summer, we’re in Jacksonville. And I didn’t even go into the concert. We stayed outside in the parking lot and played frisbee. Dropped acid and played Frisbee the entire time that the concert’s, like we could hear the concert. But literally didn’t even go in. That was one of my favorite stories.

Rob 3:33
Just because you shared that I got to share one back at you. And that is that in Richmond, Virginia. And I’m sure you’ve been to a show like this. Where it’s general admission? You know, when they open the gate? You’re all running in to get, because you can get front row.

William 3:49
Oh, yeah. Why not.

Rob 3:50
You gotta hustle for it. And so we’re running in just full blast. Great feeling right? You’re running in. And of course, we had already had a few beers and taken mushrooms. And so I get there with my buddy from college ‘Stinkin Lincoln.’ And shout out to Lincoln if he’s still there. Awesome. Awesome hair on Lincoln. Almost as good as yours.

And we get to the front row of Richmond Coliseum. The Grateful Dead startup. First couple of songs Cold Rain and Snow. Little Red Rooster. I turn over to Lincoln and I say, Are you experiencing what I’m experiencing? And at the same time, we both shared that we felt Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead was controlling us like a puppet. With his guitar strings.

William 4:35
That’s exactly right. And he was.

Rob 4:37
It was so intense that we said we have to get as far away from the music, and from Jerry Garcia as possible, but still be in the venue. So it’s the only time in my life where I went from the front row to literally, we went to the last row in the upper deck.

William 4:54
Oh yeah. Oh, yeah.

Rob 4:55
Still wanted to be there, but we—

William 4:56
It totally makes sense. You were saved. And you know what? Probably true. Let’s just be honest, there’s, there’s probably there was some truth to that, especially at that particular time in your life. Been there. Totally been there.

Rob 5:08
Hey, we both survived.

William 5:09
Yeah, we’re on the tails of it. And we’re on the other side of it. Now we get to enjoy that stuff with our kids. So let’s talk about the ways to get a discount. Let’s talk a little bit about, you know, like the way you interact with practitioners and vendors in this way. What’s the advice that you give them generally, when they talk about price?

Rob 5:34
You know, what’s funny is we’ve got a value. I know, it sounds kind of, I don’t know, we’re something but we really take the value that I’m getting seriously. In fact, every day in our meetings, our stand-up kind of daily huddles, we have a value section at the end, where we talk about something usually other than business.

But one of our values at Ongig is that we’re all walking websites. And if we have something potentially valuable to someone else, then why keep it to ourselves, we should share it. So after a few years of selling, and I’m a mediocre seller at best. I know a bunch of folks way better than me out there. But being a founder, co-founder, I had to sell Ongig, you know, sell our software, obviously, and to talk clients into partnering with us.

I started to keep a list of the ways to get a discount from us at Ongig. We’re selling, you know, job description software. And I started to send a few of the bullets over to prospects who would ask me how do I get a discount? I would just send it to him and say, and then I realized, Oh, I got to eat my own dog food or drink my own champagne here, which is if we’re walking websites, we need to free this info.

Then let’s free it to everyone. So I started and I got up to 12 bullets. And then when, thank you for, you know, reaching out and offering the invite here to hang out with you on the show. I decided we were ready to post it as a blog. But I decided let’s share this with William first, you know, right here and in the same way, we would share it with any prospect that asked.

So a few of them have gotten this full list. Probably not it not in any way as textured as I can share it today because hey, I’m trying to make your show all the more interesting.

William 7:25
So first of all, I love the transparency of this because people like to feel like they’re getting a deal. They like to feel like there’s value. But they also want to stretch their dollar as far as they can possibly stretch it. And instead of ignoring that, you’re coming at it straight on and saying Okay, listen, let’s just talk about it. We want to do work together. And you know, your budget is X and we need Y, okay, well we have a little wiggle room. What’s been the most outrageous?

Rob 7:55
Oh, you’re going right there.

William 7:57

Rob 7:57
I was gonna offer up, I mean you’re running the show. So you tell me. But I was going to say I could give you the reverse countdown.

William 8:05
Let’s do the reverse countdown.

Rob 8:06
With what’s kind of table stakes. Probably Captain Obvious stuff. But what’s the case?

William 8:12
Let’s do it.

