Newsletter - September 2017 Print

The 7 Habits of Highly Ordinary Negotiators

The 7 Habits of Highly Ordinary Negotiators
Part 4 of 7

by Omid Ghamami

Relies on dated negotiation techniques to “get the upper hand” and to “get an unfair advantage”

This 4th posting in this blog series entitled “7 Habits of Highly ORDINARY Negotiators” is focused on “Relies on dated negotiation techniques in an effort to “get the upper hand” and to “get an unfair advantage.”

I’ve been reading and hearing about these techniques for 3 decades now.  That in itself should tell you enough.  It’s worse than that though.  They were literally popularized in the 1950’s.

I won’t get into any more detail than that about their origin, but I will say that they were probably appropriate back then – around the time Eisenhower was adjusting to his new role as US president.

I still remember being taught all of these tactics and counter-tactics by highly paid consultants years ago.  Puppy in the window.  Using silence to make them uncomfortable.  The Columbo strategy to make them look like Captain Obvious.   Using time zones to your advantage.  There’s more..

Pretending to not have final authority. Claiming to have final authority.   Pretending to be empathetic.  Knowing when to act confused. Making veiled threats to escalate.  Becoming angry at just the right time.  Calling a break to make “a critical management phone call”,  Playing “good cop, bad cop” roles.  Not responding to proposals to make them sweat.  On and on.

Really?  Is this the best we can muster after decades of work to achieve C-Suite recognition inside our companies, to be and be recognized as a Value Added Center of Profit?

Have you been taught these things?  Is this really how you want to make your mark in this field?  Do you want to achieve your successes burning bridges instead of building them?   Go get a mirror. If you are using these strategies, then you are an ORDINARY negotiator.

Just think about it.  How in the world can a supply chain be predicated on each link trying to use tactics and counter-tactics with their immediate supply-side links to get an unfair advantage and the upper hand?  What kind of dysfunctional supply chain would that be?  Maybe if you’re selling used cars it would work, but in global supply chains?  I don’t think so.

But you’re better than that, and I know that for a fact, because I work with hundreds of companies around the world, every year, filled with competent, capable procurement professionals like you.   I want you to move onto 21st century negotiation strategies.

If you want career success in the corporate world, you need to know how to INFLUENCE – which is definitely NOT about using just the right tactics and counter tactics at just the right time at the negotiation table.  In fact, I don’t care much what you do at the negotiation table, I care about what you did before you ever entered the room to prepare.

And If you work for a big company, then look out, because you might just get your way every time and convince yourself you are a great negotiator and a great influencer, when in fact it’s very likely that it is all the money your company spending that is getting the incredible negotiation results for you.

Go work for a small company and see if your negotiation skills still work.  That’s the only way to find out.

But that’s rash.  Don’t change companies, change the DNA of how you negotiate.  That’s what the best in the business do.

What I What you want to be is a negotiator that uses INFLUENCE to achieve your objectives.  And this means that you must put your vanity mirror away and focus on deeply understanding not only the supplier’s positions (which are obvious – they are on the quote), but more importantly, understanding the supplier’s INTERESTS.

Once you start focusing on the other party’s interests, you will get into a whole new world in negotiations.  You will break down barriers and make them feel good about your intentions, because for the first time, they are working with someone in purchasing who is not engaging in opportunistic and self-serving behavior.

What also happens when you start to discover the supplier’s underlying interests is that they are often times not tied to price!  That means you can create and uncover ways to make the supplier successful, such that they think it’s a great deal to agree to pricing and terms that they never would have otherwise.

You can also make the pie bigger this way, and create more pies, because you are negotiating not only what’s on the table, but also what’s not on the table – that’s what the best negotiators do.  And of course, a seasoned negotiator will only make such concessions in return for movements on supplier positions that improve the purchasing professionals TCO value proposition.

I have so many client success stories I can share that blow away what the most seasoned negotiator can achieve just by hammering on price.

Read this twice:   Suppliers will eagerly collaborate with you when use influence and investigative strategies to create value for both parties.  However, supply chain partners *will not* collaborate with you to help you get an unfair advantage.  And if you leverage strategies to get “the upper hand”, you will win short term, but they WILL get their money back post-contract.  All suppliers know how to do that.

