Attention Vendors! Buyer Negotiation Tactics: What Some Buyers Think is Acceptable

Does this sound familiar? After going through a thousand questions and multiple rounds of RFPs to online demos and onsite presentations -- when you think you've finally bagged the deal -- the buyer comes back at you with a new requirement. It'll either be a straightforward "sharpen the pencil" request, or something more.

For example, at a software firm I worked with in the past, we were just about to sign up a certain West Coast-based large technology and desktop software firm for our entire sourcing suite, having survived three or four rounds of escalated RFP rounds -- and then they came back with this novel "idea" around our commercial pricing terms:

"We don't pay for software -- you will benefit so much from being associated with us!"

Our expression when we heard that:

We did turn the situation around, but it involved practically walking away from the deal and finally negotiating for in kind development services and various other modified terms that made the whole thing highly nonstandard.

Do you have stories like this of your own? Please let us know and we'll interview you.

Like in my own example, no company names are required. This will be a collection of solution sales war stories -- both entertaining and educational. Share with us not only the initial request (perhaps as preposterous as the one I experienced) but also how it was turned into something more constructive and a deal was done.

- Thomas Kase

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First Voice

  1. Pete Loughlin:

    I’ve heard this before from a major UK retailer phrased like this: "Before we go further, you need to understand that **** doesn’t pay for stuff. The starting position is to look at how much you are prepared to pay to be associated with ****"

    But my favourite is, during a routine contract management meeting, this line: "Before we start, we’re just waiting for the photographer. It’s not every day a supplier gives us a £100,000 rebate and we want a write up in the company newsletter"
    Vendor: "Can you give us a moment?"
    After 15 minutes of anxious phone calls in private, vendor again: "The most we can give you is £50,000"
    How we all laughed.

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