What Negotiators Can Learn From Millennials

How Can Millennial Traits Be Used By Procurement Negotiators?

PurchTips Edition #366

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Today’s business leaders scramble to learn how to manage millennials in the workplace. But we can actually learn a lot by recognizing millennials’ positive traits. Here are 3 millennial traits that procurement negotiators can apply in their work:

  1. Refusing to defer to what is customary. It used to be customary for most middle- and upper-class citizens to only take taxis as a means of public transportation. Independent drivers using their own vehicles were condescendingly referred to as “jitneys” and associated with impoverished communities. Now, millennials comfortably use ridesharing programs like Uber. In procurement negotiations, you shouldn’t agree to certain terms just because it was customary to do so in the past. For example, it has been customary to agree to suppliers’ demands that limit of liability contract provisions establish an equal liability limit for both sides. However, in some cases, the supplier absolutely should be subject to a higher limit of liability than the customer. Negotiate what is appropriate, not what is customary.
  2. Bringing back good things that went out of style. To some, undercut haircuts and Wayfarer glasses look like styles their grandfathers wore. But millennials have brought them back and – ya know what? – they look good in 2017! With “win-win negotiation” being overemphasized in recent years, many procurement negotiators have failed to learn how to negotiate when the going gets tough. Win-win is indeed appropriate in many situations, but not all situations. Today’s procurement negotiators need to bring back hardball negotiation when it makes sense to use it.
  3. Looking at the complete picture. Millennials factor in many variables in their purchase decisions. Merchants appeal to this movement by branding their products as “cruelty-free,” “ethically sourced,” and “eco-friendly.” Procurement negotiators, too, must look at all aspects of a deal, not just price. Like millennials, procurement negotiators must bargain for the most socially responsible performance from their suppliers while not ignoring classic variables such as total cost and value, payment terms, warranty, quality, delivery, service guarantees, and innovation.


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Copyright 2017. This article is the property of the Next Level Purchasing Association and may not be copied or republished in any form without the express written consent of the Next Level Purchasing Association. Click here to request republishing permission.

By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3