“All a matter of negotiation”

Oehler’s World of Purchasing – The column

Negotiation discussion between hotelier and supplier, verbatim: “There must be something you can do with the figures from your offer.” “Of course: I could colour them in, or add another nought. Which would you prefer?” These days, can it be done better? Yes, the time is ripe! Right now is the perfect time to renegotiate supply contracts.


The most important and the strongest ranges in which the biggest purchasing tasks arise – fresh products, beverages, non-food – but also other areas that you might not think of initially –laundry, vehicles, telephone services, facility management, external payroll accounting – must now be placed on the test stand.


Key to any negotiation: preparation What is my negotiating position and what is the supplier’s? What do I want to achieve? Better purchasing conditions, better supply reliability, better quality, more interesting products?How does my “avenue of enquiry” look? Which questions do I ask and how do I ask them – open, suggestive, closed? And lastly: how do I fill my negotiating team? Which people take part and who has which role?


Especially on this point, it is not uncommon for hoteliers to tend towards overconfidence. They face two or three sellers alone, and they do this precisely when lucrative negotiations are concerned. Who is likely to win the negotiation? Good purchasing costs time – bad purchasing costs money. The basis of negotiating success is first-class preparation.


It is better to conduct 10 negotiations at 100% than 100 negotiations at 10%. Negotiations are important, even outside purchasing and “You” must approach them strategically. “Strategy is the victory of losses before negotiation over accidents in negotiation,” as my dear friend Frieder Gamm, one of the best professional negotiators in Europe, says.