If you’re looking to learn how to negotiate, the good news is that there are plenty of tools to help you. The problem is that not all of these books, articles, and resources apply to working with agencies. If this is your angle, this can prove rather frustrating and uninformative. To that end, we at RightSpend thought we’d take the initiative and offer additional insight into negotiating with agencies. The focus here is negotiating with the CEO.
The Key to Success
Whether you’re negotiating an extension of your requirements, the addition of a new provision, a renewal of an old agreement, or something else entirely; the art of negotiation is critical. Every marketer will find themselves in a position at one stage or another where they’ll need to agree on favorable terms while finalizing a contract. The key to success is the potential leverage that you hold.
If you find yourself on the client-side, you already have a major advantage. You have the freedom that comes from choice, which puts you in a favorable position. However, the same can also be said for a top-tier agency that’s reached capacity. They too would also have leverage.
In order to strike a fair deal, you must learn to fully utilize the resources that are available to you. To be successful, you must have two essential items:
- The Right Data or Benchmark
- The Right People
Before entering into any negotiation, you must first know your worth. That is to say; you must understand your position and what is a relatively fair price to expect. With a benchmark in place, you’ll have a pretty sure idea of where you stand with both of these. While a benchmark is by no means a spot-on, accurate figure (the numbers can be higher or lower), it does provide a framework. With the framework in place, the broader discussion can begin.
Choosing the Right People
Even having all the right benchmark data in place won’t be enough if you don’t have the right people to make the best use of it. Having the right people can give you that all-important advantage, thanks to their expertise in negotiations. It’s always helpful to have another person in your corner when tackling complex negotiations. A consultant or experienced team member can even help by providing you with a template to track all the important business terms.
To maximize your success in this area, you should involve any sourcing or procurement function.
Negotiating with the CEO
Once you’ve found the right people and assembled your team, you should get in touch with the CEO to arrange a face-to-face meeting. It’s actually rather important that you do this, as this is often the best way to get the most preferential deals. Meeting with the CEO could net you a discount or favorable business terms that aren’t usually offered as standard.
By getting approval straight from the man or woman at the top, you could be saving yourself from lengthy, drawn-out negotiations that take months to conclude. While there’s nothing wrong with negotiating with someone else, it’s always more efficient to negotiate with the CEO or a decision-maker who can expedite matters. Also, by requesting a meeting face-to-face, you make it that much harder to say no.
Speaking to someone in person increases the likelihood of success tenfold over speaking to someone on the phone or by email. Finally, bear in mind that negotiations can be a mentally draining process and a real battle of wills. So long as you’ve done your research and built the right team, you should have no trouble standing firm.
Be confident and patient. Use the time to your advantage as this can be a great negotiating tactic. Lastly, never feel pressured into making a decision. If you’re still struggling and are worried that your lack of confidence might betray you in the negotiations, there are a few other things you might consider trying:
- Bring Your Boss/Executive/CEO to the Negotiations
- Bring in an Advisor/Consultant to Handle Negotiations on Your Behalf
- Negotiate Via Email Instead
- Remember That Even CEOs are Human – Never be Intimidated