You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em

13 August 2012
I came across this blog from the Harvard Business Review last week that has got some procurement professionals hot under the collar. It is written by Reed Holden, who those with a keen memory will remember from his promise last year to “tip the power in negotiations away from procurement and back to sales people”. With a new book to promote, Holden once again has whipped up the rhetoric, claiming ‘relationship buyers’ have been replaced by ‘economic buyers’, whose role is to be “brutal about the buying process… relationships be damned”. His position is neatly summed up in his opening line: “Selling isn’t as fun as it used to be.” He says the process has turned into a game of high-stakes poker, with buyers bluffing and intimidating suppliers to get a better price, and explains some of the tactics buyers employ to do this – and how they can be countered. Holden concedes his blog presents a one-sided view, and promises his book is more balanced. But he also says, in response to some unhappy buyers, that sales people too must improve their own sales skills for a process to be effective. How do you think buyers could improve their approach to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome?
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