Competitive stances breed competitive stances

Published: May 29 , 2015
Author: Robin Copland

A friend of mine is a specialist clothes manufacturer – I do not want to say more than that for fear of identifying him - who, when he opened his factory thirty years ago, was fairly desperate to get one or two big clients to underwrite his business in the first few unsteady years.  Fortunately for him, he found a few, one of whom was and is a well-known high street retailer in the UK.

Now, this company has exacting standards.  I used to be in the hotel business and I well remember that we hosted their annual staff dinner one year.  Two or three weeks before the function, the head of HR arrived completely unannounced demanding to “inspect the hotel kitchens”; this, mind you, during an 800-guest Burns supper service.  The hotel’s executive chef, perhaps more from the Gordon Ramsay than the Michel Roux school of management, told him robustly where he might like to park his “inspection” – much to the amusement of all present, it has to be said.

Anyhow, back to my friend, who was treated in a similarly cavalier fashion by said retailer.  Factory inspections were commonplace; late changes to previously agreed orders; payment held up for some minor administrative error that, needless to say, was not brought to his attention until late in the payment cycle; returned goods for no good reason.  Those of you who deal with these kinds of customers may recognize the symptoms.

None of this sat well with my friend and, to be fair, you do not take the kinds of risks that he took if you don’t have a bit of a backbone.  He simmered and bided his time.  His one ambition eventually was to get rid of his troublesome customer.  Come the day that he felt able, he took great delight in travelling to their office in the South of England, unannounced, and told his contact in no uncertain terms that he was done with them and that they could look elsewhere for supplies for the next season.  No cajoling or threats from them had any effect on him; the boot was firmly on the other foot.

Was this sensible behavior?  He cheerfully admits not, but was he satisfied?  You bet he was!

Negotiators need to beware.  If they bully their opposite numbers and behave aggressively, they may win in the short term, but, in the long term, they may lose a valuable partner.

Competitive stances breed competitive stances.

Robin Copland


SHARE

blogAuthor

About the author:

Robin Copland
No bio is currently avaliable

Latest Blog:

Muck Shift

Just when is a deal not a deal…? I heard this story from a friend of mine the other week; there are some lessons to be learned! So, my pal is a developer and is building some houses on what is essentially a square site. Two sides of the square can be accessed from the road in a neighboring housing estate and the other two are beside a field owned by another developer. There is a huge pile of muck to shift before the actual building project; this phase is known in the trade – and not unreasonably - as a "muck-shift"! As there will be 80 -100 lorries coming in and out each day for 6 weeks, it was considered more convenient to access the site over the field, so an approach was made to the developer to discuss the terms under which he would allow access. This is a standard arrangement and the deal typically is that the field would be returned to the owner in its original condition. Developer makes a bit of money, where otherwise he wouldn’t; homeowners in the adjoining estate are less inconvenienced; builder does not need to spend money cleaning the streets and getting them back to a usable state at the end of the project. Win-win.

Latest Tweet:





United States
973.428.1991
usa@scotwork.com
Follow us
cpd.png
voty2016_sign_gold.png