In my book The Training Physical, I stress the importance of building a good relationship with any vendor that supplies a product or service to your training function. When you have a solid relationship you can ask and receive things not normally afforded to all clients. Training Managers should also be aware of the potential risks of ignoring the signals that their vendors are sending. As buyers in the transaction, it is vital that the Training Manager is focused and not afraid to ask questions.
One of those signals is when you are being rushed into a decision. This is partly because many clients do take forever to make a decision and the sales representative is getting impatient. Yet if you have been moving along at a good pace and not stalling, it could be that there is an undisclosed urgency to close a sale. Maybe the company is trying to close out the month with better numbers. Maybe the sales representative is being compensated to sell quicker. Maybe the company is desperate for money. In any case, you as the buyer hold all the cards, and you need to play the game and get the vendor to reveal their cards first.
Watch the types of discounts being offered when you first begin your pricing conversation. Are you in control, or is the vendor? As I have stated before, never go shopping until you know what you need to buy. When you are solid with your needs, then the vendor can create a winning proposal for you. If these discounts are coming too soon in the conversation, there is a motivation at work that has nothing to do with your needs as a buyer and you need to question why.
Always read your contracts yourself. I know, you have a purchasing department that does that and yet do they have a complete understanding of your needs? Did they witness all of your conversations with the vendor? Contracts are often created by and reviewed by different groups of people then the ones that have been talking. Can you say “Disconnect?” Read and make sure that what you are expecting is also in writing.
I’m lucky in many ways because I have been the buyer and the seller over the years. But if you have only been on the buying side of the equation, link up with a sales person to learn their side of the business. Otherwise, you may end up on the short end of the sales stick!