Everything is Negotiable in Business

Negotiating Terms

Read the Fine Print  and Negotiate.

In business, there is never a shortage of things to negotiate. The key thing to remember is that  EVERYTING is negotiable. This includes:

  • Pricing;
  • Contract terms;
  • Liability clauses;
  • Start dates;
  • Delivery dates;
  • Termination clauses;
  • Etc.

When a vendor asks you to sign their agreement they are starting with the upper hand. The person who supplies the agreement has initial control of the negotiation after all,  the terms and conditions of the agreement have been written with their best interests in mind.

As a business executive, you need to carefully read through any such agreement with your best interests in mind. Frequently, there will be differences in expectations. It is your responsibility as the person planning to sign the agreement to ensure you are comfortable with and fully understand all of the terms and conditions. If not, you need to take steps to understand the agreement and then negotiate the terms and conditions.

Let me ask you a question: If you were going to buy a new car would you consider walking into a dealer, finding the car you liked, and offer to buy it for the MSRP or initial asking price? No way. Well this is exactly what you are doing if you just sign an agreement without  reading through it, understanding it, and pushing back where necessary.

Don’t be swayed by a  sales rep’s response of, “It’s standard industry practice.”  Sometimes standard industry practices are just plain crazy and if you don’t challenge them then by default, you are accepting them.

If you don’t take the time to read and negotiate you may find that:

  • You’ve locked yourself into a 5 year agreement that can’t be changed even if your business needs change;
  • You’ve agreed to unlimited price increases as the vendor sees fit;
  • You’ve agreed to never hire a staffing agency employee directly without paying a substantial fee;
  • You can’t sell certain products/services that compete with a nearby tenant.
  • Your profitability is affected.

The above are just a few select examples of potential ramifications.  There are countless more.

Now whether a vendor wants to negotiate with you or not is up to them but whether you want to accept the deal or not is up to you.  As the saying goes, it takes two to tango.  When it comes to negotiation though, the question is, “Do you want to lead?”

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Graham Acreman
President, Stellacon Solutions
graham.acreman@stellacon.com

We Don’t Like You or Your Kids & We Don’t Want Your Business

“Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs” – Five Man Electrical Band

I spent the past weekend with friends and family visiting the beautiful village of Lake Placid, NY.   At one point, a friend and I were checking out some of the local stores along the main drag.  One of these was a sporting goods store that featured running shoes and related gear.

Go away

Before entering, the first thing that caught my attention was a sign on the door advising “No Drinks”. Ok, it’s not that unusual and having just purchased coffee, we found a spot to set our drinks down before proceeding inside.  Upon entering, the next thing that caught my eye was a sign indicating, “We do not allow people to take pictures of our merchandise.”  I thought this one was a bit unusual.   I briefly pondered what potential issue there could be in taking pictures of shoes but nothing came to mind.

Before I go on, it’s important to know that his was not a big store; I’d guess 800 – 1,000 square feet. There were two employees inside and my friend and I were the only customers.

Don't do anything

A few steps into the store and another sign caught my attention, “Don’t open the packages of socks”.  I had already categorized this establishment as somewhat customer unfriendly and wasn’t interested in spending a dollar there however, my friend continued to browse so I continued to look around.

Behind the cash was a sign indicating, “No Refunds.”  The final kicker for me was the sign posted beside a display of sunglasses; “If your kids scratch the lenses, you have to buy the sunglasses.”  Wow!

Browsing completed, we walked towards the door that had a small sticker affixed encouraging people to, “Shop Local.”  Maybe we do – but not with you!

Though I would take bets that your signage isn’t anywhere near as bad, I’d encourage you to take a fresh look at it to ensure that it’s sending the right message.  Is it cold and authoritarian or is it warm, welcoming and helpful?  The signage you have posted in your business or work area is a reflection of your attitude towards your customers.

Postscript:  We continued walking a few more blocks and visited another sporting goods store.  This one only had one sign that stood out – a huge one posted on the wall behind the cash registers proclaiming, “Enjoy Life!

Need help with your business? Want to increase performance & your bottom line?  Contact us today:
Email: info@stellaconsolutions.com
Web: www.stellaconsolutions.com
Tel: (613) 263-1010

Why Would I Hire a Consultant

Businesses hire consultants for 4 main reasons:

1) They require subject matter expertise that they don’t have in-house.

2) They require additional bandwidth to facilitate an initiative.

Business executives talking

 

3) The business owners and/or management are seeking independent, strategic validation of a course of action they plan to take. In this case it’s about getting a second informed opinion.

4) The owners and/or management are seeking a 3rd party scapegoat for an unpopular course of action they are planning to take (“The consultants recommended this course of action”) or don’t want to take (“The consultants advised against it.”).

Ultimately, consultants are hired on the basis that they are going to provide tangible value from either a financial, operational or political nature.

Need help with your business? Want to increase performance & your bottom line?  Contact us today:
Email: info@stellaconsolutions.com
Web: www.stellaconsolutions.com
Tel: (613) 263-1010