If you missed last week’s Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA) webinar, you missed some great tips from Dr. Soheila Lunney on how to keep suppliers from conducting “backdoor selling” as a way of inflating their profits at your organization’s expense. One of the key points covered was how sellers are trained to avoid dealing directly with procurement departments.

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Dr. Lunney cited an educational sales article.

in which the author taught sales reps about the benefits of selling to people outside of procurement. The author wrote that procurement professionals “are there because they have the skills needed to succeed in their task. Trying to sell to them using conventional means is analogous to one trying to inflict pain to an inanimate object like say a stump, or someone with no nerves in their body.”

Instead of selling to procurement professionals, the author recommends “employing a strategy and tactics to neutralize their impact and minimize their ability to negatively impact your efforts and objectives. How do you do this by selling to the people who truly derive the ‘value’ from your product; once they are sold, enlist them in helping you manage and marginalize the ‘procurement man.’”

So while engineers, IT professionals, and other internal customers are cutting deals and getting duped into thinking they are great bargainers, the only reason they are involved is because sales people want to avoid the department that really knows how to negotiate.

So, the next time that one of your internal customers is found to be leading a procurement negotiation without the procurement department’s involvement, share that sales article with him and ask him how he feels that the salesperson he is dealing with might be referring to him as a “chumpion.”


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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