While negotiations can last for months, it’s often the last negotiation session that produces the most significant results. If you don’t have an end-of-negotiation strategy, you’re likely not maximizing your success.
So, what should you do at the end of a negotiation? Here are three things, at a minimum, that you should do:
- Enter the last negotiation session with the authority to commit. While most procurement professionals need to build consensus among internal customers and get approval from senior management to finalize decisions, those things should be done prior to the last negotiation session, not afterward. If you lack the authority to commit to a deal in that last negotiation session, you lack full control over the negotiation and run the risk of the supplier going around you and negotiating directly with those who do have decision-making authority.
- Have at least one week of slack time between the last scheduled negotiation and the actual day you must commit. Salespeople feel that the longer a sales process drags on, the lower the likelihood of a deal. Creating uncertainty by stating a need to “think it over for a week” – even if you don’t really have to – can make your supplier nervous and more susceptible to agreeing to more favorable terms. If the supplier tries to dissuade you from “thinking it over,” ask “Would there be any benefit to my organization for deciding now as opposed to next week?” You may just unlock a valuable concession.
- Share this negotiation strategy with management and internal customers at the beginning of the negotiation process. You’ll be pushed to get the deal done immediately, but if they know early on the importance and value of leveraging this last negotiation session, they will be prepared to let you have the time and space necessary to succeed.