B2B Street Fighting Blog

negotiating with professional buyers

Posted by Marie Dudek Brown on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 @ 03:14 PM

Many sellers continue to believe that buyers are only interested in low price.  But almost any business-to-business negotiation in which a professional buyer is involved is likely to be a complex one with multiple criteria to be met on both sides, and buyers are certainly aware of that.  Let's start by looking at the kind of analysis you need to do when dealing with professional buyers. 

The following list of supplier performance metrics is from "The Supplier Selection and Management Report 9/01" from the National Association of Purchasing Managers (now the Institute of Supply Management):

  • Financial stability
  • People
  • Supplier performance
  • Supplier cost reduction ideas
  • Supplier development projects
  • Delivery
  • Quality
  • Product cost
  • Order accurancy
  • Customer support
  • Business relations

These are the things buyers themselves use for analysing their Consequences of No Agreement (CNA).  As you can see, not only is price not the primary concern but it's number eight on the list! negotiating with professional buyers

The story is pretty much the same for wish list (Trade) items.  Most professional supply managers act on behalf of an internal customer and/or user group, and it's these individuals who help the supply manager determine the Trade items that will be negotiated in the deal.  For example, someone sourcing technology for a production facility is likely to receive input from the vice president of manufacturing, technicians on the manufacturing floor, and the vice president of technology, as well as from people in other affected departments, such as accounting.  And those individuals are likely to want the buyer to concern himself or herself with price, length of contract, volume of purchase, which add-ons or value additions to purchase, warranty issues, and support issues.

The point here is that professional buyers know even better what they want than do nonprofessionals and are suject to even more pressure because they're acting on behalf of others.  Given that, it only makes sense that in negotiating a deal you do all you can to help a supply manager achieve as many of his or her internal customer objectives as possible, while at the same time trading for items of importance to you.

For more, request our article, Successful Price Negotiation with Professional Supply Managers



Tags: negotiation tips

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