Chapter 12 – With Whom Should You Negotiate at the Factory?

Talking to the right or wrong person in your supplier’s hierarchy can be the key for successful or failed negotiations.

I can only advise you to go right to the top decision maker. That means you must talk to the company owner. This can be several people if it is shareholder owned company. You may need to meet with the chairman of the board, the chief executive, or the president. I think you get the point that your negotiations partner should not be the sales manager or a lower member of the staff. They may help prepare the meeting and assist their boss but their help is limited if they cannot make a final decision.

It may prove difficult to get directly in touch with the supplier’s decision maker because they are usually shielded by their staff. Knowing the background of your supplier is essential to pinpointing the right person if your supplier has thousands of employees.

It may pay off now, if you visited that supplier before and already know the company hierarchy. I have discovered on various occasions that decision makers in China go into hiding and cannot be reached by your company when there is a major claim. This might seem strange but if you do not nail down an appointment with your supplier’s decision maker, you may end up talking to the people that shield him and end up just wasting more time and money.