Dawn Kristof Champney is president of the Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Assn., a Washington, D.C.-based trade organization that has…
Jul 16, 2013

Negotiations: Keeping Your Business Relationships Purring

American financier Martin Levin once said of negotiations, “If you’re going to skin a cat, don’t keep it as a house cat.”

His point: Successful negotiations lead to successful partnerships. If you get everything you want but in doing so “skin the cat,” you will most likely squelch your opportunities for future business.

We negotiate all the time—with our business partners, our coworkers, our spouses, our children, even ourselves. (If you exercise for 30 minutes today, you can have that piece of cheesecake.)

As a trade association, WWEMA finds itself in constant negotiations, whether externally with affiliate groups and government officials or internally among the membership. One of the best examples of this has been our participation in ConsensusDocs, a coalition of 39 associations in the design, construction, and manufacturing industries that have worked together to develop—through many hours of negotiations—a library of more than 100 standardized contract forms.

Per its website, “ConsensusDocs contracts incorporate best practices and fairly allocate risk to help reduce costly contingencies and adversarial negotiations.”

In other words, using these documents can help you, your business partners and your suppliers iron out sometimes contentious terms and conditions while keeping your relationships happy and purring. If you have not already familiarized yourself with the resources available through ConsensusDocs, I encourage you to check out the organization's website today.

While we are on the subject of negotiations, I am pleased to announce that WWEMA will be hosting attorney and experienced negotiation skills trainer Alan Fishel at its upcoming Finance & Contract Administration Council event, September 12 to 13 in Indianapolis. Fishel’s two-hour opening presentation will show participants how to successfully draft and negotiate favorable contracts—ones that lead to fruitful long-term business opportunities.

Registration is now open for the event, which offers training for anyone in the water and wastewater equipment manufacturing industry who deals with contracts—contract managers and administrators, financial officers, project managers, sales staff, etc. In addition to the session on negotiation skills, it includes presentations on “Handling the Top 5 Killer Contract Terms,” “Design-Build and Process Guarantees,” “Insurance and Indemnity” and “Surety Bonds.” It also will include an update on the latest efforts of the ConsensusDocs coalition. Click here for more information.