techniques for successful negotiation

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Rick Burke, Donna LaFollette, Jason Price


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Negotiation techniques

ER&LAustin, TXMarch 17 2014


Whats SCELC?

The Statewide California Electronic Library ConsortiumWe have 111 private academic and nonprofit research member libraries throughout the state, plus one in Nevada and six here in TexasWe also have partnerships with hospital libraries in the Southwest and Hawaii; TexShare; Cal State Universities, and ATLA, for a total of >145 libraries licensing as SCELC Affiliates

- Describe our make-up: small schools, new business opportunities, mixed types of schools- Our buying power: $24 million plus in contracts- The challenge of negotiating for such a collection of schools is different from negotiating for one library, but the principles are the same

Whats SCELC?

Our primary activity has been negotiating offers for electronic resources and related services for our member librariesWe are an opt-in consortium, which makes negotiation more tricky we license over 3000 different products so we negotiate all the timePlus we serve a very diverse set of libraries made up of many sub-groups, which is why we sometimes have to negotiate with our libraries

The Consortial Approach

SCELC has a small staff yet offers a large number of productsSuccess has come from dealing with our vendors honestly, fairly, and with an openness to understanding their positionHaving events such as our SCELC Vendor Day helps build strong relationships with our vendorsSCELC Librarians vs. Vendors Bowling TournamentInter-consortial collaborations and ICOLC meetings help

Bowling tournament: I saw my job was to break down barriers between librarians and vendors and these events open the door to building new relationshilps

The Consortial Approach (2)

In the SCELC strategic plan some of our core values arePartnering working with vendors as partners in achieving a fair value and a fair returnInclusiveness Soliciting the active involvement of our members by sharing expertise and best practicesCollaboration Involving members and other organizations in our dialogue and work


is a basic means for getting what you want from othersoccurs when there are differences between the needs of the buyer and selleris a back and forth, give and take process which often involves a compromise - a settlement in which each side gives something up in order to gain something else

Pricing negotiation seeks to reach equilibrium between what the vendor charges and what our libraries are willing to payLicense negotiation seeks to reach equilibrium between the ideal terms for the library and the ideal terms for the vendor

Inventory Your Negotiation Experience

Frequency of vendor negotiationAt least once a yearAt least once a quarterAt least once a monthNegotiation typeMostly licensingMostly pricingAbout equalSelf assessment of negotiation skillAbove averageAverageBelow average

Two common/contrasting styles

War Room: Win-LoseMore common at the consortium levelEspecially among all or nothing consortiaMay lead to better prices in some casesMore likely will burn bridges or cause bigger problems in the next roundNot likely to lead to collaborationScott Boras, New Yorker 29-Oct-07 Relationship-Based: Win-WinMore common at the library levelBuilt on relationships and compromisePower of Nice : How to Negotiate So Everyone Wins Especially You!, by Ronald ShapiroGetting to Yes, by Roger Fisher and William Ury, Harvard Negotiation Project

Do your homework / Be prepared (Shut up and) Listen Aim high Dont be afraid to ask Dont be in a hurry Be patient Dont make the first move Dont accept the first offer Dont negotiate against yourself! Focus on the other sides point of viewSeek transparencyMeet in the middle Dont make unilateral concessions Defining the middle through discussion is the best part!Make sure both parties needs are satisfied Be willing to walk away have a plan B Dont take issues or other persons behavior personally

Common Sense Approaches

and their UNCONVENTIONAL sides

Web Wisdom survey of negotiation top 10 lists: Ed Brodow / Jed R. Mandel / SUE BARRETT

Think / Pair / Share Think of an example of a successful or failed negotiation that illustrates one of these best practices



Determine your objectivesSet a timetableAssemble a team if you are working with othersDevelop a strategyWho takes the lead on the negotiation?What roles might other team members play?

What do we want? NOT what will they give us usually better understanding is part of itits not always price, it might be predictability, or lower cost per useor more content or more transparencyor data to make a case to administration Timetable recognize when yours is different from theres


The Unsustainable Models Debate

Is it enough to start a negotiation by complaining to a vendor that the current models of subscription are not sustainable in the current library budget environment?A complaint is also a negotiation so long as you have an alternative in mindThink creatively of what models might workTalk to the right people in the hierarchyBe bold: Dont be afraid to propose new ideas

Ask questions

1) For me: this often comes as a Shut up and listen! From my mentorthe other negotiator will tell you everything you need to know Unconventional: Ask questions you already know (or think you know) the answer toYou probably didnt know the whole answer to start with The answer may have changedVery often you will learn something, even if the answer hasnt changed


Used without permission

Aim high

Dont be afraid to ask

2) Unconventionalfor more than you think is reasonable or possibleEspecially in our industry Examples?PPV with major journal provider, Shared purchase Ebook discounts,


Be Patient

Time may be the librarian negotiators best friendExample of patience paying off?My first salary negotiationchange in company policyDont be in a hurry Be patient Dont make the first move Dont accept the first offer Dont negotiate against yourself! Unconventional: Focus on the other sides point of viewSeek transparencyAsk again and again


Meet in the Middle

6) Meet in the middle -SymbiosisA good value at a fair price SCELC ValueIf one didnt have the other, theyd fall off! Aggressive negotiations what happens if one tries to push the other off?

Theres a big undefined middle thats what discussion is for


Be Willing to Walk Away

6 Be willing to walk away, have a plan b / exit strategyExamples of major science journal provider


Dont Take it Personally

7) Dont take it personallySeparate the people from the problemYou both have a mutual problem to solveRecognize that the other party is your partner in problem-solvingFocus on interests, not peopleDont get bogged down in opposing positions; identify your real mutual interestsApproach a negotiation as you would a reference interviewGet into their shoes to better understand their needs


Additional notes

Humor is a crucial ingredientUse data!Find a mentorLook for opportunities to negotiate, theyre everywhere! Practice, Practice, Practice

Prime negotiation opportunities

Making the most of a budget crisisOngoing Subscription vs. One time PurchaseAccess feesEbook archivesIntractable license negotiations

The Dear Vendor Letter >> do homework, aim high, meet in the middle, willing to walk away


Primary source collections: subscription vs purchase

Publisher A

Publisher B

Total spent

Use your knowledge of other deals to negotiate a better deal

Use Publisher A data to get publisher B to lower their subscription price, or vice versa to get A to lower its purchase price


Access fees

*Access Fees: think about the long term costsaccess fee increase capswhat are you paying for?Demand transparencyWhat is the repurchase pointAt what point will access fees add up to another purchase?Suggest alternative pricing models

E-Book archives

Know publisher Profit & Loss calculations2 years after a book is published, the expected sales drop to zeroBackfiles should be deeply discounted!

Intractable negotiations: Think outside the list

Converting Elseviers Unique title list to a Shared title list

Price JS. 2006. Making the most of a "big deal Charleston conference proceedings, 2005



Some more general practical approaches

Dont pay until you have what you wantSoftware under developmentBe willing to beta test only at a reduced or free rateAnnual title access list updatesLicense negotiations completedUse peer pressure - what do other companies do? Hold off for a better dealWrong Model: Unreasonable minimums to obtain discountsUnsettled pricing: ebooks and simultaneous use restrictions

Sometimes NO is the only acceptable answer

3x price increaseNo ILL or other sharing allowedNo remote access (hardly ever occurs anymore)Unmanagable Restricted list of authorized usersand other issues that depend on the contextInsert your own examples here

Negotiation Principles

Get to know your negotiating partner; establish rapport with themListen carefully to what they have to say and take notesFocus on s


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