Is Negotiation A Simple Wisdom?

by Ashok Grover
Is negotiation just a matter of hard bargaining? Or is as simple as calling quotations / tenders and picking up the lowest? Life would have been much easier if it was so! But, the reality is much different! Think a little deeper to discover!
It was somewhere in 2009 that I met Suresh (SK Grover, Founder MD of Slipco Constructions P. Ltd.)  Suresh had been an old Thaparian, quite active at reuniting alumni of Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology (now Thapar University), Patiala.  I was one of the most passive ones (on that front).  With a hope to find some lost friends, I decided to attend one of those monthly meetings that Suresh was holding at his office.

Certainly, you don’t find anything unusual or interesting in this story.  Then why am I narrating all this? Wait a bit…

What followed this first meeting with Suresh and others in the gathering was also quite normal… Some introductions including meeting a classmate after 40 years followed by tea, snacks and exchange of years old remembrances - back in the memory lane… And during all this, Suresh handed over to me his company brochure. And it was here that I got an astounding message; that’s what I want to share with you.

As I glanced through the brochure, everything was quite normal till I reached the back cover.  It caught my immediate attention and the message simply got impregnated in my mind. With a beautiful picture of Taj Mahal in the background, it read, “The Taj Mahal would not have been so beautiful if Shah Jehan had asked for quotations and gone for the lowest.”

What a powerful message indeed! While cost consciousness is extremely important, especially in today’s tough environment; much more important is to be very clear what exactly do you want.  If somebody happens to offer you an elephant for 100 bucks, are you going to buy it? Certainly not! Similarly, if the price of bread is doubled, you will still buy it. First, decide on your requirements, make sure that you don’t compromise on that and then certainly ensure that you get it at the lowest possible price.

Even after freezing the specifications, you may find some offers which do not appear to be logical. It is very common to just accept it without understanding the reasons for this undercutting.  It may not be a wise decision.  You might say that it is the problem of the supplier how does he manage it; but in fact it does affect you ultimately. Nobody is here to do social service and no supplier is going to do business at a loss (except for certain short term strategic moves.) The supplier / service provider is bound to recover it from the (not very visible) foundation of your Taj Mahal only. Take care!
Ashok Grover, Founder CEO of Ashok Grover Consulting is an expert in people assessment and focused executive / leadership coaching. He is also Director at Skillscape, a company with a vision of Value Creation by enhancing people and organizational competencies.

His last assignment was with the JBM Group as Corporate Chief Human Resource Officer. He has four decades of experience in operations, materials, information technology and people development with Parle Group, Mohan Meakins Group, Hawkins Cookers Limited and JBM Group.