Contract negotiation often requires considerable knowledge, skills and experience like most negotiations. In order to garner a more favorable contract, it is crucial to employ a trained negotiator (Tanford, 2001). Trained negotiators have solid knowledge and skills that are relevant in the negotiation process. In all cases, it is imperative for every contract negotiator to understand the crucial aspects that are significant in the negotiation process. Relevant knowledge and negotiation skills are critical to the success of a contract negotiator.
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Contract negotiation often involves the process of vendor selection. A successful negotiator should always avoid spending every last cent to the vendor for the lowest price (Garret, 2005). Instead, the negotiator should strive to partner with the vendor so that they both achieve their corporate goals and objectives. Successful contract negotiation requires both sides to look for aspects that benefit both parties while achieving a fair and equitable deal. A signed contract that is beneficial to both parties provides a firm foundation to establish a lasting relationship with the vendor.
Before signing an agreement, the negotiator should develop objectives that can be applied to evaluate different aspects of the contract. The negotiator should also identify and deal with potential risks and liabilities. This would serve to define and create reasonable expectations from the contract currently and in the future. The negotiator should always rank priorities along with alternatives. Some items may be included to the list in the process of contract negotiation (Garret, 2005). This provides an opportunity to identify what is the most important component to be discussed and agreed before addressing the less important items. In addition, it provides the capacity to refer to the least important aspects if you have to relinquish something in the process of negotiation.
Effective contract negotiators often formulate plans and strategies to stand a competitive edge in the negotiation process (Tanford, 2001). The planning process should be aimed at reviewing priorities frequently in the process of the contract negotiation and even before finalizing the contract. The negotiator should consider the relevance of the contract to the firm. This would help the negotiator establish if the priority is real and not a result of some internal political jockeying. After completion of the planning process, it is thoughtful to repeat the same process as if you were the vendor. In the process, the negotiator should consider the aspects that are bound to be beneficial to the vendor. This places the negotiator in a mind frame to look at the negotiations from the vendor’s perspective.
It is indispensable for every negotiator to always formulate a strategy in order to achieve a favorable contract. The contract strategy should always be defined before the process of contract negotiation. The procedure should be geared towards establishing a partnership with the supplier or vendor. This depicts the negotiation process as a both win. It is critical that the strategy be documented. The strategy should stipulate the methodology of conducting negotiations and the structure of the team responsible for negotiations. The strategy should also consider what happens in the event of stalling in the negotiations. The formulation of a flow chart of contract negotiation process and a list of the possible outcomes can serve as a useful strategy to achieve the desired outcome.
In conclusion, it should be noted that not everyone is suited to conduct or execute successful negotiations. It is convenient for the negotiator to develop an art that would build confidence with the vendor. The negotiator should be clear and understanding in the negotiations. It should be observed that one often gets what he negotiates. In contract negotiation, it is better to be extremely clear than not clear enough to be understood.
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