Almost every business relies on suppliers for the day-to-day running of their company. Whether it’s simple office stationery supplies or highly specific engineering parts, it’s a huge industry. In fact, it’s often one of the biggest expenses in business. Supplies from a huge part of your overhead costs, and it’s up to you to keep the price down. That means putting your haggling hat on, and negotiating the price! This isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone, but it’s a good skill to learn. Here are the basics of negotiating with suppliers.
Build a relationship
First of all, it always pays to strike up a relationship or connection with your suppliers. Treat them like real people, not just a machine that provides goods. If you work with a regular supplier, try visiting their office. Take them out for coffee, and get to know their side of the business. Build a connection based on mutual interests. Now, when you pick up the phone, you’ve got a foundation of mutual respect. You’re much more likely to barter down the cost when you need to.
Know the language
Supplies are often very technical and specific. It always helps your supplier if you know exactly what you’re talking about. It makes the transaction quick and seamless. It also builds up mutual respect, which makes it easier to ask for a discount. Make sure you know your hydraulic swivel seal from your rotary swivel! Make life easy for your suppliers, and they’re more likely to make life easier for you.
What can you do for them?
Always remember that they’re running a business too. They’re trying to get the best possible deal out of you, just as you are with them. If you want a discounted price, that means finding something to sweeten the deal. What can you do for them to make sure you get that lower price? Maybe you can promise them the next big contract on a forthcoming project. Can you buy in bulk or make an upfront payment? Put yourself in their shoes, and ask yourself how you can help them.
Get multiple quotes
Suppliers are in a constant price battle with others. After all, they want your custom! Before you seal the deal, get quotes from at least three different suppliers. You can then use these quotes to negotiate the cheapest deal. Most suppliers will happily meet the lowest quote. And, if they can’t, there will be a good reason for it. Perhaps their supplies are better quality, for example. It’s up to you to weigh up the costs and benefits here.
Have the deposit ready, and pay on time
Lastly, it’s all about proving your reliability as a customer. Build trust and a reputation for good payment by always paying on time. Have your deposit ready to transfer as soon as the deal is agreed. It makes your business appear more professional. By growing this reputation, you’re much more likely to get a discount when money is tight.
Negotiating is never easy, and there are many different approaches. Whether you play hard ball or go for the friendly connection is up to you!