The Lever Of Time

Available Time Part 2

We recall that available or unavailable time not only directly affects negotiating power, but also indirectly affects all other levers.

Let’s look at how we can work on these levers and what the impact is in procurement and sales. 

Working on the “time” lever:

  • How good is the overview of the upcoming negotiations? Is there a “negotiation schedule”? 
  • Start earlier!
  • Devote more resources to the negotiation project.
  • Can the deadline be postponed? Who set it?
  • Can the time limit for the other party be abbreviated? Who can influence this?
  • Can time be taken away from the other party? (Assign large-scale tasks that are not really necessary, but tie up the resources of the other party.)

The lever of time in procurement:

  • Does the supplier have free capacity and therefore has pressure to get an order? 
  • Is the supplier’s sales representative in a hurry to get an order to meet his monthly or quarterly targets? 
  • As a buyer, do I have adequate time to place the order? 
  • Do I have time for the current negotiation session, or are back-to-back meetings, scheduled or simple stuff like is the meeting room available longer than originally planned? 
  • Does the sales representative have to catch a certain train connection, leave on time because he has a long trip back ahead? 

Hence, beware on the customer side, if your own purchasing department does not have enough time for negotiation, considerable negotiating power is lost.

The lever of time in sales:

  • Does the customer have pressure to place the order, is there a fixed date for a production start, or is there a penalized due date? Note: Long delivery times increase the pressure on the customer’s side! 
  • Is the responsible buyer in a hurry to place the order? Are there other urgent procurement projects on his desk? 
  • Are our order books full and don’t we have free capacity in the short term at all? 
  • Am I flexible in my timing for the current negotiation session? I can stay overnight, if necessary or postpone my follow-up appointments? 
  • The buyer urgently needs to leave for another meeting. Another person who has booked the meeting room is waiting outside. 

Another great illustration by Jan Myszkowski captures the levers of time very well. His book 50 Shades of Leadership: The Decisive Moments of Genius Leadership is a combination of experience, diverse education and creativity in which he puts current business challenges into a different, inspiring perspective.

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