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A huge misconception is that it costs telecom providers a lot of money to provide service. In reality, the overhead is very minimal compared to the cost of the consumer, requiring them to maintain their own servers while paying the staff that help them run. According to a study from Compass, telecom costs constitute about 1 to 2 percent of a company’s sales, a representation of real money for a multi-billion dollar global corporation. With this considered, negotiation of a service contract is crucial, subliminally flexible, and hardly in black and white. Always keep in mind that your continued business is worth much more than discouragement, which equates to zilch in the long-run. Service providers are open to negotiation, and nothing is written in stone – until you agree to the contract of course. Make sure in reaching that end you are completely satisfied – check out a few ways to ensure that:

Strategize: Compare it to an athlete amping themselves up before a big game, watching tape and noting trends and tendencies. This is exactly what you’ll need to do before you hit the negotiating table. Educate yourself on emerging technologies, read reviews, and most of all, get a sense of what the market-based price might be for these offering. Read contract terms in advance – they are generally available on most sites, and can be requested from providers if so desired. Better yet, seek a trial period to ensure that the subscription is an appropriate fit for your organization. There’s nothing more devastating than being locked into a contract you’re not quite pleased with. The bigger the company, the more flexible things will be in negotiations – ask questions and take advantage.

Scrutinize: In continuation of the previous section, don’t use the published contract as the basis for your negotiation. Rather, use it as a point of reference and attempt to shift things in your favor. Read all clauses and stipulations thoroughly before you make the motion for signing up. Additionally, not all companies abide by ‘beating competitor prices’, but you can surely get them close. Discounts, free installations, and sign-on bonuses are a few of the many perks that come with persistence. Once you’ve moved beyond the negotiation stage, that window becomes smaller and eventually closes on these opportunities, so push for them as soon as you can – it’ll mean big savings and more functionality out of the box.  Here are a few more foci:

  • Notice a service you definitely won’t use? See if it can be eliminated in exchange for a discount or feature you will use.
  • The best of contracts escalate penalties for outages. Discuss company policy to get your provider on-board, so you don’t lose business, and neither do they. Giving out free service is not something any company is quick to jump at, and reliability is important for reasons that don’t need mentioning.

You Better Shop Around: The journey doesn’t end here – have a few options on hand in case you hit a stop sign or dealbreaker along the way. Enlist the help of a third-party to coach you through the process, from start to finish. Attempt to figure out “hard” and “soft” spots, as in the firm policies, and negotiables, respectively. Best and final offers only exist on television, so never accept them as absolutes. Make this process into a stringent contest, in which the prize is your business. As the judge and jury throughout, affirm that this victory will not only be sweet, but cost efficient and perfect for your business indefinitely.

Related Articles:
– User’s Choice: Contract vs. Non-Contract VoIP
– What Businesses Should Look For in a VoIP Provider