Wednesday, May 30, 2012

20 Points That Shape Your Negotiation First Impression

 One of the things you need to accomplish to maximize your success as a negotiator is to create the perfect first impression with your suppliers.

The perfect first impression is one where your suppliers immediately know that you are a negotiating force to be reckoned with.  Whether you are entering a collaborative or a competitive negotiation, you want your suppliers to be uncomfortable negotiating with you to some degree.

Notice that I said "uncomfortable" not "intimidated."  Many negotiations today are collaborative where the two parties exchange ideas that adds value to the business deal instead of dividing it, so intimidation is bad.  But a strong first impression will keep your suppliers from taking advantage of a procurement professional who walks on the fine line that separates a win-win attitude from an over-compromising disposition.  Believe me, some suppliers look for signs of weakness and exploit that, even in the context of a supposed win-win negotiation.

Do you know what variables are involved in creating that perfect first impression?  There are probably more than you think!  Here are just 20 variables...

  1. Whether you are found waiting for the supplier in the conference room or whether you enter the negotiation when it is scheduled to begin
  2. The firmness of the grip of your handshake
  3. The duration and intensity of the eye contact you make with the supplier
  4. Your posture
  5. Your use of slang ("Hey, John") vs. slightly more formal language ("Good afternoon, John")
  6. The speed at which you speak
  7. Your ability to have facts memorized vs. having to look them up
  8. The volume at which you speak
  9. The relative amount of "filler" (e.g., ums, ya knows, I means, etc.) you use while speaking
  10. How well-groomed you are
  11. How well-dressed you are
  12. Your facial expressions
  13. Whether you nod affirmatively when being spoken to or hold your head still
  14. How others on your team refer to you (e.g., "Jimmy," "Jim," "Mr. Smith," etc.)
  15. Whether or not you delegate tasks to others on your own team during the negotiation
  16. What you bring with you to the negotiation (e.g., electronic devices, soft drink cups, etc.)
  17. How organized your materials are
  18. Whether or not you've insisted on an agenda prior to the meeting
  19. Whether you or your designee drafted the agenda or allowed the supplier to do so
  20. The title on your business card (too many executives bring one to a negotiation and that's a mistake - having a tangible reminder in front of the supplier that you are a high-ranking individual is never a bad thing)
Have you ever evaluated these things about yourself?  When preparing for a negotiation, have you ever thought about how you want to come across in any of these areas?

If not, I hope that I sparked a little interest in you doing so and that you can make the best possible first impression in your next negotiation.  Use these points as a checklist for things to think about during your future negotiation preparations.

Stay tuned...some time in the future, I will be providing some additional and detailed insights into the rights and wrongs for each point.  For now, if you're interested in learning more about negotiation, consider the following online course options:

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The NLPA Dedicated Member of the Month for May 2012 Is...

Every month, the Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA) recognizes a purchasing professional who has made impressive progress in learning more about his/her field. We are excited to announce that the NLPA Dedicated Member of the Month for May 2012 is...

Emile Robitaille, a Procurement and Logistic Manager at Comcel Voila in Haiti.  During the month of April, Emile completed all six of the Senior Professional in Supply Management® Program courses!

 "As a purchasing professional for over 15 years I was looking for a program to enhance what I have learned and experience gain in the past as well as to grow and learn new ideas, techniques and strategies in procurement. The Next Level Purchasing SPSM® Certification Program has provided this knowledge to me during the course which I am able to apply in my daily work routine with positive results.

Thanks and credit to technology of the SPSM® Program design making my success on completing all courses in 1 month. I hope my dedication and hard work pays off, I will definitely enroll in the SPSM2® Certification program in the future. "

Next Level Purchasing and the procurement community around the world congratulate Emile and his dedication to having a more successful purchasing career!

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
http://www.nextlevelpurchasing.com/

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Procurement Interview Question That Will Make You Sweat

 Interviewing for a procurement position is tough. 

Even with good preparation, there's a chance you'll be asked a question that you didn't expect.  For every predictable "Tell me where you see yourself in five years," you'll get a "Tell me about a time where a superior delegated a task to you and, as you began work on the task, it became clear that following the superior's instructions would lead to problems."

Those types of questions can make you a little nervous.

