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3 Tips for Negotiating a Fair Business Deal with a Supplier

by Eric

Often, navigating a business deal requires care in order to maintain business relationships. Imagine paying double for remanufactured pumps because you offended your supplier or having to work with inferior projectors in meetings because you tricked your supplier on a previous deal. Business dealings don’t have to mean fractured business relationships however and it’s possible to negotiate fair deals where all parties come out satisfied.

Here are 3 tips for negotiating a fair business deal with a supplier.

Listen Actively

One of the main things to do during negotiations of a business deal is to listen actively because it’s how you’ll get a deeper understanding of the other party’s position and work towards a mutually beneficial outcome.

Start by giving your full attention instead of getting distracted by things like your phone. Then, listen for underlying needs because people don’t always say what they mean. For example, if a supplier appears to be concerned about a long lead time, they may be more interested in finding a reliable delivery schedule. You want to ask clarifying questions to gauge true intent, show that you are actively listening, and avoid misunderstandings that could derail negotiations.

It’s a good idea to summarize and restate to ensure that you understand the other party’s perspective as it will give them a chance to correct you.

Focus on Mutual Benefit

A win-win situation can be defined as a situation where all parties in a negotiation leave the negotiation table with something of value.

Here are some tips for focusing on mutual benefits for a win-win situation:

  • Identify shared interests or areas where your interests overlap – such as shared values or concerns
  • Ask open-ended questions to gauge needs and interests
  • Look for opportunities to create value through trade-offs such as exchanging concessions in one area for benefits in another
  • Use objective criteria like market data or industry standards

Keep Emotions in Check

Negotiations can get emotionally charged but keeping a lid on negative emotions is essential if a fair deal is to be reached.

Here are some tips for managing emotions during a negotiation:

  • Understand your emotional state first. Are you anxious, angry, or frustrated?
  • Take a break whenever you feel your emotions getting the better of you. Step away, take deep breaths, and refocus your thoughts
  • Maintain a professional demeanor throughout, staying respectful instead of defensive
  • Keep the big picture in mind to help focus your emotions. Focusing on long-term goals can help you maintain perspective

Negotiating a business deal with your supplier doesn’t have to cost you the business relationship and it’s possible to avoid offending every supplier and having to find a new one every time. Try listening actively by avoiding distractions and paying attention to what isn’t said, focusing on the mutual benefit by using objective criteria and shared interests, and keeping emotions in check.

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