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Mastering the Art of Negotiating the Sale

The ability to negotiate effectively is a crucial skill for IT leaders tasked with procuring IT services and technology. Successful negotiations can lead to cost savings, optimal service agreements, and the acquisition of cutting-edge solutions. In this blog post, I’ll explore the key steps that I typically take to navigate the intricacies of negotiating the sale of IT services and technology.

Define Your Objectives and Requirements

Before entering any negotiation, it's imperative to have a clear understanding of your organization's objectives and requirements. What are the specific needs that the IT services or technology must fulfill? Establishing these criteria early on will serve as a foundation for the negotiation process.

Research and Benchmarking

Knowledge is power in negotiations. Conduct thorough research on the market, including the latest technologies, pricing models, and service standards. Benchmarking against industry standards and competitors will provide valuable insights, allowing you to negotiate from a position of strength and make informed decisions.

Build Strong Vendor Relationships

Cultivate strong relationships with potential vendors. A collaborative and transparent partnership is often more beneficial in the long run. Engage in open communication, discuss expectations, and seek mutual understanding. A positive relationship can lead to more favorable terms and conditions during negotiations. I typically try before I buy with vendors. Think of it as kicking the tires first. If a vendor provides consistency in their offering and service, I’ll later invest in the purchase of larger ticket items.

Understand Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Don't be swayed solely by upfront costs. Consider the total cost of ownership, which includes maintenance, support, and potential future upgrades. Evaluating TCO provides a more comprehensive view of the investment, allowing you to make decisions that align with your organization's financial goals.

Establish a Negotiation Strategy

Develop a well-thought-out negotiation strategy that includes your preferred terms and conditions. Be prepared to compromise on certain aspects while holding firm on others. Understanding your negotiation priorities and having a clear strategy will help you navigate discussions confidently.

Negotiate Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Clearly define service level agreements and key performance indicators to ensure that the IT services or technology align with your organization's expectations. Negotiate measurable metrics that hold vendors accountable for delivering the promised value. Vendors should feel as if they are an extension of your team, so keep them accountable as such.

Consider Flexibility and Scalability

Flexibility is key. Negotiate contracts that allow for scalability and adjustments based on your organization's changing needs. Avoid rigid agreements that may hinder your ability to adapt to future technological advancements.

Review Contractual Terms Carefully

Thoroughly review all contractual terms before finalizing any agreement. Pay close attention to details such as termination clauses, warranty periods, and dispute resolution mechanisms. Seek legal counsel to ensure that the contract is fair, clear, and protective of your organization's interests.

What other advice would you give to an IT leader concerning this subject? Comment below.

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