OK, so this series is about counter-intelligence. In this context, that means knowing exactly what tactics and strategies suppliers like to use, and being able to anticipate, recognize, and diffuse those attempts.
Mind you the goal is not for you to win so they can lose. The big name courses out there pushing this concept are still stuck in the 1950’s.
I cover how to achieve your biggest TCO objectives while still allowing the supplier to win in my award winning training solutions. For now, we are focusing on how suppliers try to shift negotiation advantage to them.
Last week, we talked about “Nibbling” as a supplier negotiation strategy. This week, we will talk about the “Puppy in the Window” supplier negotiation strategy.
Puppies are cute. There is no denying it. They just have a teddy-bear like quality and an innocent and clumsy behavior that makes them absolutely irresistible.
When you buy a puppy, the left hemisphere of your brain – the side that is responsible for logic and reasoning – is on vacation. It’s a complete ghost town on that side.
The right hemisphere of your brain – the side responsible for emotions – is meanwhile working in overdrive. It’s swimming in emotions and even releasing chemicals that are making you excited.
The last thing you are thinking about is the total cost of owning a puppy, which is sure to become a dog, which is sure to have vet bills, breed specific issues, behavior problems, and more.
If it’s a Dachshund, back problems await. If it’s a German Shepard, hip dysplasia is highly common. Bull Dog? Respiratory problems. And so on.
The goods and services you buy are no different, except it’s the *suppliers* that come with different problems.
And these problems almost always arise AFTER the supplier has received full payment. And that’s when the heartache begins.
And while the right hemisphere of your brain goes on vacation, because it was satisfied a long time ago, the left hemisphere of your brain now has to figure out how to solve this mess.
So what does “Puppy in the Window” have to do with all of this? Well, when you take that cute puppy in the window and put it in your arms, you’ve pretty much already bought it.
If you’ve taken it home for a 24 hour trial, that “trial” lasts a lifetime. Who can return a cute innocent puppy?
So how do suppliers use this concept to their advantage? Simple: they put the good or service in your hands for a trial, even a free one.
Suppliers know that it takes time and energy, on your part and your customer’s part, to use their product or service for the first time.
They know that you can’t resist just trying out their product or service for free, with no obligation to buy. What have you got to lose?
They also know that once you’ve taken that puppy home, you’re not bringing it back, and you’re not even going to look at other puppies. Other puppies don’t exist anymore.
Once you’ve taken the supplier’s puppy home, the search is over. This is no longer a trial. The supplier has just won your business.
Even if you keep a cool head, your customer probably won’t. They’ve already gotten attached to this puppy, and of course they needed this puppy yesterday, or your company’s doors will close – right?
From your customer’s perspective, time is short, and this puppy will have to do.
You are stuck. The “Puppy in the Window” strategy WORKS MIRACLES for suppliers.
So where does this happen in purchasing? Everywhere! Capital equipment, software, site services, technical support, staff augmentation, hardware, and so on.
So how do you handle this? It’s simple. You have to hold your customer accountable to do complete evaluations of the product and service offerings of ALL target suppliers BEFORE supplier selection.
In other words, you force the left hemisphere of the brain to make a rational, in depth, and data-based evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of ALL supplier offerings (not just one supplier’s offerings, in the form of a free trial), and then make a decision.
In puppy speak, this means you would have done enough research on breed specific behaviors, illness, hyperactivity levels, exercise requirements, vet requirements, etc. before ever putting yourself in the highly vulnerable position of holding one in your hands inside of a pet store.
Recognize when suppliers offer to do this and make sure if you are going to do an evaluation, the evaluation is happening with all target supplier offerings and not just one.
Use the left hemisphere of your brain and make a rational, logical, data-based decision.
If you don’t, be prepared to have that initial excitement and feeling of victory followed up by the polar opposite experience of coming down like a roller coaster when reality hits.
That’s a terrible place to be as a purchasing professional. Don’t let it happen. Recognize and diffuse supplier “Puppy in the Window” negotiation strategies before they ever start.
Next week, we will talk about the supplier “Neutral Location Negotiation Strategy”.
Be your best!