We train salespeople AND we also train procurement – two of the largest procurement organizations in the world, as a matter a fact. While negotiation training for professionals within Supply Chain is inherently different than for sales and other functions many of the same principles apply… which makes sense, since they are having the same negotiation, but just sitting at the other side of the table. It’s critical to look at it from both sides to figure out best practices. Here is how we might sum up a 2-day negotiation training session for procurement teams that are already functioning at a high level:
Eight Tips for Procurement Agents:
1. Look at the whole sum – too often we see procurement agents go line by line – missing out on the big picture.
2. Drawing on above – Be problem solvers, but realize the problem is often bigger than your current line item.
3. Prioritize – Understand your “must haves” in the deal and focus on obtaining them first.
4. In a similar vein – understand items that are “tradeables” – would you agree to pay Net 30 as opposed to Net 60 if you get your price point or proper SLA?
5. While you often are given autonomy to get a deal done by the business unit – use them as a reason to circle back or follow up. You do not always have to provide an answer right away. Fully understand the ask and say you will get back to them.
6. Find common ground – identify things that can be agreed upon internally and understand that all sides want to get a deal done.
7. Understand business unit deadlines – work backwards from them to achieve results. Knowing that 80% of deals are completed within 24 hours of a deadline.
8. Value the relationship – It is often not worth the 1% savings to have your partner upset and waiting for leverage to shift. If you are getting pressure from above (yes, this always happens, but we mean extra pressure), considering negotiating more internally rather than pushing harder on a partner.