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July 8, 2009
Guide to Negotiating Vendor Contracts
A veteran of vendor negotiations for law firm online and print contracts, Elaine Billingslea Dockens offers a detailed guide for vendor representatives (VRs) and law librarians inexperienced in the ways of vendor contracting in Vendor Pitfalls in Negotiating Large Multi-Year Contracts - or How to Lose a Million Dollar Contract (LLRX). Dockens writes:
During negotiations my goal is to control expenses and look for discounts (and still keep a quality product). The goal of the VRs include obtaining or retaining our business and making a reasonable profit. When we both - firm and vendor - come to the table prepared to get the very best deal for our side, then everybody wins. However, if one of the parties arrives at the table ill prepared - we both lose. The vendor will probably lose the business they could have obtained or retained and the firm loses the chance to seriously consider the vendor in comparison to other vendors.
The article includes commentary on vendor representative tactics Dockens has witnessed over the years that substantially decreased the success of the VRs to obtain or retain her law firm's business. Reading this section was déjà vu all over again. [JH]
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