In some cases, you may just end up saying "I apologize, but I'm drawing a blank on that one."  And, in some cases, that's OK.  You're probably not the only candidate that drew a blank.  The hiring manager is human, too, and likely understands the uncomfortable position you are in.  In fact, those types of questions may be designed to weed out liars who make up unbelievable stories.

But there is one procurement interview question that should make you sweat if you don't have the right answer.  Because there is no getting around it.  There is no "I'm drawing a blank" that will suffice.  There is one great answer and one somewhat acceptable answer and no amount or quality of talking will save you if your response is not one of those. 

What is that question?

It's this...

"Do you have a procurement certification and, if not, why not?"

Your answer better be "yes" or "no, but I'm x% complete and my plan is to be certified by [insert a date here]."

Think about it.  What other answer could possibly make you look good?

"I haven't had time?"  You have the same 24 hours a day that everyone else has.  And I bet it wouldn't be hard to find many people who have earned their procurement certification that have a fuller calendar than you.  Poor excuse.  Hiring managers will interpret this as "I am not serious enough about the procurement profession and my career to schedule time to become certified."

"I haven't thought much about it?"  If you haven't thought much about becoming certified, you haven't thought much about advancing your career or learning all you can about procurement.  How do you think that will work out for ya?

"With my experience, I don't feel I need one?"  Anyone can "take up space" for years in a job and not really be good at what they do compared to others in the field.  Sure, in your current or previous employers, you may have a track record of work you've done well.  But when you apply to a new employer - or even if your current employer changes management, which we all know happens frequently - they haven't personally witnessed your track record.  So, what objective information can they use to determine whether you're a "space taker" or someone with skills?  A procurement certification can.  But if you don't have a procurement certification, a hiring manager may think that you may just lack the talent to earn one.  And, they may be right.  After all, you have no evidence to prove that theory wrong.  And, even if you have the talent, a lack of a procurement certification can show that you lack drive.  Hiring managers want talent and drive.

"Certifications and education aren't guarantees that someone is good?"  While there may be some educated people who don't work out well in all positions, do you really think you'll impress a hiring manager with this kind of "logic?"  As if having no certification IS a guarantee?  If this doesn't scream "I'm lazy and defensive" to a hiring manager, I don't know what will!
"I don't have a college degree?"  It is a common myth that you have to have a college degree to earn a procurement certification.  You don't!  The SPSM® Certification does not require that you have to have a degree.

"I don't have enough years of experience?"  It is another common myth that you need "x" years of experience to earn a procurement certification.  You don't!  The SPSM® Certification does not require experience as a prerequisite!

Are you seeing how no excuse is a good one?

So, on your next procurement interview, will you have the right answer to that big question?  Or are you going to be one of those sweating and trying to explain why you're not certified?

It's probably easier to actually earn your procurement certification than it is to successfully justify why you don't have one.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
http://www.nextlevelpurchasing.com/

Monday, May 21, 2012

More Procurement Presentation Tips

I hope that you have enjoyed the article "4 Vital Procurement Presentation Topics."

Communicating with executive management is a critical skill.  Do it well, and the stature of your procurement department can increase dramatically.  Do it poorly, and the procurement department will continue to get suboptimal respect from the boardroom.

In addition to the advice dispensed in the above-linked article, consider these other tips for communicating/presenting to executive management:
  • Look for signs of agreement:  nods, mmm-hmm's, etc. - and then stop or continue on to another topic.  Once you've convinced an executive of something, they don't need to hear more on the topic.  If you continue to attempt to convince them with one point of your presentation, you run the risk of annoying them, at one extreme, and compelling them to change their minds.
  • Be direct in your answers.  If an executive asks a yes or no question during your presentation and you answer with anything other than a yes or no, the executive will assume that you are telling him/her the answer they didn't want to hear and may get mad that you appear to be trying to cover something up.
  • Don't make excuses.  Sometimes you have to present bad news.  Don't make lame excuses.  A good leader can smell a bad excuse a mile away.  And good leaders hate bad excuses.
I have plenty of additional executive communication tips.  But those are being saved for something special, coming soon from Next Level Purchasing.  Stay tuned!

