Negotiation Regrets: Avoid Them!

PurchTips edition #412

Are You Always Happy with Your Negotiation Outcomes?

Negotiation is like a sporting event:  It is a process focused on reaching a victorious feeling at its conclusion.  But, negotiation is also like a sporting event in that once it’s over, it’s over, leaving a lot of room for analysis and second-guessing.

When a sports team reflects on a game – or when procurement professionals reflect on a negotiation – sometimes there are regrets.  There are things that could obviously have been done better.  This edition of PurchTips features several common negotiation regrets.  Now, that you’re aware of them, strive to avoid them in your future negotiations!

  • Settled too soon. Procurement just keeps getting busier and busier.  So, that leaves you trying to complete all of your many tasks as efficiently as possible.  But, sometimes, it’s more important to be effective than efficient.  That’s especially true with negotiation.  You don’t want to rush to the conclusion.  When you do, you often realize that you could have negotiated for more value if you had only allowed yourself more time to make your case to your supplier counterpart.
  • Focused on too few details. In procurement, you’re responsible for a number of things, but measured on only a fraction of them.  As such, you can get over-occupied thinking about things like price when you should also be paying equal attention to things like delivery guarantees, warranty coverage and legal protections.  Be sure to plan your negotiation so that you can negotiate all of the key terms, not just the obvious ones.
  • Harmed the relationship. Passion is a tool you can use in negotiation.  Sometimes, that passion comes out more abrasively than you intend.  As a result, you can harm the relationship that you are trying to build with the very entity that can help your organization succeed – your supplier.  So, it is key to balance the need for using harder-edged negotiation tactics with the need to get relations with your supplier off to a positive start.
  • Took too long. Speaking of balance, let’s revisit our first regret:  “settled too soon.”  Yes, rushing a negotiation can result in a failure to realize all of the deal’s potential value.  But, taking too long can also be disastrous.  Know your internal timelines.  And ensure that the extra bargaining time you need won’t cause costly delays for your organization.

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