How to Negotiate with Suppliers

4 min read

You’ve finally made it to the end of the courting period and it’s time to talk shop. Everyone has different negotiation tactics when it comes to business, but which ones really work?

Here are a few ways you can talk your way into a great deal:

Build a Relationship

The best way to know your supplier is to spend the time building a relationship. This way, you can know what tactics may or may not work when negotiating. You can find out how their business is lacking, who your competitors are, the quality of the product, and so on. If your supplier is in another country, they may not have the same approach to business as you do.

If you do your research, negotiating will be a breeze.

Your Business

In any negotiation situation, use the leverage you have. You may have the consumer market this supplier needs or they could be just one of many companies with these goods in the country.

Moreover, if they threaten to take their business elsewhere, you can counter by showing your potential. Maybe you have an ‘in’ or a take on a product no one else has. Use what makes your business special. You’re not about to give into anything below your worth.

Have Other Options

Never be afraid to let your supplier know they have competition – and they should

Never be afraid to let your supplier know they have competition – and they should. Having a list of other businesses who provide the same goods is great for if the deal falls through and can also be used for leverage. Your supplier should know that there’s another business you’ve talked to and considered hiring. However, don’t say anything more about it, the last thing you want is for them to waver on price or quality.

Don’t be Afraid to Barter

Always barter in negotiations and never take the first offer. Instead, suggest a lower counter-offer that is below your desired price. If your supplier’s market is in a state of flux then mention the drop in prices as your argument. This is when it’s a good idea to bring up buying in bulk to better the price.

If you’ve checked your supplier’s credit score and know their cash flow could be better, use that. For example, offer to pay up front initially and then negotiate to make shipping free. If you can present some cash up front they may be willing to cover costs or lower prices later.

Supplier/supply chain callout

There are 5 easy ways to find an international supplier, and grow your business. Read about them here.

Take Your Time

Be prepared to take your time with this deal because its likely they are too. Let some time pass in between emails and calls, say you need to confer with someone; anything to let the time go. You are more likely to get the deal if you don’t show as much interest. This is what you have other suppliers for, be confident that you’ll find it elsewhere if this deal doesn’t work out.

You are more likely to get the deal if you don’t show as much interest.

If you’re visiting a supplier in another country, they may schedule a meeting the day before you leave. This is a way to pressure you into accepting their offer because you’re stretched for time. Don’t give in. To counter this, you can say your flight is a couple days earlier than it really is.

Know When to Back Off

Never forget this is a supplier you want to have a relationship with and that they have needs. Don’t go into a deal if it isn’t fair on both sides even though you may be tempted to sway it solely in your favour. Your business could develop a bad reputation in this supplier’s network.

You may lose the deal or worse yet get a low-quality product.

Don’t shoot too low or make constant threats. You may lose the deal or worse yet get a low-quality product. A supplier with a low budget will cut corners and costs to meet requests.

On the other hand, if the other person is arguing for an unfair deal, walk away. If they won’t budge on something that could affect your business negatively its not worth it. Don’t take it personally; it could be their first time negotiating a deal.

If you’re unsure that any of these strategies will work with your supplier, it could be down to cultural differences. Check out our comprehensive guides on how to do business in countries ranging from Africa to Asia.

Make Affordable Payments

Once you’ve managed to reach an agreement with your supplier, the last thing you’d want are more complications.

There’s not point in negotiating a lower price if you end up paying the difference in bank wire fees. Even if you do pay off the hidden fees, you may not be able to track your money.

Instead, try Veem.

Veem is the easiest way to send and receive international payments in over 80 countries. There’s no fees and we use competitive foreign exchange rates that eliminate costs. In just a few clicks, you can send, receive, or request payments in moments. Plus, you can track your payment as it crosses the pond.

Sign up for free with Veem to get the deal you deserve.



* This blog provides general information and discussion about global business payments and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.