Negotiating a purchase - checklist

Businessmen in a brown suit offers handshake at his desk

Many people lack confidence when it comes to negotiating purchases - but you could be allowing suppliers to walk all over you. Read our tips on how to negotiate a deal that gets you the products or services you want or need at a price you are happy to pay

  • Decide how much you want the deal; identify how much it is worth to you and what alternatives you have.
  • Find out as much as possible about the supplier's position: how much they need your order and what their priorities are.
  • Work out what you could offer, if necessary, that the supplier would value - a larger order or prompt payment, for example.
  • Set your objectives; decide what your targets are for price and other terms such as delivery timings, what your priorities are and what compromises would be acceptable to you.
  • If possible, choose the right time for the negotiation: when you will be under no pressure to reach a deal but the supplier will.
  • Do your research up front. What other products and suppliers are in the market and how do they stack up in comparison?
  • Before the negotiation begins, prepare yourself to be firm but fair, aiming for a deal that will suit you but also keep the supplier happy.
  • Restate the specification of what you require and agree with the supplier the key points to be negotiated.
  • From the outset try to get the supplier to state a starting price which you can negotiate downwards.
  • Do not reveal your negotiating position; focus on asking questions and sounding positive without giving information away.
  • Undermine the supplier's price: focus on weaknesses in what the supplier is offering and ask for trade or bulk discounts.
  • Ask for other concessions, such as better payment terms; make sure that any concession you are offered is of genuine value to you.
  • Confirm every concession the supplier makes.
  • Only make concessions yourself in exchange for something you value.
  • Be alert to any tactics the supplier uses, such as trying to create a sense of urgency; be prepared to postpone a decision if you need time to think.
  • Follow up with a written agreement which includes recourse if you are not happy with the supplies.

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