Nurturing negotiations — Developing supplier relationships
One of the best ways to make negotiations easier and more positive is to develop a relationship of goodwill with your suppliers. Take the time to build the connection, and soon you will accomplish so much more without even realizing it. When a healthy connection has been forged, suppliers may be more amenable to looking after your specific needs.
Nurturing your rapport with suppliers can affect all the objectives of your negotiations in a positive way. You may receive a better price or a higher quality product, or perhaps payment terms could be tailored to your needs. When the relationship allows suppliers to become more familiar with your requirements, you may get faster service or improved after-sales care.
Cultivate the art of negotiation by using and improving your people skills. Remember that a person is at the other end of the transaction, not simply a good or a service, so get to know your contacts. People are more willing to give something to someone they know and like rather than to a stranger. Treat suppliers the way you want your customers to treat you, and your relationships will become fruitful collaborations.
Build trust by:
- Knowing as much as you can about suppliers - do your research
- Listening - an important skill in any relationship
- Being fair and respectful - don't always offer the lowest price
- Paying on time - reliability goes a long way
- Looking out for your suppliers - they will return the favour
Remember that when negotiating, both sides have an opportunity to win and leave with a sense of satisfaction.
Service Canada (link no longer valid) offers a short reading list of books about negotiating, and Business Development Canada has more tips on the Best practices for buying goods and services.
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