I don’t know what it is, but lately I have been seeing many sales pieces that try to paint buyers as, for lack of a more appropriate word, jerks. If you didn’t get that impression from the whitepaper I reviewed yesterday, you certainly will by watching this video that I have come across multiple times on the Internet.

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Beyond just the video, some of the comments on YouTube provide additional insights into the perception of buyers and our approach to negotiation. Consider these:

  • “Along with ‘partnership,’ ‘vendor skin-in-our-game,’ ‘shared risk & rewards,’ these behaviors reflect the toxic reality of Technology Professional Services. CIOs, Purchasing & Accounts Payable Departments are all in fierce competition for Gold Medals in the Vendor Abuse Olympics.”
  • “Always trust your gut and don’t compromise for dead-beats.”
  • “That is so true, sadly enough. I just wish we could stop trying to cheat off one another”

Now, I’m not saying that the techniques used by the buyers in this video represent corporate procurement best practices or anything. These people – as intended by the director – do come off as abrasive. But asking for better terms in and of itself is not shameful.

Today’s business world is highly competitive. There is not infinite margin to go around. For some companies, negotiated savings is the difference between profitability and death. If those companies stopped negotiating, they wouldn’t be around to be a client of their vendors anymore.

Negotiating isn’t “trying to cheat.” It is simply an attempt to reach a price point where the profitability of the transaction is mutually acceptable and balanced (not equal, balanced) for both parties. Often, list price is not mutually balanced, so buyers must ask – and receive – more attractive pricing and terms.

There’s no shame in that. Keep negotiating.

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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