How to Negotiate – Best Practices for Buyers

When done correctly, negotiating with your suppliers can be a successful venture. If you start with a win-win mindset, both you, as the buyer and your vendor, can win.

Here is an approach you can take to negotiate your procurements effectively:

Set Realistic Expectations

Know the best and worst-case scenarios before you negotiate with your vendor. Give your supplier clear direction and expectations. If you have done your homework in advance, you will know the strengths and weaknesses of your prospective suppliers. Then, offer a strategic discussion on leveraging their strengths to achieve the goals you have in mind.

Listen to Your Supplier

Always keep an open mind coming into the negotiation. Remember, before starting any negotiation, it’s essential to leave your ego at the door. The negotiation is not about you, but what’s best for your company. Let your supplier explain their pricing and terms. Sometimes, there is a logical explanation behind their pricing and delivery quotations. Listening and collaborating will help you build trust for a lasting relationship.

Remain Confident

You have many supplier options. You always have the bargaining chip, the procurement needs of your company. The goal is not just to place an order. The goal in a vendor negotiation is never to take advantage of the other party. That’s not a foundation for success. You can be confident in your expectations while still making it a win-win for your supplier and you.

Avoiding Mistakes

When negotiating, avoid this common mistake—rushing the negotiation process. While time is not always on our side, ensure you have adequate details for your supplier to provide you with a well-thought-out quotation. When in a hurry, have the supplier walk you through the quotation line by line to clarify hidden fees and delivery expectations.

As a buyer, the way you negotiate to get to the best prices on goods and services determines your success as a purchasing professional. Of course, over time and through trials with an array of suppliers, you learn a few tricks. But, the best strategy you can employ is getting your suppliers to become your partner. If they know you care about their success equally, you will find they will go out of their way to make you shine while meeting your companies’ procurement needs.

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