One question to always ask yourself during a negotiation

We do it everyday in our personal lives – don’t we? We are in the supermarket doing ‘The Big Shop’ when we are suddenly faced with a number of exciting promotional offers as we walk down our favourite aisle. So many choices, but which brand do we buy this week?

As much as I love shopping, I don’t want to stand in the cereal aisle for any longer than I have to, so a decision is made and I go with the store’s own brand of Fruit & Fibre.

As a marketer who may be responsible for spending your organisation’s budget, you have many important decisions to make, as it’s your job to deliver a strategy that will help  your business ‘defend and grow’ the client base, turnover, market share and industry reputation.

Upon embarking my agency-side marketing career back in 2005, I found it confusing when faced with so many different media options for raising the brand profile and generating leads. To me, there appeared to be too many industry events and awards – all claiming to deliver something uniquely different. In truth – not many actually did. The only difference was the huge price that the account manager was demanding for my agency to come on board.

Today, things have not changed that much in terms of the options that are available, however, my greater experience and understanding of my market has equipped me with the tools to quickly assess the value of any proposition being sold to me.

Ask yourself – why should I pay more than I have to? In reality, you don’t and should never, as long as you can benchmark the opportunity cost during a negotiation.

In 2013, I decided to invest in an event that was £60k less than a competitor was paying for a similar event. The decision-making process was very simple, because I knew what I wanted to achieve and how this event could deliver what I wanted. It was nice to save my agency a lot of money, however, I was simply doing my job and my experience and assessment of the opportunity cost meant that I could free the marketing budget up for other things. The event delivered!

If you can continue to develop your marketing radar to the point where you know the right price to pay for a service, based on the ‘Opportunity Cost’ – your ability to negotiate becomes a lot easier.


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