Should Sales Negotiators Be In Long Term Relationships?

Do Buyers Or Sellers Get More Out Of A Long-Term Relationship?
Do Buyers Or Sellers Get More Out Of A Long-Term Relationship?

Who wouldn’t want to be in a long term relationship? I mean we wanted our parents to be in one, we want to be in one, movies always end by having the hero walk off into the sunset and into a long term relationship, right? It turns out (as with so many things in life), when it comes to sales negotiations it depends on what side of the table that you’re sitting on as to if you should want to be in a long term relationship…

Let’s be straight here, getting ourselves into a long term relationship makes life sooo much easier. There are all sorts of benefits like reliability, friendship, and even peace of mind. However, it has been shown that over time these types of relationships start to favor one party over the other. Here’s what can happen:

  • You can lose your objectivity
  • You can become compliant
  • You can lose your company’s secrecy
  • You can become too dependent on the other side

If you are a seller, then getting into a long term relationship can be a very good thing. Generally speaking, long term relationships favor the seller over the buyer. Here’s why:

  • More often than not, product specifications change over time.
  • Changes in product specifications tend to increase the seller’s margin.
  • The seller can tailor standard offerings into special products and charge more for them.
  • The seller has fuller access to the buyer’s organization – the reverse is not true.

Sure seems like the seller has an unfair advantage doesn’t it? Buyers should take heart, there are actually a number of things that a buyer can do to even the score:

  • Change buyers every few years just to shake things up.
  • Expand the number of competitors vying to be your supplier.
  • Have another group evaluate each long term relationship every so often.

Long term relationships do have their advantages; however, just as with your love life, you need to step back every so often and make sure that this relationship is the right for you right now.

Are you currently in a (business) long term relationship? Are you the buyer or the seller? Do you think that this relationship is still a good one to be involved in? How can you double check this? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.