Negotiation Donkeys – Quit Your Crying!


This blog on Negotiation Donkeys contains a bit of Snark, Sass, and Snippety language. Stop here if you are a supplier who is faint of heart or easily offended.

Hee-Haw! We are the Negotiation Donkeys!

 I’ve heard your Hee-haw’s and crying now, and it’s been going on for way too long. Sadly enough it’s the same every time.

There is nothing about your story that changes.  Not the crying. Not the story. And not the information I have.

So do us all a favor and just quit being a negotiation donkey!

I know it’s harsh.  Maybe I’ve been doing the same job for too long.  The same old song and dance never seem to change.

Year after year I hear the same excuses from suppliers.  So here are just a few of my favorites, straight from the asses’ mouth.

negotiation donkey

“We haven’t raised our prices in 3+ years!”

And you haven’t had an issue.  So you know what that tells me, your profit margin is HIGH. Not low. Because if it was so low you weren’t profitable, you’d no longer take on the business.

I know we push for the best pricing, quality and contracting, but that’s my job. Keep you honest and efficient. If you aren’t figuring out ways to help streamline and find efficiencies for us to cut back costs, I’m sure we can find someone who will partner with us and do just that!

“There is VERY Senior Level staff on this project”.

Sure. And I’m also the SVP of my life, but that doesn’t give me the right to charge $350/hr. without the experience to back it up. Title inflation is a thing. And you are doing it.

I don’t care how talented the 26-year-old is and what title you think they deserve, they still only have the experience of someone who is… TWENTY-SIX!

“You don’t understand my business”

Actually, I just might. I’ve got market research, an MBA, years of experience and in-depth category knowledge. Do you really think I’ve learned nothing over the past decade or so?

Please, quit telling others they have no idea to run a business when it’s literally our job to help make our own efficient. It’s what we do. Daily. I may not run your personal business, but I can surely analyze the heck out of it (like I do my own)!

“I had to take a hit/absorb the cost of those mistakes”

And that’s what we call the cost of doing business, my fair donkey. So welcome to the real world, Karen. It’s a multi-million dollar account, is the 100k (less than a few percents of total revenue) really worth complaining about?

“We aren’t making much of a profit/margin”

Right. So the audit, external and internal benchmarks, and rate build are ALL wrong. The funny thing is, I actually do currently work for a non-profit (yes, we are in the red).

I’m pretty sure your company isn’t.  So quit the whining, ten percent is better than no percent. Sorry, the gouging can no longer continue at >30% margins you’ve enjoyed in the past on my watch.

negotiation donkey

So if you made it this far, not only do you get an “A” for effort but a gold star too. Most can’t stomach it; and, for those who could, I’m sure you have a few sharp words for me in return. But that’s okay, I’ve heard worse from better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you are sick of hearing about savings and efficiencies from my side… but that’s the game now, isn’t it?

Other fun reads for negotiation donkeys:

Nightmare Negotiations – Link

Negotiation with a Liar (HBR) – Link

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