It is not just about price!
The secret to good negotiations between your pharmacy and your suppliers is to look for all the opportunities that exist to benefit your business.
Think of Suppliers as Partners:
The key suppliers to any small business are a lot like partners.
Your success depends on the quality of your suppliers product and service. Treating your suppliers more like partners can benefit your pharmacy.
Ask your key suppliers to keep you informed about their business cycles. A particular company may have slow times of the month when they would love your business (I have a friend who makes a motsa using this strategy).
Make sure your suppliers know you want to hear from them at times like these.
These partnering relationships work as long as you don't feel you have to make significant concession to your suppliers in order to keep them happy.
It's still a competitive business world out there, but a supplier who is really on your side is better than one who just wants to make a sale.
Look Beyond Price:
It's important to negotiate hard on price - but more may be gained by looking beyond price to creative ways a supplier can add value to the transaction at a reasonable cost to themselves.
- Co-op Advertising
- Extended Terms
- Training and Education
- Supply of Staff Incentives
- Sponsorship of in-store Events
- Supply of in-store Prizes
- Sales or Returns
- Let the the supplier know that you have many options. The best way to do this is to create options. Talk to a number of suppliers before deciding on one.
Once you have identified what you want, you can play two or more of these suppliers off one another, telling them that you have found a "Better Deal" for the same product elsewhere.
If you have a supplier you are unhappy with now, try to find another vendor to take some of that business, and let the first supplier know about it.
The new one may replace your existing supplier someday, or just provide a kick in the pants for a complacent supplier.