The Business Advisory Blog

The Business Advisory Blog

Insight, news and updates from Alliott NZ Chartered Accountants, Auckland New Zealand. The views expressed here are the views of the author and should be discussed in further detail should an article be relevant to your individual circumstances.

While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents. Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.

Greg Millar
Published on

Sometimes business profits suffer because of spending too much with certain suppliers.

In the competitive business world, getting the best terms with suppliers improves margins and lays a foundation for long-term success.

Startups and well-established entities that negotiate effectively enjoy significant cost savings and improved supplier relationships.

Here are seven ways to get better deals with suppliers:

1 Research Market Prices

Gather information on standard industry prices before starting negotiations. This forms a benchmark for determining a fair deal. 

For example, a buyer of marketing services asked for proposals from three competitors. They revised terms with the existing supplier which resulted in a cost savings of 7%.

2 Build Long-term, Strong Relationships

Good supplier deals arise when there’s a win-win situation. A supplier who greatly values you as a customer is more likely to give favourable terms when you need them. This happens when there’s regular and respectful communication.

For example, a retail chain developed a strong relationship with its clothing supplier over several years of collaboration. When the retail chain faced financial difficulties, the supplier offered extended payment terms and a temporary discount to help the retailer through its challenges.

3 Volume Discounts

Consider proposing bulk purchases in exchange for a discount. Suppliers are often willing to reduce prices for larger orders.

For example, a restaurant chain negotiated a volume discount with its food supplier by committing to purchasing a certain quantity of ingredients each month. This allowed the restaurant chain to reduce food costs by 15% while ensuring a stable supply of ingredients.

4 Ask for Payment Terms 

Negotiating payment terms that favour cash flow can be just as important as the price. Request longer payment periods or discounts for early payments.

For example, a small manufacturing business negotiated with its raw material supplier for extended payment terms from 30 days to 60 days. This adjustment allowed the business to align its cash outflows with its production cycle, resulting in improved cash flow and more financial stability.

5 Seek Value-Added Services 

Look beyond the price tag for additional benefits. Suppliers might offer complimentary services like free shipping, training, or extended warranties.

For example, an electronics retailer negotiated a deal with a supplier to include free installation services for the products they purchased. This added-value helped the retailer attract more customers and differentiate itself from competitors.

6 Be Open to Compromise

A successful negotiation often involves give and take. Be prepared to find a middle ground that satisfies both parties.

For example, a construction company needed to purchase new equipment but was unable to pay the full price. After negotiating with the supplier, they agreed to a lease-to-own arrangement, allowing the company to acquire the equipment at a lower cost over time.

7 Have Multiple Options

Avoid relying on a single source. Collaborate with alternative suppliers to strengthen the negotiating position and secure the best possible deal.

For example, an IT company sought bids from multiple software vendors for a new project management tool. By comparing offers and negotiating with multiple vendors, they were able to secure a more competitive price and favourable contract terms.

Interested in growing profit through better supplier terms? Contact Alliott NZ Accountants and Business Advisers in Auckland on 09 520 9200.

Topics: business discounting Price profits relationships small business suppliers supply chain