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Negotiation - Basic Techniques for Telecom Expense Management

by Nermine Shaker

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Published on this site: September 10th, 2009 - See more articles from this month

Everyone has to negotiate at one stage or another. These negotiations could be in the form of promotions, sales calls, hiring, and more. For companies, negotiations are in the form of contracts, business deals and cost management. The rule of thumb for most negotiations remains the same although the situation, process, and result may be different.

Negotiation: Basic Techniques

  1. This is the most important aspect of any negotiation - never be unprepared. Understand the subject, your benefits and losses, and how the outcome will affect the organization.

  2. To maintain an advantage, try to understand what the other party may tend to ask for or believe in. Get as much information as possible on their stance on the subject, what they are looking for and also what they are expecting from you in the offer. Understand the rationale behind their negotiation to get a better insight into their negotiation tactics.

  3. Know the least you may need to settle for without incurring losses. You can also treat this as a yardstick to build up your negotiation tactics.

  4. Show an openness, flexibility and willingness to talk about the negotiation.

  5. Calmness and patience should be your armor. If you sense that you are losing control of yourself or the situation, take a break. Decisions made in anger are almost always wrong.

  6. Be as clear as possible with your terms and conditions.

  7. If you have the slightest instinct that someone is bluffing, insist on their providing the proof to support their claims.

  8. Stressing the common goals is a good way of keeping the negotiations workable.

  9. Listen attentively to understand better.

  10. Concentrate on one particular issue at a time.

  11. Do not consider negotiations as a win or lose proposition or that to win you have to take advantage of the other party. Remember negotiations are the basis of a long and, hopefully, fruitful relationship. Carrying over the animosity by cheating or taking advantage of each other will lead to failure in the long run.

  12. If the offer seems even remotely acceptable to you, finalize the deal immediately. Do not give the other party a chance to ponder over things.

Contract Negotiations

Contract negotiation is an intrinsic part of any business arrangement. This is especially true with telecom, since telecom and telecom expense management is vital to business operations and is usually among the top five company expenditures. The bottom line of any successful business venture depends on good communications systems controlled by expert telecom expense management.

Unfortunately, small and medium size businesses frequently do not consider contract negotiation a part of telecommunications management. Often, various people such as the office manager or a systems engineer or the IT or HR department handle the communications. While they may be skilled professionals in their fields, their knowledge and experience in terms of telecom contract negotiation is quite limited. Too often, the need to acquire or operate through a telecom management network is never considered.

By adopting and implementing telecom contract negotiation and control techniques, an average company can save 10 to 30 percent of their annual telecom expense. A professional in telecom expense management carries certain requisites to the negotiating table that a non-telecom professional may not have. People experienced in telecom contract negotiation know that the rate is not the only variable and that, in fact, many more costs can lie hidden in the terms and conditions of the contract. A telecom consultant or auditor that deals regularly in contracts would know the telecom rate traps.

The best way to know your telecom network requirements is to perform a thorough circuit and services inventory of local and distant data and wireless devices that you have and whether they are being fully utilized. Break down your telecom expenses to the minutest detail and understand your trends and needs. Modifying, changing or stopping services should be an ongoing process.

Also consider the refunds and benefits (and loss) from reducing services. A telecom audit will help uncover refunds due to invoice errors, lower certain ongoing expenses, and reveal techniques to improve or optimize existing telecom networks. Getting this done with experienced telecom auditors will reap many great benefits.

The next task is to eliminate unused phone lines. On average, a company with a 100-employee workforce has plenty of phone lines and some of them may remain unused over a period of time while the company is still paying for their service. This alone can run into thousands of dollars annually. Negotiating a workable deal with the telephone company is the best solution for these problems. Having a few negotiating techniques up your sleeve might make the job easier but having an experienced telecom professional on your side will guarantee the best results possible.

Nermine Shaker is a Partner at THE SYGNAL GROUP, a telecom consulting firm that offers telecom expense management, telecom auditing and VoIP management to businesses of all sizes. Find out how to lower your telecom expenses at http://www.SygnalGroup.com/ or visit our blog at

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