This is part of an ongoing series on negotiations. In this Business English Podcast episode, we’ll study how to open a traditional commercial negotiation between buyer and seller. We’ll focus on creating goodwill, starting off, setting ground rules, suggesting an agenda and exploring possibilities.
We’ll be listening to a telephone conversation between Tony, a supplier of building materials, and Paul, a purchasing manager for a large construction company in Canada. Paul is buying materials for a harbor project. A harbor is a protected area of water where boats dock, or park. For this project, Paul needs to buy anchor bolts. These bolts are the thick steel screws that are embedded or buried in concrete to support or anchor structural steel columns. Structural columns refer to the steel frameworks that hold buildings up.
This is the first time Tony and Paul have talked on the phone. As you listen, pay attention to the language they use to get the negotiation started, and try to answer the following questions.
1. How does Tony begin off the phone call to establish goodwill?
2. How long does Paul say he has available for the phone call?
3. Paul asks Tony how he will be using the bolts. How does Tony respond?
4. What other option does Paul want to explore with Tony?