Everything is Negotiable – Even Mid-Contract

Tony Greenberg, CEO of RampRate (http://www.ramprate.com/ and DeepStrat (http://www.deepstrat.com/) discusses contract negotiations. Read how to review with your manager, and get the contract you want.

  1. Read every word to avoid a default contract boilerplate
  2. Negotiate your MSA for flexibility & risk reduction
  3. Negotiate the order form to ensure size, time, price & model are correct
  4. Don't hesitate to re-negotiate even the next day

We’ve all heard the address, the customer is always right. Well, that doesn’t mean that the vendor is always wrong. What it means is that there could be a lack of parity between what the buyer wants and what the seller is selling. As a result, everything is negotiable during the contract. So many people wait around until the contract ends. And there’s pressure. And there’s time to deal with the things that don’t want to be dealt with. The sales guy’s trying to close the deal. The customer isn’t ready. Throw it out to the window. Everything is negotiable even mid-contract.

The first advice I say is the default contract boilerplate is your worst outcome. It’s your enemy. Read every word because it’s the guidelines under which you’re going to live.

The second, negotiate your Master Services Agreement to the flexibility and risk reduction that makes you comfortable and agile as a business.

Never commit to as much as you’re going to use. Only commit to about half as what you’re going to use because you want the flexibility to have a (do-all) vendor strategy to maximize getting both teams and both vendors to work to your benefit.

The next is to negotiate the order form to get size, time, price and the model correct. And any percent of cases that we see are wrong and you know why? Because people are negotiating for the end of the month. The same time when every other sales guy is bringing in every other deal, legal representation inside of the service firms is in scarce form, and there’s no possibility to get a real attention. Everyone is driving because everyone is laid on getting this deal done -- the sales guy, the legal teams, the operations, the footprint? Do things mid-month.

Next, when negotiating for this change even the day after, there’s an interesting balance between vendor and client. Both of us either want each other or hate each other. If you hate each other, figure out a way to separate. If you really provide value, then get the parity in place.