Sometimes, us bloggers get so focused on strategic purchasing topics that we underserve buyers in the trenches – those men and women who work hard at ensuring that every critical delivery is on time no matter what crazy circumstances pop up. When I reflect on this work that buyers in the trenches do – the work that I did early in my purchasing career – it is clear that “tactical vs. strategic purchasing” is not synonymous with “unimportant vs. important purchasing.”

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Tactical purchasing activities, like day-to-day communications with suppliers, are important. You don’t want a purchasing department to be a paper-pushing department, but some of the work in the trenches can be quite critical to the successful operation of a company.

With that in mind, I’ll give a quick tip today for buyers in the trenches. I thought of this when my wife called a utility company, failed to achieve the desired result, and I had to place a second call to them to get what we wanted.

Here’s the tip: “Don’t allow the conversation to end until you hear what you want to hear.”

Whether it is working with a supplier to deliver an item by a deadline of yours, getting a supplier to honor a warranty, getting a re-stocking fee waived, or any similar, reasonable, short-time-horizon request, the supplier usually has the flexibility to take care of you. You may need to speak with a higher-level person, but the flexibility is usually there. Don’t take no for an answer.

Persistence goes a long way towards success when you’re in the trenches of purchasing. Plus, it shows management the tenacity they are looking for in higher-level purchasing positions that involve broader negotiations.

Don’t allow the conversation to end until you hear what you want to hear.

As a side note, I won’t be teaching this technique to my children until they are adults (however, they seem innately know to try this 😉 )!

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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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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