Interpersonal Etiquette For Purchasing Professionals

PurchTips edition #18


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Emphasized In Sales, Forgotten In Purchasing?

Top performing salespeople have often been intensely trained on interpersonal etiquette. They know how to properly interact with their purchasing counterparts. They know what to do and, more importantly, what not to do.

Unfortunately, there is not as much emphasis on interpersonal etiquette in the purchasing profession. As a result, we often commit "no-no's" that make us appear less than professional to our sales counterparts. And in this volatile economy, the sales counterpart you are meeting with today could be the person you are asking for a job tomorrow. Here are some tips to ensure that you are projecting a professional image of yourself and your company.

Be Prompt: If your meeting is at ten o'clock, be ready to begin your meeting at ten o'clock. Simple. There is no more effective way at broadcasting your unprofessionalism than having a salesperson sitting in your lobby for an hour. Especially when your CEO walks by twice and asks the salesperson who she is waiting to meet.

Be Polite: Purchasing can be a stressful occupation. It is important to keep a positive perspective and, just as importantly, project a positive perspective. New salespeople quickly learn not to ask "How are you?" because it is often an invitation for purchasing professionals to grumble. Here is a script that you can use the next time you are asked that question: "Fine, thank you. How are you?" Is that so hard?

Be Patient: We've all received those annoying telemarketing calls at home. You know, the ones where the salesperson babbles on and on for five minutes before you have the chance to say "I don't need another credit card?" We've learned to cut the salesperson off in mid-sentence to save ourselves the agony. Business-to business sales calls are, fortunately, not usually as annoying or long. Allow the salesperson to complete his pitch. It will usually only take a few seconds.

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Are You Getting The Most Out of Your NLPA Membership?

Members of the NLPA get more than just articles like this by email. As a member, you also get access to:

  • The Procurement Training & Certification Starter Kit
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  • Leading-Edge Supply Management™ magazine
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  • And more!

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