Back to School: 5 Ways to Up Your Negotiation Game

Negotiations are never easy. They can be tedious, time-consuming, contentious, and risky. Fortunately, Scout supports expert negotiators from all industries who’ve shared their best advice with us. 

Read on to find out how sourcing leaders at Salesforce, LendingTree, Zendesk, and more handle their toughest conversations and how Scout can help strengthen your relationships with both your stakeholders and suppliers. 

Here are 5 best practices you can put to use immediately in your next negotiation:

Check your EQ (Emotional Intelligence)

Procurement professionals are no longer just about savings, they’re in the business of human connections. Understanding and empathizing with others is the basis of effective negotiations and it’s important to keep your interpersonal skills sharp while navigating complex conversations. 

  1. Be a better listener

Rendi Miller, VP of Procurement at Zendesk, stresses the importance of diving deep into the needs of stakeholders and suppliers to create mutually beneficial solutions and lasting partnerships. Rendi recommends that procurement professionals spend time with the categories they support to understand their day-to-day trials and triumphs and to bring these findings to the negotiation table.

2. Collaborate with your team more effectively

Michael Leiken, Head of Procurement at Lending Tree, encourages negotiating in teams to allow for new perspectives and to test internal assumptions. Having negotiation partners also helps to balance out your negotiation strategy; where one teammate excels, another may struggle, and vice versa. 

Rise Above Tactics to Become a Trusted Advisor

As the world of business becomes increasingly complex, procurement has evolved from the department that merely keeps the lights on to a strategic arm of the business. Natasha Gurevich, VP of Global Procurement at Salesforce, asserts that procurement departments must establish and maintain trust with their stakeholders in order to become the negotiation advisor that their businesses need.

  1. Put your stakeholders first, always

Natasha Gurevich at Salesforce advises procurement professionals to let go of their own agendas and focus instead on meeting the needs of their partners first. While procurement revolves around spend, savings should not always be the first priority. It is important to weigh the impact of a successful execution against its potential costs.

2. Partner with stakeholders regularly 

It’s easy to shake hands and walk away after the contracts are signed, but Rendi Miller at Zendesk knows that working with your stakeholders on an ongoing basis will lead to better relationships, and better negotiations, down the road. She encourages procurement departments to manage suppliers alongside their stakeholders and evaluate supplier performance together in order to build trust and establish a  lasting line of communication.

3. Build mutual trust with your stakeholders 

Trust others as you wish to be trusted. Ok, maybe that’s not exactly how the Golden Rule goes, but the idea still stands. Natasha Gurevich of Salesforce knows that the best way to establish trust with your partners is to lean on them for their own expertise. Building mutual trust will lead to better relationships and thus, better negotiations.

Like all skills, the art of negotiation requires constant practice–and we’re here to help. With Scout’s intuitive platform, you can track projects, communicate with stakeholders, and manage suppliers effortlessly, giving you more time to flex those negotiation muscles and be the best strategic partner you can be. Try putting some of these pro-tips to the test in your next conversations! Experiment and find the formula that works best for you. 

Want to hear more tips and tricks from procurement experts?

Sign up for our upcoming webinar with the Gemological Institute of America on October 3rd. We’ll see you there!


Danyelle Guernsey | Tags: , , , ,

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