Wireless Contract Negotiation – Understanding the Priorities of Wireless Contract Negotiation

Many organizations fall into the same trap when negotiating wireless contracts – listening to the wireless carriers. All wireless carriers know where the savings opportunities are, and most importantly they know what you’re spending. Negotiating the buckets of spending that your carriers offer will only end you with an ineffective contract.

There are a few guidelines you should follow when negotiating with your wireless carriers.

Know your spend. The most critical rule is knowing your spend. You wouldn’t go into a gunfight without ammo would you? You must understand how much you spend on voice and data plans, feature charges, minutes used, equipment purchases and replacements, etc. You will not get an acceptable contract without knowing your spend and where to focus.

Ignore volume percentage discounts. I’ve seen many companies focus on volume discounts, but it’s the absolutely wrong approach. I guess it’s a bragging right to tell all your procurement buddies, “I negotiated 25% from Carrier X.” I’d much rather take the initial 20% offered and focus on rate plan, features, equipment costs. The extra 5% would only equate to $50K annually for every million you spend.

Focus on service charges. Like the guideline above, focus on the service charges. After all, it makes up most of your wireless spend. Negotiating $10 off your rate plan costs would equate to an annual savings of $120k for every thousand users you have. Much more savings than focusing on the percentage discount.

Negotiate out of service level contract terms. The carriers will push for service level contract terms of one or two years. Negotiate out of this if at all possible. A service level contract term will complicate your wireless management, or you’ll be hit with early termination fees. If a line is under a two year service contract and that user leaves the company, cancelling the service early could result in a $200 termination fee. It’s much wiser to give back some of volume discount percentage to eliminate the early termination fee issue. If you can’t negotiate out of this clause, you’ll need to ensure you manage wireless numbers and reassign rather than cancel.

Fight for fixed equipment pricing. Like service line contracts, you don’t want to manage upgrade pricing. Many carriers will subsidize the first piece of equipment heavily but force you to pay extremely high costs if replacing within a year or two. Paying $500 for a Blackberry three times because you have an executive who keep dropping them off his yacht is not fun. Try to negotiate flat pricing for equipment. Don’t focus on specific models, as they always change, but on classes. Put the responsibility on your carrier to offer devices in the same class or higher at the negotiated rate.

Look for other benefits. Does your organization have other needs? Are you looking at Wi-Fi for your locations, bar code scanners at your warehouse, Fixed Mobile Convergence? Work with your carriers to provide these services as part of your contract. It’s extremely difficult to get capital approval in today’s environment. Let your carriers fund your projects. Wireless carriers are happy to provide these added services as it carries over into more usage and more users. As long as it’s related to wireless, your carriers can help.

Speed is a strategy. How long have you seen wireless contract negotiations take? Six, eight, ten months or longer? What value comes out of these long negotiations? I’ve seen organizations in a year long contract cycle and only achieve 10% greater savings than the offers exchanged in the first 2 months of the contract.

To clarify my point, let’s assume the initial contracts offered the potential for $500k in annual savings. The additional savings over a three year contract (at 10%) would equate to $150k.

  • Initial Contracts Savings Potential Annually = $500,000
  • Monthly Savings Potential – rounded = $ 42,000
  • 10 Month’s of Savings Lost = $ 420,000

In this scenario, the organization lost $420k in savings to achieve an additional $150k. Now, you could argue that the organization will still get the $420k, it’s just pushed out farther. This is true, but when you factor in the amount of time and man-hours invested into the longer contract cycle the $150k in extra savings erodes pretty quickly. In any event, I’d rather start getting $42k in savings now and move on to the next opportunity.

The specific approach to a wireless contract negotiation varies based on your organization’s specific needs, but these guidelines will help you focus on the true savings opportunities.

PowerPoint Presentation Success – 5 Tips For Successful Presenters

Preparing your next PowerPoint presentation doesn’t have to be difficult. Yes, it’s true that the medium has its problems. But you can solve most of these problems by being more selective with the many choices that PowerPoint provides. Make choices that suit you and don’t be pushed into standard or inappropriate layouts. So when you are ready to prepare your next PowerPoint presentation here are five essential tips:

