Heads-up to the procurement professionals. They deserve respect as they need to constantly navigate between their company’s financial requirements, the ever-increasing costs of a running operation and the significant investments made with their suppliers.

However, far too often and especially at year-end, we see rebate and discount practices in the market.

Out-of-the-blue requests are made to reduce agreed pricing, without any clear justification. As the overall cost cut towards suppliers comes directly from the board, there is little margin to maneuver for everyone. In my opinion, these companies are building a self-destructing reputation.

With some improper pride in their voices, rebate naggers confront you with:

Last year we’ve achieved a 120M€ saving from re-negotiations with our suppliers, we need to repeat the exercise this year

You are 15% overpriced compared with current market conditions. So, …

We need all our suppliers to give in 7% on their actual conditions

Some of these requests even originate from companies that have been barely affected by covid-19. So, there's no pressing justification to squeeze the lemon.

How to deal with these rebate naggers? Sharing a few options here:

1. Prove the ROI of your partnership, including your professionalism in pre-sales, delivery, accounting, helpdesk, …

2. Shift the focus to other KPIs. Procurement professionals never squeeze their suppliers; they value benefits such as: proactivity, scalability, financial solidity, proximity, ...

3. Dare to say 'no' in price-only discussions, and walk away.

I personally increase our fees with 10% when rebate naggers cross our path.