I hope that you have enjoyed the article “3 Truly Effective Supplier Interview Questions.”

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Here is one more question that I feel is essential to include in any supplier interview…

“Are there any factors about selecting a supplier for this contract / order / project that you are worried that I am not considering?”  As procurement professionals, we jump from project to project, product to product, and market to market.  That can make it difficult to be a true expert on any one product, service, or market.  As such, there is the risk of not understanding the nuances of that product/service/market enough to make an optimal decision.  Asking this question can flush out relevant details that should be considered.  Of course, you also need to be good at distinguishing relevant details from sales puffery.

Knowledge is power in a negotiation and you always want your supplier to feel that you are the more powerful force in the negotiation, so there is risk at coming off as subservient to the supplier by asking this question.  Therefore, it is important that your body language convey confidence and that you respond with something that communicates your organization’s expertise like, “Well, I just want to assure you that we have thoroughly prepared for this procurement and are taking into account all relevant factors into this decision.”

While your intent of asking this question may be for you to learn, your supplier doesn’t have to know that.

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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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