The Sunbelt New Mexico Blog

Tips for Negotiating with Vendors

Vendor relations are important, and this is probably even more true in a year with supply chain disruptions and budget adjustments. As many businesses are looking for ways to save money, many vendors are hoping to hold on to clients. It might be a good time to talk about wiggle room. “Suppliers and service providers are often open to negotiating their ‘standard’ prices if you ask, and doing so can help your business get the best deal possible on goods and services,” write US Chamber of Commerce Contributor Nicole Fallon in CO.

Preparation

It helps to have a set of specific questions prepared before your conversation, according to CO. This will help both parties to communicate clearly and understand each other’s needs.  For example:

  • What is the length of our current agreement?
  • What is the minimum purchase quantity requirement?
  • What is your order processing time?
  • How many shipping methods do you have?
  • Are you a national distributor?
  • Who are some of your other clients and what are the terms of their current contracts?

Tips for a successful negotiation

The Chamber recommends these strategies for a successful negotiation.

Do your research beforehand

Research your vendor, their industry and how the current economy has been affecting their business. This way, you’ll have a better understanding of what their position is and how they might be able to alter your contracts.

“Ground yourself with market knowledge of what competing vendors charge and what businesses similar to yours pay for comparable services,” says Andy Diamond, president of Angry Crab Shack. “When you have this knowledge, the conversation shifts to a more productive discussion, rather than you asking questions, and you’ll likely have a better chance of locking in the terms you’re looking for.”

Be flexible with what a ‘win-win’ looks like

Most negotiations won’t result in both sides getting everything they want, exactly how they want it, so be prepared to compromise.

“‘Win-win’ deals are kind of a misnomer,” says Ayesha Holloman, founder of Outdoorish. “Both entities can make concessions in a win-win bargain so that each party gets some level of profit. Win-win negotiations take a long-term approach in a relationship-based environment, with an equilibrium of achievement and success for both ends over a period of time.”

Aim for honesty and transparency

You do yourself, your business and your vendor partners a disservice when you aren’t open and transparent during negotiations. Eric Kardon, director of operations at Angry Crab Shack, emphasized that both sides need to be fully honest in these discussions.

“Transparency works best in leveling with a vendor and letting them know where you stand and your needs,” Kardon says. “If you want to have a longstanding business relationship, then compromising is a must. Extending the contract longer than you initially wanted in order to get your terms is a common compromise. Just remember, in any negotiation if one side feels they did not get a good deal, then it’s less likely more deals will happen in the future.”

Be prepared to walk away and keep searching

You may not be able to get what you want out of negotiations, and that’s OK. You may have to walk away and find a different vendor to partner with.

“Not every opportunity is for you,” says David Vranicar, managing partner and founder of FBS Fortified & Ballistic Security. “Not securing a deal isn’t a failure, it might just not be the right time for it, or even unconsciously one party might realize it’s not a fit even though neither of you can quantify why. Keep yourself on their radar and watch for opportunities, or re-approach them when you’re able to better meet terms.”

Small Business Support and Jobs Training with University of New Mexico

The Innovation Group at University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management offers a program this Fall to “help New Mexico’s businesses respond to the management challenges of the new COVID-19 low-touch economy,” according to a recent UNM post.  Teams of students can be tagged in to assist with a variety of challenges, including:

  • Analyzing firms’ financial performance and plans
  • Commercializing technology products and services
  • Improving project management processes and plans
  • Managing technology-related operations
  • Writing or revising business plans

Participating students gain invaluable hands-on experience and contacts. Business that work with them can use the students’ knowledge and energy for fresh perspectives and work flow support.

UNM writes,

For over 20 years, the Innovation Group has hosted nearly 70 student teams each year to support local businesses to help them attract venture funding, develop effective management organizations, and hire high-performance teams, and, as a result, create new jobs and increase personal income for New Mexicans. Innovation Group teams have earned numerous awards including the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program’s “Case of the Year” honors, top awards in the national SBI Project of the Year competition, and international recognition from the MANCEF organization.

New Mexico rates in the Top 10 States for Workforce Development, according to Site Selector Business Facilities‘ 16th Annual State Rankings Report. 

Changing Careers and Forging Ahead

A popular article on LinkedIn this week addresses career change.  Personal growth sometimes requires new challenges. “There often comes a point in your career where it’s time to re-evaluate. Things change. You change,” writes  business podcaster Jessi Hempel.  “How do you screw up the courage to leave the safety and security of the subject you’ve mastered and start something new?” To examine this question, Hempel interviews Robin Arzon. Arzon left a secure career as a lawyer to affirm and cultivate a new version of herself: an athlete, who is now the head of fitness programming for Peleton.

Your path may take different turns, but Hempel is right–we change! Maybe you’re ready to be your own boss and embark on a career as an entrepreneur. We can help you find a business that resonates with your passions and values. Maybe you’ve been at the helm of a business for a long time and you’re ready for something new. We can help sell your business to the right buyer and set you up for your next adventure.

Here are some highlights from the interview, featuring some great insights and advice from Arzon.

On figuring out what you want to do: Intellectual folks often find that it’s simple to just dig in. But that doesn’t mean that [the work is] actually aligning with our values, with our goals, and with the happiness quotient.”

On beginning to think of herself as an athlete: ” I had to really recreate myself and start to write a different story once I realized that I was curious about what this running thing was.”

On leaving a predictable career path: “I bet on myself, and I still believe that I’m my greatest investment.”

On figuring out how to turn her fitness love into a career: “I wanted to somehow marry the business acumen that I had acquired as a lawyer with something that was forward-thinking and modern, marrying technology and entertainment. And I wanted to insert myself in that story, not telling other people’s stories, but telling my own.”

On how to tell if you’re on the right career path: “it’s just a quarterly, seasonal gut check: what am I doing? Where am I going? Have I been uncomfortable enough recently? And if the answer is no, I’m not on the right path.”

On moving forward: “In every area of our lives, we’re doing this delicate dance between tension and resistance that often creates momentum, and release from that tension so we can actually get things done.”

On building resiliency: “Willpower is a muscle. I believe that resiliency is like a muscle. The more that we visit those opportunities, the greater prepared we are for the next one.”

If any of this is sparking inspiration for you, contact us for experienced support as you take your next steps!