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com


Friday, May 04, 2012

One More Request For Proposal (RFP) Planning Tip

I hope that you have enjoyed the article, "7 RFP Planning Tips, Part II."

Like the first article in this two-part series - "7 RFP Planning Tips, Part I" - this new article was based on a podcast that I did with Bill Dorn, Vice President of Operations for Source One Management Services and the co-author of Managing Indirect Spend: Enhancing Profitability Through Strategic Sourcing.  One of my goals for these podcasts is to get one article's worth of great material.  However, when I have guest experts as insightful as Bill, I get much more!  Not only did I get two articles worth of great material, I got one additional RFP tip that I'll share with you on this blog.

So, without further ado, here is the 7th and final RFP tip that came out of the podcast:

RFP Tip #7:  Don’t ask suppliers to pay to participate in your RFP process.  In a disturbing observation, some organizations have been involved in different situations where they have asked suppliers to pay to participate in the organizations’ RFP processes.  “In the most common scenario, a company puts together some type of RFP package, they notify the potential suppliers, and then they tell them they have to go to a particular website or eSourcing platform to retrieve the RFP,” explains Dorn.    “Once there, the supplier is asked to pay a…subscription fee, or a network fee, or a registration fee and that’s anywhere from $50 to $500 just to retrieve the RFP.”  This emerging and disturbing practice violates one of the important principles of good procurement, which is the more competition you have, the lower your prices will be.  So, if you’re reducing your competition because either a supplier may not have the exorbitant amount of money you’re asking for or it’s against their principles to pay it, you’re reducing your competition and as a result you’re not going to be getting the better prices that you would be getting.  If a comparison would be done, I would bet that the revenue that the procurement department brings in with this pay-to-play process is probably dwarfed many times over by the aggregate amount of the higher prices they pay.


To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Emerging Procurement Thought Leader: Tim Reis, SPSM

Thought leadership is important to the growth of any profession.  It is through thought leadership that our profession improves and innovates.

True thought leadership isn't all that easy to find.  It takes someone with extremely high levels of talent, the ability to educate others, and the willingness to share.

However, we at the Next Level Purchasing Association are fortunate to have found someone who is a procurement thought leader on the rise to author our "View From The Field" column in our members-only online magazine, Leading-Edge Supply Management:  Tim Reis, SPSM.

 Tim has authored a few excellent View From The Field columns already published and he has been absolutely on fire lately, having contributed articles three editions into the future!  His latest column, entitled "Utilizing the PEST Table to Minimize International Supplier Selection Risk," appears in the May 2012 edition of Leading-Edge Supply Management, just released today.

Here is how you can check out the magazine and Tim's fine article:

If you're already an NLPA member: Log in to the members' area at
http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/login.html and navigate to the "Magazine" tab. There you'll find a link to a PDF copy of the report. 

If you're not yet an NLPA member: Sign up for your free membership in the Next Level Purchasing Association at http://www.NextLevelPurchasing.com/procurement-association.php. After doing so, you'll receive an email with information about how to log in. After logging in, navigate to the "Magazine" tab. There you'll find a link to a PDF copy of the report.


The articles in the upcoming editions are phenomenal as well, so be sure to stay tuned to see what Tim will share to help you reach your potential as a procurement professional.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

At What Level Are The Procurement Professionals Who Have Earned The SPSM Certification?

On a conference call this morning, a prospective client asked the subject question.  When I responded that procurement professionals at all levels - from the buyer level to the chief procurement officer level - have earned the SPSM® Certification, they asked for statistics showing the distribution among various levels.

So, we got right on that for them.  And I'm sure that they are not the only ones that are curious about this topic, so I'll post those statistics here for public consumption as well.

