How Purchasing Can Leverage Sales Tactics

Have You Ever Adapted Sales Tactics To Purchasing?

PurchTips Edition #322 Click here for the printer-friendly version

Picture of Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3, author of this procurement article on purchasing leverage.By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

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I’ve heard many a CPO say: “purchasing people today need to have sales skills.” It’s true – purchasing professionals like you need to convince many different constituencies of many different things. Here are four sales tactics you can leverage in your purchasing work.

“Help them understand how they benefit by working with you.” This sales tactic applies to purchasing in the way that you deal with your internal customers. You need them to follow the purchasing processes you establish. You need them to use the suppliers with whom you have contracted. You need them to adhere to your purchasing policies. But what does it take to convince them to comply? The fact that it’s “good for the organization” isn’t very motivational. To be persuasive, you have to answer the question “what’s in it for them?” It may be the ability to buy more stuff with the same budget, or something else. But you need to make it clear how their department benefits by doing the things that you want them to do.

“Close the deal.” Salespeople aim to convince buyers to stop negotiating, agree to the terms currently “on the table,” and place orders in the shortest amount of time. You also want your suppliers’ salespeople to agree to the terms you’ve proposed in the shortest amount of time. Therefore, you need to learn how to negotiate in a way that convinces salespeople to let go of their ideas that they could get better terms for themselves, stop negotiating, and accept your order.

“Help them feel comfortable with the numbers.” The #1 thing that buyers want to negotiate is price. So, salespeople find themselves defending their prices often. Their goal is to convince their prospective customers that their “numbers” are fair, using pure logic. In purchasing, you likely find yourself trying to justify to the finance department that your cost savings “numbers” are valid. Use the same type of logic that salespeople use to illustrate why your numbers should be accepted.

“Explain how the value they get will exceed the money they pay.” People and organizations buy things because they value the product or service they get more than the money they pay. Successful salespeople convince their customers of the value of what they sell so that their customers don’t mind spending money for it. As a purchasing professional, you must convince your management that your work has more value than the money the organization pays for the purchasing department (compensation, office space, resources, etc.). You do this by showing how purchasing activities contribute to the financial health of the organization.


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Copyright 2015. 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