The Emarticon research shows that particularly successful negotiators are above all good observers and listeners. If there is a "negotiation trick" it is: "First understand, then find the right way". Our consulting practice in procurement consulting & supply chain consulting confirms this.

The Emarticon Guide to Success in Procurement Negotiation

Contracts are the linchpin of external business relationships. Successful negotiations are the basis of these contracts. However, many companies and purchasing managers underestimate the complexity of large negotiations and the value and scope of good preparation. In practice, therefore, it is important to simplify this complexity.

Therefore, we have developed a scheme that can do just that:

  • Step 1: Simplify complexity and make it tangible – the WHAT

  • Step 2: A thorough preparation – the HOW

  • Step 3: The negotiation itself - implementing the strategy by building trust & steering the process moving forward

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Simplify the complexity of negotiations

The first step shows what procurement negotiations and in general price negotiations with suppliers or partners are specifically about. The following questions help to create the basis:

It should be noted here that these goals are on very different levels: factual goals (what price is to be paid?), process goals (by when can a deal be reached?) and relationship goals (what relationship do I want to have with the other person after the negotiation? ).

A common mistake is not being aware of all goals.

How important are the goals for the counterparty? So what to expect? Can we expect a constructive and rational negotiation, a more manipulative, moral one, or a confrontational, power-driven one? Of course, mixed forms always exist. Put yourself in the other person's situation as best you can.

In this way, you will understand in the respective situation what role arguments and, above all, what role feelings will play in the other person.

In many cases, this point is passed over too quickly - according to the motto "it's clear". However, it is worth taking the point of alternative courses of action very seriously.

Just as often, the alternative DO-NOTHING is overlooked, precisely the case in which there is no conclusion. It must be clear in advance when a negotiation is to be broken off and the BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement) must come into play.

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Careful preparation of negotiation tactics

When preparing, the basic rule applies: Diligence pays off. There is often a lack of clarity about the weighting of goals, especially in the case of conflicting goals. And often too little attention is paid to identifying or developing alternative courses of action during the negotiation process. The following questions will help ensure that nothing important is overlooked during the preparation:

In which network of relationships (including personal worries and wishes) are the respective persons?

"Lever" is an explicitly fuzzy word. You can use anything that is conceivable and at the same time not morally impossible. This includes, first and foremost, the awakening of desires and the use of feelings. Depending on the type of negotiation, this also includes relationships, arguments, feints (e.g. distraction) or demands. Don't set any limits to your imagination. Just be fair! Brainstorming in the group helps to work out the best levers and a corresponding "script".

At this point it is important to be clear about all claims and to prioritize them. “False claims” are also important here: These are your own claims, the omission of which the other party can book as a gain, but whose loss does not hurt you or even doesn’t matter. An example could be claims for parts of a contract that you do not intend to use or only to a very small extent. Finally, don't forget to anticipate the other party's claims and prepare your response.

This includes not only the process and interim results. Be clear about how you can use the time factor cleverly. Define all roles and their authorizations. And: Never leave the actual decision-maker sitting at the negotiating table!

Mental preparation is particularly important when power appears to be unevenly distributed at first glance. Realize that power is rarely objectively measurable. Power is closely linked to fear, and therein lies the whole secret: If you understand the fears of the other party, you can very quickly completely upset supposed power relations.

The implementation in the negotiation itself: building trust & steering the process

Building Trust: Building trust is key. Without trust, there cannot and will not be any good long-term negotiation results. This includes many individual techniques such as being interested in the other person or speaking his/her type of language. Some people do this intuitively. But you can also learn that.

For example, the feeling of an unfair negotiation result leads to questioning the result. However, whether something is unfair or not cannot be measured. Fairness is a feeling that is closely linked to trust.

Steering: Steering a negotiation means, above all, asking questions and exerting influence through active listening (e.g. by summarizing what has been said). This approach not only guides the conversation partner, but also allows you to focus the negotiation on what you have in common. Get the other person on board by asking "How can we solve this together?". This creates new spaces and new alternatives for action that make previous positions appear unimportant. In particular, tough negotiations, which are often determined by strong feelings, can be broken up and transformed by concentrating on commonalities.

Implement the negotiation strategy in procurement with Emarticon

We regard any price negotiation as a project that is define by only a few dimensions which are, however, sometimes complex if look at in depth. Such a dimension is, for example, an exact and agreed up definition of goals. Another is a definition of alternative courses of action that is as comprehensive as possible. Understanding these dimensions will enable you to be successful.

With our professional negotiator's tools and our experience, we help you to achieve your negotiation goal as precisely and efficiently as possible and within the required time frame.

Use the services of Emarticon for your company's success

Use the services of Emarticon for your company's success

Use the services of Emarticon for your company's success

This is how we support you your negotiation strategy:

  • Analyzing the maturity of negotiation methodology and negotiation management
  • Working out levers for improvement
  • Supporting the preparation, implementation or conclusion of negotiations as a consultant, sparring partner or coach
  • Introducing adequate, professional negotiation methods
  • Coordination of all parties involved in the negotiation project

  • Taking over the negotiation strategy and leadership as an interim manager / negotiator

Negotiation strategy: a successful example with Clemens Rinnebach

The major bank, pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank AG, was striving for a significant digitization in procurement. Clemens Rinnebach and his network of experts took the lead of the negotiations with large IT service providers in the sub-areas of mainframes, servers, network administration and end customer data processing. A key feature of the negotiated contract was the measurement of performance based on the value generated for the company.

Cost reduction in the project

EUR 10 million

Our outstanding achievement: a cost reduction of around 10 million euros.