Manager/Senior Specialist Level - 35%
Procurement Specialist Level - 34%
Director Level - 9%
Analyst/Coordinator Level - 8%
Department Officer/VP/Head Level - 5%
Assistant/Clerk Level - 4%
Senior Executive Level - 1%
Other - 4%

To give you a better idea of the job titles that comprise each level, consider the following sample lists of job titles that comprise each level:

Manager/Specialist Level

  • Administrative Manager-Contract
  • Assistant Manager
  • Assistant Manager Purchasing
  • Assistant Manager, Procurement
  • Assistant Procurement Manager
  • Assistant Purchasing Manager
  • Buyer/Asst. Plant Manager
  • Category Group Manager
  • Commercial Manager
  • Contract Manager
  • Contracts & Tenders Manager
  • Corporate Manager, Sourcing
  • Corporate MRO Manager
  • Corporate Supply Chain Manager
  • Department Manager
  • Director of Purchasing/Sourcing Manager
  • Expert Buyer / Procurement Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Factory Manager
  • General Systems Manager
  • Global Supply Manager
  • Group Project Manager
  • Human Resources/Accounting Manager
  • Inventory Control Manager
  • Inventory/Warehousing Manager
  • IT Buying Manager
  • IT Procurement and Governance Manager
  • Knowledge Mgr, Purch. Ctr.
  • Logistics Manager
  • Manager
  • Manager - Technology Procurement
  • Manager IT Procurement
  • Manager, Procurement
  • Manager, Procurement Department
  • Materials Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Parts Manager
  • Parts Purchasing Manager
  • Parts/Purchasing Manager
  • Procurement Category Manager
  • Procurement Leader
  • Procurement Manager
  • Product Management & Purchase Dept. Manager
  • Project Expediting & Inspection Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Project Manager Russia and CIS
  • Purchasing Manager
  • Purchasing Supervisor
  • Purchasing/Capex Manager
  • Regional Category manager
  • Regional Manager Southern Afghanistan
  • Senior Buyer
  • Senior Category Manager
  • Senior Category Manager, Indirect Procurement
  • Senior Manager - Purchasing
  • Senior Material Buyer
  • Senior Material Controller
  • Senior Materials Buyer
  • Senior Procurement Engineer
  • Senior Procurement Manager
  • Senior Project Manager
  • Senior Specialist
  • Sourcing Manager
  • Sr. Commodity Specialist
  • Sr. Contract Administrator
  • Sr. Inventory Specialist
  • Sr. Procurement Officer
  • Sr. Product Category Manager
  • Sr. Purchasing Agent
  • Sr. Sourcing Specialist
  • Strategic Procurement Manager
  • Strategic Sourcing Manager
  • Superintendent Purchasing (Procurement Department)
  • Supervisor, Procurement & Mail Services
  • Supervisor, Supply Chain Mgmt
  • Supplier Performance Supervisor
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Supply Chain Sr. Manager
  • Team Leader
  • Team Leader Project Procurement
  • Transit Camp Manager/Facilities Management Assistant
  • Transition Manager (Governance Dept.)
  • Transport Manager

Procurement Specialist Level
  • Associate
  • Associate Buyer
  • Buyer
  • Buyer - Dairy/Bakery
  • Buyer - FF&E
  • Buyer/Planner II
  • Buyer/Planner
  • Buyer/Purchasing Agent
  • Chief Buyer
  • Contract Administrator
  • Contract Engineer
  • Contract Specialist
  • Contracts Administrator
  • Contracts and Procurement Specialist
  • Contracts Officer
  • Corporate Procurement Buyer
  • Domain Lead
  • Indirect Material Specialist
  • International Buyer
  • Material Specialist
  • Mechanical Materials Buyer
  • MRO Buyer
  • MRO Procurement
  • OIC, Procurement Section
  • Procurement
  • Procurement & Contracts Administrator
  • Procurement and Supply Management Specialist
  • Procurement Associate
  • Procurement Logistics Advisor
  • Procurement Office
  • Procurement Officer
  • Procurement Specialist
  • Procurement Specialist IT
  • PSCM purchasing specialist
  • Purchaser
  • Purchasing
  • Purchasing & Transportation Specialist
  • Purchasing Agent
  • Purchasing Associate
  • Purchasing Buyer
  • Purchasing Consultant
  • Purchasing Officer
  • Purchasing Specialist
  • Purchasing Technician
  • Raw Materials Co-Buyer
  • Record Buyer
  • Regional Lead, Mesa & Pk
  • Reorder Buyer
  • Reorder Buyer - Dairy
  • Replenishment Buyer
  • Replenishment Specialist
  • Senior Buyer
  • Sourcing & Contracts Lead
  • Sourcing and Contracts Lead
  • Sourcing Specialist
  • Specialist Contracts
  • Strategic Sourcing & Warranty
  • Subcontract Administrator
  • Subcontracts Administrator
  • Supplier Development Specialist
  • Supply Chain Specialist
  • Technical Buyer
  • Technical Procurement Officer
  • Technology Buyer
  • Warehousing, Logistics & Buying Associate