When a supplier feels used, every time you call and need something, if they answer the phone, you’ll get a bill for whatever it is you need, because you will have told them loud and clear with your behavior in negotiations that your relationship with them is purely opportunistic.  And that’s how they will roll.

Why shouldn’t they? You paved the way and they followed.  Remember the expression “a dog looks like its owner?”  That applies here too.  Suppliers will do exactly what you do.

Be world class.  Dump opportunistic negotiation models.  Rid yourself of authoritative techniques, especially if you work for a big company that can throw its weight around.  Flush your list of tactics and counter tactics down the toilet. All of them.

Leverage intrinsic motivation techniques in negotiations.  Understand interests instead of positions.  Be an investigative negotiator.

Don’t try to make a small pie all yours, make the pie bigger and find areas for the supplier to win – through understanding their interests instead of their positions, and looking for concessions that cost you little, but gives them great value.  Only ordinary negotiators do otherwise.

Our profession has worked too hard for us to be anything but world class.  We need to be and be perceived as a value added center of corporate profitability and supply chain advantage.    Step up to world class now – anything else is a disservice to your career and reputation.   This is the easiest profession to become a rock star in.

Be your best!

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NIGP Webinars


NIGP Webinars

Fundamentals of Leadership & Management

Date:  October 3 - November 29, 2017
Time:  Online Course

This course is designed to examine leadership and management issues regularly faced by public sector professionals. This course will focus on topics of motivation, decision making, communication, conflict management, group dynamics, and organizational change, with more attention being paid to how these issues relate. Discussions of theory with practical application are intended to improve an organization’s effectiveness when considering the professional. Practical examples, discussion, group exercises, and case studies will be used throughout the course.

Procuring for Success

Date:  October 24, 2017
Time:  1:00-2:30 CST

Pay for Success is an innovative financing mechanism that is designed to shift risk for new social service programs from governments to investors. A key component of the model is contracting for outcomes instead of services. An example would be a permanent supportive housing program designed to reduce homelessness in which payment was tied to improvements in housing stability rather than the number of housing vouchers given out by the program. Paying for outcomes involves a data-driven decisionmaking process to select both programs and providers, and actively monitor contract performance. This webinar will explain the Pay for Success model, how it has been used, and some lessons that can be learned from the procurement of recent Pay for Success projects.

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Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the VALUE Meeting
August 16, 2017

  Name Organization
Barwick, Robert City of West Allis
 x Fleming, Matt Kenosha County
  Hartmann, Roy Washington County
  Jacobson, JoAnne Port Washington/Saukville School District
  Jeffries, Karen City of Milwaukee
  Kurer, Bill Washington County
 x Martin, Catherine Waukesha County
 x McKinney, Duane Racine County
 x Matz, Cindy Walworth County
 x Nash, Vicky Waukesha County Technical College
  Schaack, Beth City of Waukesha
 x Schleimer, Laurel City of Wauwatosa
  White, Jen Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District








Common Solutions / Open Forum Discussion

Laurie Schleimer asked about purchasing ambulances from the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) ( Robert Barwick indicated HGAC is a cooperative that has a lot of different vehicles available. It is a government run cooperative, and the City of West Allis and the City of Milwaukee purchased a number of ambulances on the HGAC contract last year. The master agreement requires any litigation to be performed in Texas. Prior to purchasing the ambulances, Robert indicated he requested that the terms and conditions be modified to change the state for any potential lawsuits to be tried in Wisconsin.

Vicky Nash mentioned that CDW-G now offer discounts on Apple products.

Cindy Matz asked about what departments have a larger dollar amount authorized on their p-cards for payment of invoices. The following information was shared:

Kenosha County:       Purchasing and IT
City of Wauwatosa:   Department Heads
City of West Allis:      Purchasing
Racine County:         Accounts Payable and Public Works
Waukesha County:    Purchasing, Department Heads, AP, and IT

Business Meeting 

  • Robert Barwick indicated our meeting next month will be in Room 128.


  • Treasurer’s Report as of 7/31/2017:

Checking:  $15,013.64
Savings:  $10,011.98

  • New Members:  City of Fort Atkinson


  • Matt Fleming indicated he heard from the financial advisors (Schenk) he had contacted regarding providing financial advice for VALUE. Schenk confirmed that VALUE is not listed anywhere, and that we are a part of WAPP according to the documentation. They would be willing to help us become an independent organization for a reasonable fee, if we choose to pursue that path.