Rob 8:13
And then it gets more and more interesting.

William 8:15
David Letterman. 101. I love that.

Rob 8:17
Yeah, exactly. I love Letterman. My buddy Todd Stanley growing up if you’re listening, Todd had a goal when we were little kids to work on the David Letterman show. It was the first time I heard a kid have a goal, and then achieve it. He became an intern on the David Letterman show. In fact, he just became VP of Marketing at WorkDay.

William 8:37
Well, fantastic.

Rob 8:38
When I started to tell the story, I didn’t realize he’s part of our kind of HR tech world and Todd Stanley. So you’re gonna welcome Todd to WorkDay, my wife just started WorkDay too. Full disclosure there, but I’m not working for WorkDay. I’m with Ongig at least these days.

William 8:54
Not yet, not yet.

Rob 8:55
Alright, number 12. Are you ready to shoot down?

William 8:57
I’ve got it.

Rob 8:58
Okay, we’ll go down the list. So the first is to write a bigger check. It’s just deal size. So this helps SaaS companies like Ongig with cash flow. Everything I’m giving you I believe you could get a discount if you’re a practitioner, as you like to call them, a client prospect buying investing in cloud software. I mean, ours is HR tech software, but this goes for any cloud software, just write a bigger check. Sounds obvious.

But hey, it’s a morale booster internally, we celebrate it we just closed X size deal. Our first deals with Salesforce back then, they wrote, our very first client. And they wrote a check for 20,000 bucks, you know, which for us was just an amazing amount of money at that time. Because we barely had the software and our investors loved it too. And hey. Deal size, you know, again, the first couple are gonna be Captain Obvious but—

William 9:51
Okay, good.

Rob 9:52
A big dollar pay but get zeros behind it. So number 11 is to commit to a longer term. This of course gets you a bigger deal size. But also there’s more to it. It shows commitment from the client to the vendor. You know, three years is better than two, two is better than one. We’re even now asking for five years for some clients.

And if we get a five year agreement, I mean, it makes us feel good. This client’s committed to us. Investors love it. It shows it’s for real. Like, hey, where, this is really going on here. We should have been asking for that in the beginning, by the way, right?

William 10:30
Of course.

Rob 10:31
So number 10 is close quickly. This is also maybe Captain Obvious. But time is money. Right? So you know, our sales team. If we’re having 20 meetings, which is fine, we’re going to do the meetings, with a client, with a prospect, getting up to a close. But time is money, our sales team can’t be selling to someone else. So if you come in and you need something last minute, which everyone does once in a while, and you can close a deal with us quickly. We’ll give you a massive discount as a reward. You saved us a ton of time to close some other deals. So, on a related note, how am I doing so far?

William 11:14
You’re doing great. You’re doing fantastic. Roll!

Rob 11:19
Well, it’s kind of fun. I’ve never done it this way before. We usually write our content, hit publish on WordPress. But this is a WordPress draft I’m reading through. So you’re getting it first. So the next one I call a buzzer-beater deal, or a clutch client. And what I mean by this is, and this works most of the time. If you happen to catch our sales team at the end of a month in which we haven’t met our goals or the end of a quarter. Then you’ve got extra leverage. You the client, the prospect, right?

You know, we’re a day, a day away right now. We’re May 20th, right? What I’m thinking about is what can we close by May, end of May? And what can we close by the end of June? Because that’s the second quarter, right? If you can come in and you know, come right in there at the last minute.

Again, related to close quickly before that, we’re going to give you a great deal if we need to hit that goal. Now sometimes we’re doing awesome, and we don’t need it as much, right? But I’d say 99% of the time we’re gonna give you a discount.

William 12:23
We’re gonna find a way.

Rob 12:24
Yeah, we call it a buzzer-beater. Like in sports, you just gonna nail it at the buzzer, meaning you helped us nail a big goal. So that’s number nine. Number eight is prepaying. Again, might sound obvious, but we give about a 4% to 8% on average discount for anyone who prepays compared to if they were just paying say monthly. So if you can prepay for the year, we’re giving you a discount.

