Successfully negotiating a contract with a supplier can mean the difference between a long, positive and mutually beneficial relationship, and one plagued with mistrust, unforeseen costs and a failure to realise expected benefits.
Whether engaging with a new supplier or looking to change the terms by which you do business with an existing one, having a skilled negotiating team that can ensure you achieve your long-term goals is essential.
All contract negotiations are different. How they progress depends on many variables, including the type and importance of the service being purchased, the value and term of the contract, and the ability and will of the parties to negotiate.
Getting the negotiations right
It is essential to start the discussions on a positive note, and at Retonomy we always agree on some key working practices with both our client and the other party:
- The timeframe and plan for the discussions, likely pinch points and the deadline for agreement
- How to update any contractual documents (we prefer using the MS Word ‘mark up’ function, as this is simple and most people are familiar with it), and the process for sharing these
- How to unblock any issues
- The rules by which the negotiations will run
Some negotiators employ ‘tricks’ to try to get the upper hand. In a recent negotiation we took part in, the other party tried to get the upper hand by making the physical negotiating conditions uncomfortable, bringing more people to meetings than us, and bullying tactics. These are not ethical and will jeopardise the long-term collaboration and partnership between the parties. We have also found that they do not work, and they didn’t work in this case.
As your negotiators, we will start by identifying your key objectives for the contract and relationship and advise you how these can be achieved. If we believe that targets need to be varied, we will be honest about what is achievable. All goals can be met, but some require a bit more ‘give’ than initially anticipated.
Why use specialist negotiators?
Some clients question the value of bringing in specialist negotiators to act for them. Often it is left to senior management or the operational team to handle any negotiations, but employing negotiators can:
- Remove the pressure on your operations team
- Ensure the contracts are equitable and meet your objectives
- Protect the relationship between your company and your supplier (especially when the discussions get tough!)
- Ensure you get value for money
To find out more about how Retonomy can help you achieve your negotiation goals, please contact us.