Practical ways a virtual assistant can help you get the best deal
Where to start
Business is all about providing services and products, and no matter what your business is there will come a point where you will need to use the services of other companies. Getting all the details of those contracts right is crucial to making your business a success. There are a lot of elements to sort out, and a professional virtual assistant will make sure that you don’t miss a single one.
Do your research
An outsourced administrative assistant has the time to do the background research necessary to ensure that you know all the facts. Here’s an example of some of the ways initial planning and analysis can improve your chances of getting a good deal:
- Market research will allow you to shop around for companies who provide services or products closest to the ones you’re looking for.
- Research on individual suppliers will let you know whether they have a monopoly on their market or whether they have some competition. This information will be useful in understanding the supplier’s position in the negotiating stage.
- Asking around for recommendations from previous clients gives you an unbiased view of how smooth the service was, and will also give you an idea of the quality and pricing of services or products.
Shopping for suppliers will not only give you options, but it also increases the competition if you have a supplier already – this will encourage your current supplier to either keep their prices competitive or throw in extras to sweeten their deal with you. Time spent doing market research is invaluable in the long term for getting the best prices.
Preparing for a negotiation properly is key. A virtual assistant can make sure you’re ready by preparing the information that you will need for the meeting, including:
- Consolidating your goals so that you have a clear visual guide for the meeting’s objectives
- Setting out the details of what your business is and isn’t prepared to compromise on, such as price, payment terms, the standard of product/service required, and delivery.
When it comes to transcription, a virtual assistant can also type up your notes from the meeting and summarise key points so that you have a clear record of all your negotiations.
Get what you need
Once your in the room, keep these tips in mind:
- Remember to negotiate fixed terms so that you won’t be caught out by extra charges later on
- Ask what is included at any given price, and ask the suppliers to remove any features of the deal that you won’t be using – and get them to cut their prices accordingly
- See if you can negotiate a discount if you’re buying in bulk, or you require a lot of work to be done
- Ask if training is provided when buying new equipment or software
- Don’t be pressured by the supplier into agreeing a deal prematurely
- Make sure the supplier is happy so that they will want to do business with you in the future, and will give you a good name in their industry
Time to sign
Once you’re happy with the details of your deal, the next step is making it official. Drawing up contracts requires a lot of effort from both parties, and you’ll save a lot of time by utilising a virtual assistant. Your VA can:
- Pull together the initial heads of terms from the details of the negotiations
- Arrange for an industry-approved legal representative to draw up a contract if required
- Make last minute checks to ensure that there are no hidden charges in the supply deal
- Ensure that exit and dispute clauses are included so that if anything goes wrong there are clear timeframes and consequences set out on paper
- Credit check your suppliers to ensure they have the necessary cash flow, especially if it is a long-term contract
- Ask for references from previous clients and the company’s financers
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