William 12:53
So monthly, quarterly, annually, multi-annual, anything that you can do. Then again, you’re using your budget as a practitioner. But you’re leveraging that budget and your finance, anybody in finance, CFO all the way into the department. They’re going to get that too. Anybody in procurement’s gonna get that as well. So these are also things that you can talk to your finance and accounting team about as well. It’s like, Hey, listen, if we prepay, we’ll get 10% off, you know, whatever the bit is, okay. All right, I got that I’m tracking.

Rob 13:28
Yeah. And it depends on interest rates and everything else. If we go into some weird inflation and 15 to 20% interest rates, everything, you know, the range I gave will change. But right, in general, enough money in hand will give you a discount. So next up is I love this one giving up the competitor’s solution. Right? So for instance, we’ve got a competitor called Textio. Well, a client called the other day and said, Hey, can you beat Textio’s pricing? And I said, well tell me what it is. And they did.

William 14:06
Do you ask for it? So this is fascinating. Do you ask for the contract? Do you ask him to instead of asking what it is? Do you wanna—

Rob 14:14
Yes, but I don’t require it. I trust folks, but I do say hey if you can show me, you know, an invoice or anything, great, but at the end of the day, I trust you to do it. Yeah. And you know, they might not be able to contractually and I don’t want them to feel uncomfortable and awkward and stuff. But yeah, some folks who just come right in and say yeah, we’re paying this and we’re not happy with the service through a competitor. But you know, you got to beat the price. And so then we save them some bucks, you know.

So number six is a Boomerang client. So if you were a client of ours before. So take Andrew Cargas. He was head of talent acquisition at GoDaddy. So GoDaddy was an Ongig client. When he moved over to Elastic, a great tech company. By the way, a 100% distributed workforce before the pandemic, awesome company Elastic. He went over there from GoDaddy. And then he became an Ongig client, we started to talk and he became an Ongig client.

He arguably got the biggest discount we’ve ever given to anyone percentage-wise. Right up there because he used to be a client. He said, Yes, I’m here with someone new. Let’s roll. You can see these also relate to others. Like it was a quick close because we knew each other, right. You know.

William 15:37
You’ve already built trust.

Rob 15:39
No nonsense or BS. Just dive right in. So Boomerang client. That’s number six. Number five, pretty straightforward. A referral. If someone refers us to a great prospect, then we will in exchange, give them a discount. Even if that prospect doesn’t turn into a closed deal.

William 15:59
Yeah. No, just the sheer fact that they’re referenceable and that they’re out there trying to help you build your business.

Rob 16:06

William 16:07
Yeah. I love that.

Rob 16:09
That’s number five. Number four is another Captain Obvious one, maybe, for case study testimonials we’ll give you a marketing discount. If you give us a nice quote or case study that we can use in our marketing collateral.

William 16:22
Are you leveraging that into the websites? You know, the G2 crowd or in any of those types of things as well?

Rob 16:31
We don’t put it on there. Is that what you mean?

William 16:34
Yeah, cuz, you know, testimony comes in a lot of frames. You got audio, video, you can do something with a strict narrative, you can do anonymously. You can do you know, as the who they are, and company name and LinkedIn profile and all that stuff. But also equally important, at least what I’m finding is people are using those rating sites, to then build a shortlist for whatever they whatever they’re looking for. Whatever solution they’re looking for.

And, and you know, this being an incentive, you know, marketing incentive, if you’ll do these things, Have y’all thought about using rating sites? As one of them, you know, will you do this bit on rating sites, if you’ll do this bit on rating sites, then we can help you with something else?

Rob 17:17
So you mean, the client, in that case, would list something, say something on a rating site?

William 17:24
That’s exactly right. GlassDoor, software advice, etc

Rob 17:27
We’re gonna hire you, William, we have not thought of that.

William 17:30
Brother, I got a whole list. We’ll go off the air, I literally have a list of like 40 of these. But I’m, I’m just finding now the more I talk to practitioners about vendor selection. They used to go to Google and build a list that way. They’re going to these rating sites and building sites, they’re building their shortlist of who they need to demo, based on who has the most references and recommendations.

Rob 17:55
Great advice. I love it. Thank you.

William 17:57
Anyhow, hey. All right. So that was four.

Rob 18:00
That was four. So number three, and I get that folks are gonna say this sounds a little, you know, woo-woo or something. But if you’re a do-gooder, nonprofit type of organization, you know, not focused on cash. Yeah. Picture, if Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela to the World. We’re not in it to make money, want to use Ongig software, we’re gonna figure out how to get ’em a discount.

