The following article was prepared by Mike Taylor, C.P.M. for distribution to NAPM affiliate newsletters. 

It's Never Too Soon

Do you negotiate in your job? I'm not talking just about the formal, planned event with strategies, goals, tactics and plenty of management assistance. I am talking about negotiating with engineers, requisitioners, other departments, management and salesmen. Many people have not considered casual or usual conversations as negotiations, but I think everyone will agree that more often than not, one person in the conversation is trying to talk the other person into something.

In a recent and excellent article, Purchasing World Magazine discusses Back-Door-Selling by salesmen. The article makes a valuable point in that it shows that salesmen are trained to continually search for information and a selling advantage. They negotiate every minute of every conversation with you, your requisitioners and even your competitors. The problem is, if you don't realize that the other party is negotiating (or gathering data for a negotiation) you may loose before you ever start.

How do you handle a supplier's question about who are his competitors? How do you respond when asked about the total quantity needed? What preparation do you give to your plant people that may have to interface with a salesman? If you haven't answered these questions in advance, then when the negotiation loose...because the salesman knows exactly what he is going to say and ask.

What information do you want to reveal, how will it be used against you, and what effect will it have on the final order? I'm sure everyone of us has had the experience ..when you want to say, 'who told you that?' My point is that we negotiate much more often and sooner than we think. The result is we loose a negotiation long before we ever start.

[Incidentally, I often respond to a salesman's question, that he knows his competitors better than I, rather than letting him know who he has to beat].

MLTWEB is assembled and maintained by Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M. 
Materials and articles prepared by Mike may be shared for purchasing education provided that this source is cited and no fee is charged. The rights for any other use are withheld.
Copyright;  Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M.
Last Updated: 11/26/2016