  1. Typeface and font. Choose a typeface that your audience can read on your presentation screen. Experiment with a serif typeface such as Times New Roman and sans-serif typefaces such as Arial and Verdana (Format: Replace Font). You want your words to be readable by your audience — so aim to use a font with a point size that is fully legible; 16 point or 18 point perhaps (Format: Font).
  2. Colors. Your choice of typeface color is also important (Format: Font: Color). Some colors will be less visible to your audience than others. Greens and reds can be indistinct on a white background. Blues and blacks have more visibility. Don’t forget to consider your background color scheme (Format: Background).
  3. Bullet Points. It’s the bullet point list that creates most problems for your audience. There are either too many bullet points, too many words per bullet or just too many lists in a presentation. They work best when you want to summarize or signpost direction. This is what we’ve done. This is where we are going.
  4. Images and video. Aim to use images as effective visual metaphors in your presentation (Insert: Picture). They will enhance and support your speech. Make sure that your pictures are big enough to fill the screen. Use video and audio files in your PowerPoint presentation when you have the opportunity (Insert: Movies and Sounds). It’s an ideal way to build interest and keep your audience engaged.
  5. Charts and graphs are key to many presentations (Insert: Chart). Remember to keep the charts big, without too much distracting detail. Don’t mix them with bullet points. It weakens their impact. Try to use the “build” technique (Slide Show: Custom Animation). Your chart can build itself as you speak — based on rehearsed timings or your mouse click. Very effective. Remember the point, turn and talk technique for PowerPoint charts. Point at the screen, turn to your audience and then make your point.

PowerPoint provides you with some exciting tools for your presentation to be truly successful. Visual and multimedia effects can be stunning with PowerPoint — helping you to make that all important audience engagement. Just beware the traps presented by too many palette choices and the standard text layouts.

Seven Steps To Negotiating Successfully

When you negotiate, do you use a system? Do you haphazardly jump into a negotiation without any planning or thought for what you might do if you hit roadblocks? In order to negotiate successfully, good negotiators prepare before a negotiation.

The information that follows outlines seven steps you can use to negotiate successfully.

1. Gather Background Information: When gathering background information, include the style, values, ethnicity, culture, demographics (younger negotiators on/using twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and their way of communicating, versus those that are slower to use these mediums) and other information that’s pertinent to that particular session.

2. Assess your arsenal of tactics and strategies: The more you’re aware of how to use the appropriate tactic with the appropriate strategy, applied at the appropriate time, the more options you’ll have and be able to execute during the negotiation.

3. Create Your Negotiation Plan: Consider the overall strategy you’ll use for the negotiation. Break strategies into tactics. Assess possible strategies the other negotiator might employ. Take into consideration the use of red herrings (Note: Red herrings are items that have little to no value to you that you position as having value, but items that possess real value to the other negotiator). Also consider how you might apply pressure to points (leverage) throughout the negotiation.

4. Engage in the Negotiation Process: Observe body language and mannerisms. This can be done in person, via the phone, and in writing (e-mail, etc.). Note the style in which the other person negotiates (i.e. friendly (let’s get along), reserved (I’m not quite sure how this is going to go and I’m apprehensive), hostile (I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours – the only way for me to win is for you to lose – I’m in the driver’s seat; it’s my way or the highway).

5. Closing the Negotiation: Be on high alert for the conclusion of what you think is an agreement, that serves as the opening of the next phase of the negotiation; in some cultures, this is a common practice. If you’re unsure of the other person’s sincerity, put deliverables into phases of the negotiation.

6. Conduct a Postmortem: Dissect the negotiation. Assess what went right – What could have been improved upon – What you learned from that person about negotiation styles – What lessons should be taken forth into other negotiations – What went wrong – Why did it go wrong – What could you have done differently – What prevented you from using a better tactic/strategy to allow you to gain control of the negotiation).

7. Create Negotiation Archive: Create an archive of your negotiations and store them in a repository. Set up keywords to cross-reference sections, tactics, and strategies in your negotiation write-ups, to be used for the extraction of quick ideas and serve as a resource, for future negotiations.

Whether you’re a negotiation neophyte or a seasoned professional, by using the platform of the “Seven Steps To Negotiating Successfully” as your negotiation foundation, you’ll be considerably ahead of the other negotiator… and everything will be right with the world. Remember, you’re always negotiating.

The Negotiation Tips Are…

• When negotiating, seek advantages that allow you to exploit your strength, but don’t disparage the other negotiator in your enthusiasm to obtain victory.

• When a negotiation outcome is less than expected, learn from the experience. Commit to getting better. Increase your knowledge of how to use the right tactic, with the right strategy(s), aligned with the right situation.

• Make sure you observe and control your biases when assessing the person with whom you’ll be negotiating.