I hope that you have enjoyed the article, What Suppliers Fear When Negotiating.
I only had room to begin touching on Fear #4: “Losing Face.” You are only one constituency to whom a supplier’s sales rep could lose face. Another is his or her management. If that sales rep returns to headquarters after a negotiation session with you and reports that they agreed to the least profitable deal in the history of the company, that sales rep may not exactly be seen as a hero.
Thus, the tug-of-war between pleasing you and getting the deal and pleasing management.
In his book, Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way From Confrontation to Cooperation, William Ury advises that you, as a negotiator, have to build for your counterpart a “golden bridge.” In part, this means that you have to help them save face with their constituents.
Ury offers a few strategies for this, such as showing them how circumstances have changed between the time of refusing to budge and the time of agreement, getting a third party recommendation, and pointing to a standard of fairness.
The book offers some additional strategies. Most of them are not directly applicable to modern procurement as written, but hopefully they give you enough ideas that you can adapt to your situation.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer – Next Level Purchasing Association
Author – The Procurement Game Plan
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