People often assume that negotiating is about getting the cheapest possible deal. It isn’t. It is a skill you can learn and perfect. Choosing your supplier is an important aspect for the future of your business. Here are some valuable tips in the art of negotiation that you shouldn’t forget.
Know the market.
Do your research and know your buyer. Before you even get to the negotiation stage, take a look around at different suppliers. Look at the type of products, prices and the services they offer. It is a good idea to ring around and make enquiries about what is and isn’t included in the pricings of each supplier. Calculate extra costs that will be incurred with each supplier and act accordingly. Mentioning the competition gives you an advantageous position when it comes to bargaining down the price!
It’s not just the different wholesale suppliers you need to know about. Know what it is that you are willing to pay and what you want to achieve from the meeting. Make a list before hand of aspects such as price, payment terms, delivery, after-sale service and maintenance arrangements and of course quality. With these things firmly in mind, go prepared with what you are willing to be flexible on and what you aren’t. This way you won’t be persuaded into agreeing on something which isn’t in the company’s best interests. Be realistic, firm and fair. It isn’t about who has the most domineering personality; it is about both being happy with the transaction that has taken place with a view to more in the future.
Strategize and take your time.
It is a good idea to pre-prepare your negotiation strategy. Prior to meeting the supplier make a strategy to use as a useful guide to make sure you cover all aspects you wanted to discuss from delivery dates to quality. If, at the end of the negotiation, you are unsure about an aspect of trade supplies or want to think further, then ask for time to reflect. Don’t make any quick decisions that may not be in the best interests of the company. If in doubt, ask for time!
Let the supplier be creative.
For the supplier the most important thing is the sale. They want to convince you to work with them so allow them to work their magic to convince you. Never go with the first price, always offer a lower counter-offer on return, the supplier is likely to come back with a lower price. Be suspicious of extremely low prices and always ask if you can buy in bulk, it may get you a better deal!
Before you sign anything, run a credit check on the suppliers and be sure that you know what you are going into! Once you are sure, get it down on paper. A written contract should cover everything that has been agreed on all conditions for pre-sale and after –sales service, it should also protect your interests and place any legal responsibilities onto the supplier should anything happen. Legal advice is strongly advised at this point.
Keep it friendly.
Be firm but friendly; make sure your body language is confident but not intimidating. Don’t be hesitant in asking about incentives which that particular supplier offers. If it doesn’t work out, always leave on a positive note. You never know when your paths may cross again or how the market may change! Meeting the supplier should be a positive experience, see it as an opportunity to build rapport and trust with the supplier and secure a good relationship for future business.
Lucy Hunt works on behalf of Hill Interiors – wholesale gift suppliers based in the UK. She blogs regularly on a wide range of business and technology subjects, with a keen focus on improving customer relations.