A number of years ago I read Dr. Chester Karrass books* on Negotiation and many of the things he referred to as tactics are simply tools to help sell the Supplier that they need to agree with your position, or change their position so you can come to agreement. Some of those were:
- Setting expectations of what you need and why you need it as early as possible in the relationship. This helps the Supplier sales person set expectations with their management.
- In all discussions you need to both act and communicate in a manner that shows them the strength of your convictions in getting what you want.
- Express what you need in clear and convincing terms,
- Provide them good reasons to agree.
- Provide a logical thought process showing your demands make sense.
- Provide arguments to show it’s reasonable.
- Use pictures, examples, studies and anything else to highlight either the problem or why what you propose is fair or reasonable for both parties
- Provide them with information from experts to show the legitimacy of your position or requirement.
- Show them where others have agreed (especially competitors)
- Show them the problem they are creating that needs to be solved.
- Show them the impact their position will have on their competitiveness
- Show them the total cost or life cycle cost impact of their position.
- Let them know how this may impact your willingness to rely on them, agree to using them as a sole source, or source from them in the future.
- Use your team and your management to help sell by explaining what they need and why they need it to add additional conviction. Getting the message from someone other than the negotiator can provide a stronger argument. By escalating the discussion one level higher you can also ask that meeting include someone on the Supplier’s side that is above those on the negotiating team.
* The Dr Karrass Books I refer to are: "The Negotiating Game" and "Give and Take". Both are available in paperback and I would recommend reading them to better understand tactics