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An accident waiting to happen

Stephen White
Accident Converted Recovered

I once pitched for a big contract with a logistics company. The pitch meeting seemed to go fine, the PowerPoint was well received and the questions I was asked contained lots of buying signals. It seemed like what we were offering was exactly what the client wanted and needed. Then one member of the panel started a question. ‘This contract is for a lot of training courses’ he said ‘Can you…….’. He got no further because I interrupted him. This was obviously the inevitable push for a discount. I explained our pricing structure and our policy on negotiating our fees. He looked irritated.

When I finished my explanation he said tersely ‘That wasn’t my question. I wanted to know what manpower resource you have if we wanted the courses in a condensed timeframe. Seems to me you might not be the supplier we are looking for’.

We didn’t win the contract. Post-pitch analysis, which took place in my car by myself driving back to the office, essentially comprised of my disbelief that I could have been so stupid and a vow never to interrupt a question again. But I also wondered if, during the client’s post-non-deal analysis someone wondered if punishing my mistake provided the best outcome for them. They were going to have to buy from another supplier, perhaps one which couldn’t offer the elements which made Scotwork a perfect fit for them.

A lose-lose outcome.


Situation - What would you do?

A Buyer asks a major Supplier for a breakdown of a price increase which the Supplier intends to apply.

The Supplier provides the breakdown. From experience the Buyer believes that the breakdown detail is genuine.

In the middle of a meeting to agree the price increase the Buyer spots that for one important element the Supplier appears to have miscalculated to the advantage of the Buyer.

If the calculation had been correct the price increase would be significantly higher.

As the Buyer what do you do?


Find out the answers to this question and six others in our new Book, which also includes advice and life experiences from Scotwork UK Chairman and Negotiation Expert, Stephen H. White.


Click here to download the 'Controversial Tales of the Unexpected' Book.

Stephen White
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