When trying to win new business, it’s frustrating not being able to set yourself apart from your competition who are vying for the same contract. Having a range of supplier negotiation strategies in your arsenal, along with a solid grasp of negotiation skills (https://piscari.com/negotiation-
training/) can mean the difference between winning and losing deals when negotiating with tough procurement professionals.
7 Negotiation Strategies For Suppliers
- Build Rapport
Building rapport is an integral part of being able to get a deal over the finish line. Maintaining open communication channels with clients while having a solid negotiation strategy helps build rapport and strengthen the quality of the deal. Being responsive, attentive, and approachable is absolutely key when it comes to forming crucial relationships with decision-makers, and can often be the deal breaker if there are multiple suppliers trying to win the same contract.
- Reach Out to Procurement More
Build a relationship with Procurement 12-18 months in advance of negotiating a deal with them. Here’s some tactics to engage busy procurement professionals:
- Send them your latest thought leadership, not your sales pitch
- Follow them on LinkedIn and make meaningful comments on their posts
- Invite them to breakfast roundtables with their (non-competing) peers
- Know Your Customers and Build Credibility
You can’t pitch if you’ve not done your discovery call effectively. Have a predefined list of questions that help you understand the client’s context in a lot more detail – before selling them anything.
Get reviews and feedback from your previous customers and publish on LinkedIn and other marketing channels. It’s one of the 11 touch-points for a prospect about how you provide excellent service to customers with similar requirements.
- Anchor Early and Demonstrate Value
Negotiation 101 is about anchoring. Your first commercial offer to your prospects has to be realistic, at the top-end of market expectations, and be linked to the value/ROI you create. Without this, you’re open to trained negotiators taking you apart.
- Flex Your Finance
If you need a helping hand when trying to get a deal over the line, be flexible with the payment terms that you can offer. Many suppliers request that payments be made within 14 days on invoice. However, knowing how far you go, in exchange for something else in the negotiations that are valuable to you is critical.
- Be Empathetic
You have to understand the customer’s negotiation context. You have to be able to empathise with them, and build a bridge towards them.
Empathy doesn’t mean weakness or yielding in the negotiation. It shows that you understand them and want the best deal for them and you.
- Demonstrate Your Credibility
Don’t be afraid to showcase what you’ve done for other clients (anonymised if need be). It’s important to make customers aware of your credibility and how well your company has delivered consistently over time.
Start Winning More Procurement Deals
Have a solid negotiation strategy in place to deliver more balanced deals with procurement. Follow these principles and tactics to negotiate better deals, every time, especially when you meet tough procurement negotiators.