Now this is something that you don’t hear that often ‘I love procurement.’ There I have said it!! But maybe not for the reasons that you first think.
One of the realities of working within the marketing services sector is that procurement are now a permanent fixture in the decision making process.
And when I talk to people about procurement I tend to get 2 reactions. Fear and Loathing.
So why do I love them? Simple. They do what they say on the tin. Negotiation is just a game and yes they play the game hard, but it’s a game with rules and regulations, so understand those rules and you can play on an equal footing
Negotiating with your everyday contact, in my opinion, is much tougher. Why, because there is a relationship in the way. They can emotionally tug on your heart strings, you can worry about how this will make them feel, whether they will change their perception of you if you negotiate too hard. With procurement none of this matters. You are simply two people in a room, going through the process of putting the best deal together for your respective companies
Now with any game you need to understand the basic principles before you can the move onto honing your skills. So before you step into the negotiation arena with procurement get yourself ready to :-
- Leave your relationship at the door – this is simply about doing a deal that will allow you to get back onto delivering the relationship and service your stakeholders expect
- Give them something – all procurement have to justify their position and they can only do this if they show their organisation they got something. However make sure they have to work bloody hard for it
- Remember they nearly always can’t say no! – all they are doing is getting the best terms and conditions, it’s the role of the stakeholders to choose the supplier
- Knowledge is power – never say yes to anything until you understand the complete picture, spend the first half of the negotiation asking questions and listening, never agreeing to anything
- Get before you give – when you do eventually start to bargain, make sure you are always getting something in return, no matter how small
- Re-engineer the deal, never discount
So my advice to you all, stop fearing procurement, and start to love them by learning to play the game.