Director Level
  • Assistant Director of Works Procurement Dept.
  • Corporate Director of Clinical Education and Sustainability
  • Director
  • Director , Supply Chain
  • Director of Contracts and Procurement
  • Director of North American Procurement Operations
  • Director of Operations
  • Director Of Procurement
  • Director of Procurement OPs & eProcurement
  • Director of Product Development, Private Brands
  • Director of Purchasing
  • Director of Supply Chain & Materials
  • Director of Supply Chain Management
  • Director, Global Sourcing and GM Procurement
  • Director, Purchasing
  • Director, Support Services
  • Food & Beverage Director
  • IT Director
  • Property Management Division Director
  • Purchasing Director
  • Sr. Director of Procurement
  • Sr. Director,  Procurement & Contract Administration
  • Strategic Planning Director
  • Supply Chain Business Support Director

Analyst/Coordinator Level
  • Analyst Business Support Svc.
  • Business Analyst
  • Clinical Coordinator
  • Construction Project Coordinator/Construction Buyer
  • Contract Analyst
  • Coordinator
  • Coordinator, Logistics
  • Customer Service Coordinator/Buyer
  • Expediter
  • Expeditor - Purchasing Department
  • Inventory Coordinator
  • MRO Coordinator
  • National Coordinator Procurement
  • Procurement Analyst
  • Procurement Coordinator
  • Program Analyst Contractor
  • Purchasing Administrator / Sourcing Analyst
  • Purchasing Analyst
  • Purchasing Coordinator
  • SCM AP Procurement Coordinator
  • Senior Procurement Analyst
  • Sourcing Analyst
  • Supply Chain Analyst
  • Supply Chain/Business Analyst
  • Supply Systems Coordinator

Department Officer/VP/Head Level
  • Administrative and Finance Officer
  • AVP - Purchasing
  • AVP
  • Chief Procurement Officer
  • Chief, Purchasing & Contracting
  • EVP
  • Finance/Administration Officer
  • Head - PVM India
  • Head - PVM, UAE
  • Head Admin & Procurement
  • Head of Governance
  • Head of Materials
  • Head of Overseas Purchasing and Warehousing
  • Head of Procurement
  • Head of Services Austria
  • Head, Procurement Management
  • Procurement Executive
  • Senior Executive, Procurement
  • Vice President of Purchasing
  • VP Corporate Procurement

Assistant/Clerk Level
  • Accounts Assistant
  • Administrative Support
  • Buyer's Assistant
  • Executive Assistant
  • IT Business Services Assistant
  • Materials Assistant
  • Procurement  Assistant
  • Procurement Admin Assistant
  • Procurement Assistant
  • Purchasing Assistant
  • Purchasing Clerk
  • Purchasing Clerk III

Senior Executive Level
  • Managing Director
  • President
Have a question about earning your SPSM® Certification?  Feel free to contact us at help@nextlevelpurchasing.com or +1-412-294-1990!

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The NLPA Dedicated Member of the Month for April 2012 Is...

Every month, the Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA) recognizes a purchasing professional who has made impressive progress in learning more about his/her field. We are excited to announce that the NLPA Dedicated Member of the Month for April 2012 is...



Brenda Houts, a Buyer at SJE-Rhombus in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, USA.  During the month of March, Brenda completed five of the Senior Professional in Supply Management® Program courses!

"I have been with SJE Rhombus for twenty-six years. I moved into the Purchasing Department as a buyer twelve years ago. The material covered in the NLP course was very informative. If you give this class time and attention, you and your company will benefit in all areas of Purchasing. After completion of the course, I have been able to apply the information I gained to my daily tasks. Though this training, I am inspired to bring more to my job as a Buyer." 
Next Level Purchasing and the procurement community around the world congratulate Brenda and her dedication to having a more successful purchasing career!

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer - Next Level Purchasing Association
Author - The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At
www.NextLevelPurchasing.com

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