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Price Negotiations

How to Negotiate the Best Prices With Vendors

In these difficult economic times, we must carefully control business expenses and get as much for each dollar as possible.

Listed below are six steps that can help you get better prices from vendors.

  1. Make sure you are well-informed.

Conduct research to create a list of vendors who seem to be a good fit for your business in terms of price, quality, service, delivery, and other factors important to your business.

This may involve reviewing vendors' web sites and online or print catalogs, asking colleagues for referrals, and talking with several vendors.

  1. Approach the vendor that offers the best value for your needs.

Price is a major consideration, but it may not be the only factor to consider when choosing the best products and services. Performance and quality, customer support, delivery options, warranties, and return policies are also important factors.

  1. Be professional and personable.

Approaching a vendor with an entitled, demanding attitude will probably antagonize him, thus making him less likely to meet your terms.

  1. Be clear about what you want.

Enter negotiations with a good understanding of the product or service and your needs because this will help you feel more confident. It will also show the vendor that you are professional and well-informed, which will help him feel positive about the negotiations.

Start the process with the best price and then try to get a better one.

  1. Express your desire to establish an ongoing relationship.

Let the vendor know that you are interested in creating an ongoing relationship. This may (or may not) provide incentive to offer a lower price.

  1. Be prepared to end negotiations.

If you and the vendor are far apart on price and other terms, be prepared to walk away. Since you have created a list of preferred vendors, you do not have to behave in a desperate manner.

Another vendor – who just might be hungrier for business – might agree to a price and terms that will satisfy your needs.

Negotiating lower prices for good and services can lead to significant savings over the long-term. Therefore, it is worth it to build and strengthen negotiation skills.


Rosalie Maggio and Jack Griffin. The Big Book of How to Say It, New York: Prentice Hall, 2001 & 1998.

© 2014 Katherine Williams. All rights reserved.

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