Negotiation, Ethics, & You

PurchTips edition #72


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How Do You Persuade Your Suppliers?

If you are like most purchasers, you are under pressure to generate lots of cost savings. Unfortunately, the pressure to boost the bottom line compels some less skilled purchasers to cross the ethical line. They use questionable techniques.

There are five common ethics-related profiles of purchasing negotiators. Which describes you?

The Liar – The Liar will tell any number of lies to a supplier to persuade that supplier to improve its terms. An example of a lie would be telling a supplier that another supplier has a price that is 10% lower when such a statement isn't true. UNETHICAL!

The Exaggerator – The Exaggerator might not tell an outright lie, but her words and behavior may be designed to trick a supplier into thinking that a larger quantity or longer term contract is to be expected. The Exaggerator's intent is to get a better price and not follow through with implied quantity or term commitments. UNETHICAL!

The Open Book – The Open Book will give a supplier information about competitors' proposals in order to persuade a supplier to offer a better deal. Of course, the competing suppliers expect their proposals to be kept confidential. UNETHICAL!

The Cheap Date – Despite the fact that he is engaged in a negotiation situation with the supplier, The Cheap Date will accept meals, entertainment, and/or gifts at the supplier's expense. Even if such acceptance does not actually influence The Cheap Date's decision-making, it creates the perception within The Cheap Date's organization that he is being "bought." UNETHICAL!

The Professional – The Professional considers ethics when negotiating. She knows the characteristics of the other four profiles and consciously avoids that type of behavior. And she does a great job of negotiating, too!

There are so many effective ethical negotiation techniques available. You should never have to resort to the practices of The Liar, The Exaggerator, The Open Book, or The Cheap Date to get the results you want.

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