William 18:25
Yeah. And you know, there’s more than that happens in our industry. We just don’t talk about it. It’s probably something we need to talk about. Because there’s a lot of folks that, Cornerstone does a great job of this as an example. Yeah. And they don’t talk about it. You know, it’s just one of those deals. It’s just like, woven into their culture that they work with nonprofits and, and, you know, large, small, whatever. It’s just, I think it’s cool. I also think it’s needed because they don’t necessarily have the money to then put towards the things that they need to put toward. So I think that’s great.

Rob 19:01
I love it. And by the way, on the flip side, just because you’re a nonprofit, we have run into nonprofits, because we one set a rule where we would do it for any nonprofit. Right. But you know, and I both know, there are some nonprofits whose management is taking, you know, million-dollar-plus, yeah, salaries, spending 99% of the dollars they raise on themselves. Yeah. I don’t care what you’re called at that point. If you’re not good humans. Yeah. We’re not gonna give you a discount.

William 19:28
No, no, no, that’s and again, that’s qualified nonprofits as of phrasing that and it’s just making sure that all the values are in alignment, but you want to do the right thing by people that are doing the right thing.

Rob 19:42
And it’s funny because I think of it you know, you put a little asterisk there and say, if you’re just a good human, you’re probably going to get some discounts.

William 19:50
Yeah, turns out, turns out—news at 11—life’s easier if you’re a good human. People care about that. Yeah. Good. Yeah. All right.

Rob 20:00
That’s hard to tell out of the gate. But um so cool. We’re down to number two. This one’s interesting to get a little nuanced with the last two. New vertical markets. So we had a major healthcare company approach us for a demo. And we weren’t, we had done very little in healthcare. And as you know, healthcare has got its own like Island kind of clubby, vertical, you know, meaning not in a bad way, it’s just kind of hard to penetrate. Like, it’s a different world and hard to get in. But once you’re in, you’re golden. So we were happy to give a discount because we got to learn about a new vertical and growing vertical.

William 20:38
And for practitioners that are listening, one of the things to think about is okay, sure you’re in banking and finance, or, you know, Rob said, you’re in healthcare. And one of the questions you always ask a vendor, and you should ask. Is, you know, what other companies like me are you doing business with? And if they can’t answer that, there’s an opportunity there. For both sides. It’s like, well, we don’t have 12, you know, healthcare provider logos that we could show you, but we want to learn. So why don’t we figure out a way for this to be equitable for both sides? And, and so, so I love that, and I love that it’s on the list. I also love that it’s that high on the list.

Rob 20:58

William 21:18

Rob 21:19
Finally, number one, you ready? You got a sort of virtual drumroll? [drumroll sound]

William 21:22
Yup, yup.

Rob 21:22
All right. Number one is, and again, this is gonna sound corny, but I mean, it, there’s a reason I saved it for number one, I’ll give a story, which is number one is that you’re going to help us learn. So related to that new vertical market, I’ll give you the story.

We can’t name their name, but a giant theme park resort cruise company approached us with a big thorny problem related to rewriting job descriptions. They had to compete with Facebook and Google for talent. Which a lot of us have to do, a lot of other folks have to do, and they needed their job descriptions rewrote. Now, we hadn’t yet launched our text analyzer, job description software at that point.

So what we did was we took it on as a professional service sort of project. And we got to, they exposed us to 30 of their hiring managers. We’re talking about a global company, with their fingers in every kind of business, huge, you know, fortune 50 type company. And we just learned a ton.

We’ve got access to these 30 hiring managers. We, we learned new things. I call it paid R&D. Like they were paying us, but we got all this data and research that helped us then build the most important thing that we ever did here at Ongig. Was this new text analyzer software. So we gave him a massive discount, we should have charged them 5X what we would have, but we got to learn.

And this comes in all sorts of ways. We had another healthcare company whose head of talent, a guy named Jason, taught me a bunch about job titles early on. He had this Indeed data, and he was teaching me. You know, like, and I was just starting to master this area. And he taught me a bunch, he got a massive discount. So where we can learn and improve our product.