  • JoAnne Jacobson is unable to obtain a credit card from our bank because we do not have our own articles of incorporation. The goal is to be able to pay for speakers, hotels and other venue expenses for the WAPP/VALUE meetings with a credit card instead of with our personal credit cards and then having to get reimbursed. We discussed possibly obtaining a pre-paid credit card instead.


  • Audit procedures and bylaws would be updated after our path forward has been determined.


  • Matt Fleming will discuss our relationship with WAPP with the WAPP President. Robert Barwick provided information on VALUE and WAPP from a historical perspective. In approximately 1992, NIGP decided to hold their convention in Milwaukee. WAPP put together a committee to help plan the convention. That committee became VALUE after the convention. The VALUE group was initiated, and still is, a subset of WAPP.


  • We discussed inviting WAPP’s Executive Board to attend some of our VALUE meetings.


Annual Meeting Planning

The following potential topics were discussed:

  • Using Skype meetings for RFPs (such as vendor presentations). Cindy Matz will follow-up with her IT Department to see if someone would be willing to present.

  • Leadership – Matt Fleming indicated he is attending some training sessions on various leadership topics at Kenosha County. He will ask about some abbreviated classes and topics.

  • Class from Richard Pennington: Matt Fleming will reach out to Mr. Pennington regarding some of the classes he teaches.

  • Class from Omid Ghamami: Jen White provided feedback regarding her discussion on the classes Mr. Ghamami offers. He would be willing to provide two of the classes below for $15,000 (inclusive of airfare, meals and transport):

    • How to Catapult Savings BEFORE the Solicitation

    • How to Stop Buying Goods & Services and Start Buying PERFORMANCE RESULTS

    • Investigative Negotiations & Value Creation

    • Advanced Supplier Management

    • How to Solicit for and Harness Supplier Innovation

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Piggyback Updates


Below are changes or additions to the various piggyback opportunities available to VALUE member agencies.  Visit the piggyback page on the VALUE website, and click on the Pig to see the full list.

Do you have a contract to add to the list? Contact to add your contracts to the piggyback list!

New Contracts



Contract Extensions

Body Repair and Painting of Trucks


Contract Expirations

HVAC Repair & Maintenance
Plumbing Maintenance & Repair Services



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State of Wisconsin Contract Updates


Updates to State of Wisconsin contracts are issued weekly by the State of Wisconsin.  VALUE is reprinting the weekly information received as a courtesy to our members. 

The following contracts have been updated for the week of 7/31/2017 - 8/4/2017:

505ENT-M15-LABFUELAN Laboratory analysis services - Contract has been extended for an additional one year

505ENT-O16-Ammunition-00 Ammunition - Statewide Use - Updated Quick Start User Guide.

505ENT-M18-ELCPLSUPLS-00 Electrical & Plumbing Maintenance, Repair & Operating Supplies (MRO) - Gexpro is now set up as a supplier in PeopleSoft and transactional contract 505ENT-M18-ELCPLSUPLS-06 has been created.

505ENT-O13-SERVICEPROF-00 Temporary Professional Services - Executed a one-year contract renewal option with all eleven vendors.

505ENT-M16-BOOKPRINT-00 Class 3 Printing of Book Publications Collated and/or Bound - LOT A bid rate has changed to -26.78% effective 9/1/2017. Contract has been renewed for another year

505ENT-M18-BUSCARDS-00 Class 4 Printing of Business Cards: Thermograph and Flat – New contract


The following contracts have been updated for the week of 8/14/2017 - 8/18/2017:

505ENT-M15-MOTOR FUEL-00 Motor Fuels – Statewide - Updated locations listing.

505ENT-M12-TIES&TUBES-00 New Tires, Tubes and Related Services - Revised the Quick Reference Guide.

505ENT-M17-FLATFOLD-00 Class 4 Printing of Jobs Flat and/or Folded - A Class 4 FlatFold User Guide has been added. Please feel free in making any suggestions to make the user guide better.

