Have you ever been gridlocked in a supplier negotiation?
Of course, you have - you work in procurement 🙃
Nobody’s perfect in negotiations, even though we like to think we are.
Here are 6 tips to avoid your Negotiations from turning into NO-GO-tiations:
1) ListenWe have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. Focus on your talk ratio, and aim to listen more than you speak. Understanding a counterpart's wants/needs is the fastest way to come to an agreement when negotiating.
2) Progress not PerfectionNegotiations aren’t about winning or getting everything right. Negotiations are about finding an amicable solution for future collaboration. Don’t expect perfection, but demand progression.
3) It’s Not YouIt’s easy to take things personally in negotiations. Remember, you’re negotiating a scope of work; don’t let your ego or emotions get in the way.
4) Come preparedThe speed and success of negotiation are often dependent on the days/hours prior to the start of the negotiation. Agreements are formulated to govern (often) long-term partnerships. It’s important to remember that there’s a long road of collaboration ahead - so put your best foot forward and be prepared with points of discussion from the get-go.
5) Translate ‘Things’ fastEveryone has their ‘thing’ in a negotiation. It may be terms of termination, Price, Laws, SLAs, Liabilities, Damages, etc. Focus on making sense of and translating your counterparts ‘limits’ or ‘wants’ quickly. This will help you to identify where there are areas to give and take - and which buttons you absolutely shouldn’t be pushing.
6) Avoid “Unacceptable”
Language like ‘Not Acceptable’ or ‘Unacceptable’ isn’t conducive when trying to bridge the gap between procurement and sales in the finalization of an agreement. As Jonas Spannel put in a recent episode of The Way We Source, “You have to strive to understand what is important for the other party. Otherwise, you quickly get caught up in standpoints. And using the word unacceptable - ‘This is unacceptable for me to reduce the price’. Ok, but What does it mean, seriously? If it’s unacceptable, then we can go walk away and don’t do business.” It’s important to explain what’s important to you, understand what’s important to your partner, and focus on the ultimate goal, which is coming to an amicable agreement.
There you have it, 6 practical tips to avoid any future head-on collisions.
We’re aware that certain negotiations aren’t always straightforward, and in some cases, your counterpart won’t be reasonable or focused on finding an amicable agreement. If that’s the case, take a deep breath, send them this post, and take a step back. Bonus tip: You have to always be ready to walk away!
Google the word negotiation, you’ll get up the following definition:
"A discussion aimed at reaching an agreement."
The goal is an Agreement. That should be the aim, and remain the focus.
That’s how you avoid No-Go-tiations.