Whenever you buy anything for a business, the first quote put on the table is likely not the best that the vendor could offer. Not everyone is comfortable trying to hammer out a deal with a vendor. But negotiating with suppliers need not be a stressful, combative exchange. Indeed, most salespeople expect a certain degree of negotiation in sales meetings.

The trick to getting the best deals from vendors is going into a negotiation well-prepared and well-informed. Here are ten tips to help you negotiate the best possible deal with vendors.

Do Your Research

You will find it easier to negotiate with vendors when armed with all the facts. Consequently, a little bit of homework before the meeting can go a long way. For example, do you have any contacts in your network that deal with the supplier? If so, ask what prices and terms they have been given. It will also help to understand how much profit a vendor is likely to make on a sale. A Google search may reveal the average profit margin of businesses in a particular sector. Knowing what the vendor’s competitors charge will also give you an advantage.

Set Your Targets

Armed with the facts, you should now be able to set your goals. But remember, price is not the only thing that might be open to negotiation. You may also be able to get a better deal on payment terms. In some purchases, negotiating on the quality of the product supplied or services included in the price may be negotiable. The crucial thing is to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.

Decide on Negotiables and Red Lines

Negotiating inevitably involves a lot of give-and-take. For example, you might not get the price you wanted but gain better delivery or payment terms instead. So know beforehand those things that are negotiable and those things that are not.  For example, there will likely be a maximum price you are prepared to pay. It is best to identify those red lines before the meeting and stick to them.

Have Alternatives

It is best never to appear desperate to buy a product, even if you have decided that the vendor’s product is the best solution. Therefore, it is best to always line up several alternatives before negotiating with a supplier and know what deals you can get from those vendors. Don’t be afraid to let the salesperson know that you have options.

Build a Rapport

The best deals are those where both parties come away happy. Try to work with sales representatives to reach a mutually agreeable compromise rather than treating them as enemies. You need to remember that you are negotiating, but it will help if you are nice. Try not to be cold, aloof, and suspicious of salespeople. Instead, be warm, approachable, and try to connect with the individual, but don’t let your guard down.

Work on Your Poker Face

Try to avoid showing any emotions when negotiating. For example, if the price is better than expected, don’t break out in a grin because you may yet be able to get an even better deal. The longer you can keep the salesperson guessing, the more likely they will be to offer more to close the deal.

Sell to the Seller

Remember that you have things you can offer to a seller as well. The prospect of a growing company will be attractive to a vendor. If you have an excellent credit rating, that can work in your favor, too. Offering to be a reference site will help you get a good deal in some sectors, especially if your brand is well-known.

Take Your Time

If the salesperson knows that you must make a quick decision, they will have the upper hand. So, try not to be in too much of a rush to reach an agreement with a vendor. You will need to strike the right balance with this tactic, though. If the supplier thinks you are wasting their time, they may walk away from the deal. But, if you get the timing right, the salesperson will become even more determined to close the deal.

Know When You Have a Good Deal

You must be prepared to walk away from a deal. Without that last option, you will be negotiating from a position of weakness. It is equally crucial that you recognize when you have got the best deal available. If you try to push beyond that, you may lose out because there will be a point when the vendor walks away if you make unreasonable demands.

Go For One Last Concession

You need to know when to accept what is on the table. Still, there is one final opportunity to gain a minor concession, and that is right before you sign on the dotted line. When you reach that point, the supplier will be reluctant to lose the deal, so they will probably give in to one final demand if it is not too costly.


Most businesses will have left some room for negotiation in their quoted prices. It is always worth trying to get a better price and more favourable terms. If you do your homework, set your targets, and work with the vendor, you can often arrive at a price and terms both parties can be happy with.