Is your brand your most powerful negotiating tool? (Part 1) by Roz Usheroff

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Everywhere I turn these days it seems that there is always something being negotiated.

Whether it is associated with efforts to end the closing of the government or, seeking an increase in pay and benefits, one thing is clear; a lot of people are doing a lot of talking around the proverbial negotiation table in an effort to forward their particular interests or causes.

Of course when we think of “negotiating” or having to negotiate, we tend to view the process in a negative, mostly adversarial light.  A situational discomfort in which one party attempts to get the better of the other.  In the context of a recent article I read, this perception is understandable and likely warranted, at least  to a certain degree.

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Not everyone negotiates . . .

In the article, IACCM’s Tim Cummins made reference to a 2010 Commitment Matters blog post regarding “the ‘conspiracy’ that leads executives on both sides of the table to ‘lie’ to their trading partners and to create a combined version of ‘the truth’ that leads to mutual delusion over what they can achieve, by when and for how much.”

Reading these words I now understand why it seems that anyone and everyone is offering everything from books to seminars on how to become a “better” negotiator.

This started me thinking . . . what role does your personal brand play in terms of the negotiation process?  Does your track record or reputation have an impact on how you negotiate and the likely outcome?

In Part 2 of today’s post I will examine this question more closely.

In the meantime, what do you think?  Can, or alternatively has, your brand played a role in a negotiation in which you were directly involved?

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4 responses to “Is your brand your most powerful negotiating tool? (Part 1) by Roz Usheroff”

  1. Tim Cummins says :

    Roz,
    Without question, brand and brand image make a big difference. For the ‘trusted’ brand, the pressure to negotiate will be less – they are known for honoring their commitment and indeed their future image depends on meeting their commitment. This, in turn, will reduce the likelihood of misrepresenting capability – there is too much to lose. So they tend to limit negotiation authority.

    Buyers often use their brand to impose onerous terms on the supplier. “you should feel fortunate to be getting our business”. Hence many suppliers will be more negotiable if they can promote the fact that they have a major brand name as a customer.

    Business to business negotiation is in part focused on ‘what are we trying to achieve together and how will we do it?’ And in part it is about ‘how do I incent your performance and what pain will you suffer if you don’t keep your word?’ As you can imagine, the latter part often dominates the conversation because no one actually wants to accept much pain – and the bigger the brand, the more focused they tend to become on this aspect.

    • Roz Usheroff says :

      Thank you for your thoughtful response Tim.

      In Part 2 of this series I made reference to your comment. While I understand that negotiations and the level of truth that is brought to the table can vary depending on any number of factors, in the end I cannot help but wonder why anyone would compromise their personal brand/reputation by being less then forthright in their dealings with others.

      That being said there is I believe a much larger question that needs to addressed relative to procurement professionals. Do procurement pros effectively brand themselves and the value they bring to their organizations?

      What do you think?

  2. piblogger says :

    Reblogged this on Procurement Insights and commented:

    An interesting post by Roz Usheroff . . . make note of the comment from IACCM’s Tim Cummins, including his assertion that “Buyers often use their brand to impose onerous terms on the supplier.”
    What do you think?

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