And again, it sounds corny, maybe this is a little bit more for a smaller cloud software company. But we learned a ton that was so valuable to us. We’ve since sold millions and millions of dollars of this text analyzer software. Just because of that theme park company giving us a little professional services project.

William 23:35
I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love the list. This is such great content.

Two quick questions. In the next four minutes. One what is the weirdest request or reason for a discount? And, what, anonymize it.

Rob 23:51
Yeah, well, I’ll tell you kind of a slight twist on this, which is we once had. It’s funny, it shows what a nice company they are. Autodesk came to us in our early days and said, you know, call that sort of like the last day of the month. Right? And I’m thinking, geez, like, they’re asking for something here.

And they said, Rob, big favor, please. I said Sure thing. You’re what, you’re one of our biggest clients. They said, Can we prepay you? Like for two years? I think it was some huge amount of money.

William 24:27
Yeah. Budget dumping?

Rob 24:30
Yep. Yep. I got to take care of this budget. And it was all above board. They just wanted to take care of their budget. And that would really help me out. Yeah, I remember I said with a straight face just for a moment. I said I’ll do you that favor. Yeah, and then, of course, I cracked up and of course, you’re back to your pre-paying something.

William 24:50
Yeah, let me give you my banking routing number, and we can take care of that.

Rob 24:55
That’s more just a funny story.

William 24:57
I’ve cashed those checks as well. So I love that. Because that means they trust you.

Rob 25:01
No, people are strange about money. You know, I happen to take a negotiations course at Harvard in my career and learned a lot about it. But other folks, they don’t want to touch negotiations.

William 25:11
Oh, I love it too.

Rob 25:13
I don’t either by the way. After work. I don’t want to go if I want to buy a car or something. The last thing I want to do is negotiate.

William 25:20
Oh, yeah, me too. Did you read Getting the Yes? When you were taking that class?

Rob 25:24
Yeah, yeah. Did you like that?

William 25:26
Oh, yeah. Well. It’s the BATNA. I love the idea of just conceptually understanding what you’re willing to walk away from.

Rob 25:33

William 25:34
Alright. Last question.

Rob 25:35

William 25:36
What do you do with hagglers?

Rob 25:38
Ah, great question. Thank you. This is the beauty of, by the way, William and I did no prep on this. And I love this because it’s better content. Do you get me?

William 25:48

Rob 25:49
So here it is. It’s very simple. We say, okay, you’re looking for a discount. Here are the ways. We send them the list. Here are the ways. And you could use a handful of them by the way. And we will, often it’s there, they’re comparing it to someone else. They’re saying, Hey, you know, Textio is quoting this.

And I say, That’s okay. We will give you a new quote, once we decide it’s worth it, to be, sometimes we walk away. By the way, if it goes too low, we Oh, yeah, that’s worth it. But if we like this potential client, we say okay, here’s the quote, that beats the competitor. But you’re only getting us to do this once.

William 26:35

Rob 26:36
This is it. We won’t get into a back and forth game. And this is our best, you know, this is our best quote. Good luck. If it’s not right. Good luck. We don’t want someone just shopping it around back and forth.

William 26:49
Yeah yeah, kicking the tires. And the phrase that usually comes up with me is can you sharpen your pencils? That sends me into a fit of rage. I want to drown puppies at that moment when I hear that phrase come out of someone else’s mouth. I’m not in a good place. I need to go for a walk. Possibly take some medicine. Because I’ve already sharpened the pencils, A.B. But Rob, this is fantastic.

Rob 27:20
Yeah, we’re always happy to sharpen the pencil once.

William 27:23
Yeah, once and then I might stab you with the pencil on the second time.

Rob 27:27
Also, make it easy. Like we’ll beat that other offer pretty handily. So it’s not like we’re lowering it by a penny. Then we also go through the list and if there’s nothing else on the list we say that’s really all we can do here.

William 27:39
I love that. Brother. This was a fantastic show, thank you so much.

Rob 27:42
Yeah, this was a lot of fun.

William 27:43
Thank you for carving out time.

Rob 27:44
When you gonna push it live?

William 27:47
I can push it live as soon as possible. Let me look, let me, well let me end the show. Real quick. Rob, thank you for coming on. Thanks for everyone that listens. Until next time, appreciate you.

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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