505ENT-M18-ELEVATORSV-00 Elevator Maintenance and Repair Services - Updated Vendor Contact Information


505ENT-M15-OFFURNITUR-00 STATEWIDE OFFICE FURNITURE - 2017 RENEWAL INFORMATION: All vendors except SIS have renewed the contract.   The following vendors have requested and have received approval for price increases: Via, Inc., Trendway, Steelcase, Seating Inc., Highmark Smart Reliable Seating, OFS Brands, Nightingale, Nevins, Krug, Knoll, K & A, Groupe Lacasse, Global Industries, Arcadia Chair, Anthro International, Allsteel, Wright Line, 9to5 Seating, Enwork.

505ENT-M18-TEMPHELPSV-00 Non-IT Temporary Help Services (for Assignments Twelve (12) Months or Less) - Contractor Information is updated: 22nd Century's contact name and Davenport Consulting's e-mail address

505ENT-M17-DENTALSUP-00 Dental Supplies - Renewed Contract With Henry Schein

505ENT-M18-DRUGTSTSUP-00 Drug Testing Products and Services - Redwood Toxicology's Contract Has Been Renewed Through 9/30/2018

505ENT-M12-WIRELESSPH-00 EXPIRED Statewide Wireless Telephony and Broadband Plans, Equipment and Support - Contract expired 6/30/17. See new contracts 505ENT-M17-WIRELESSPH-01, 02, 03.

The following contracts have been updated for the week of 8/21/2017 - 8/25/2017: 

505ENT-O17-BODYARMOR-00 Body Armor (NIJ approved Bullet/Stab Resistant Tactical Products, Including Vests) - Updated Product & Price Lists

505ENT-M16-VARSOFTWARE-00 Value Added Reseller(VAR)Software, Support and Maintenance - Renewals have been executed and Contract extended until 8/31/2018.

505ENT-M15-OFFURNITUR-00 STATEWIDE OFFICE FURNITURE - Posted updated AUTHORIZED DEALERS.   National has removed Corporate Design Interiors from their authorized dealer list.

505ENT-M17-SFTGLASSES-01 Prescription Safety Glasses - Added Item #36 (Over Power Charge) To The Price List


The following contracts have been updated for the week of 8/28/2017 - 9/1/2017: 

505ENT-M12-SERVICESIT-01 IT Vendor Managed Services Sourcing Contract - Renewed contract until no later than June 30, 2018.

505ENT-M15-HZRDSWSTSV-01 Hazardous Wastes Services - Updated supplier contact list.

505ENT-M17-WICOMPUTER-00 Computer Equipment and Related Services - Corrected a listed phone number on "Contacts/Pricing for SHI International Corp."  Updated some models/SKUs on the Contacts/Pricing document for PDS.

505ENT-M10-VHICALRNTL-00 Nationwide Vehicle Rental Services - Contract renewed through 10/19/2019

505ENT-M12-TIES&TUBES-00 New Tires, Tubes and Related Services - Updated Goodyear Price List Effective 9/1/17.

505ENT-M17-DSPSBLPPRP-00 Universal Sized Cafeteria and Washroom Paper Products - Price Increase for Schilling effective 9.1.17

505ENT-M16-CLEANGCHEMS-00 Cleaning Chemicals - Kranz Price increase for Ecolab products.  Updated contract end date to 8/31/2018 to reflect the end of the 1st renewal term.

505ENT-M17-RATECERT-00 Class 5 Legal/Public Notices: Rate Certification Program - Certification Rates Bulletin updated for September 2017

505ENT-M18-ENVELOPES-00 Class 8 Printing and Manufacturing of Envelopes: Commercial, Catalog, and Booklet Sizes - New Contract

505ENT-O18-SAFETYVIDEO-01 NASPO Public Safety Video Systems - New Contract


The following contracts have been updated for the week of 9/5/2017 - 9/8/2017:

505ENT-M12-CONFREQUIP-01 Polycom and Cisco Video Conferencing Equipment and Services - New sales contact added for SKC.

505ENT-M17-WICOMPUTER-00 Computer Equipment and Related Services - The header on Contacts/Pricing for Paragon Development Systems document was updated on tab 5.

505ENT-O15-FLOORING-00 Statewide Flooring Including Commercial Carpet, Resilient Coverings (Virgin and Recycled) and Related Services - Added Products For Halverson.  Added Product For Menomonie.  Added Products For Sergenians

505004-O14-MANAGITSEC-01 Managed Security Services Solution (MSS) and Related IT Security Consulting - Update contract info following renewals through August 2019




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