Training from BWN

Negotiation Skills

Buyers Hone Negotiation Skills in International Training Course

On the heels of the Shoe Review Meeting hosted by China Footwear Services in Guangzhou, a group of buyers from across the Bata organization had the opportunity to sharpen their negotiation skills.

The 19 buyers met at the CFS Training Center over the weekend, on November 15 and 16. They will bring their new knowledge home to a wide array of Bata companies: Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa, Bolivia, Colombia, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh and CFS.

The two-day course was tailored to the needs of buyers, with the focus on helping them improve the way they negotiate win-win deals.

They were guided toward this goal by course instructor Andrew Cavanagh. He has over 20 years’ experience as a buyer and merchandiser at the leading Australian department store Myer, formerly Grace Bros. He also spent six years designing and developing in-house training programs at the Australian Centre for Retail Studies and has worked with many of the region’s leading retailers.

Experienced training facilitator Jim Livingstone of Northpoint Training was also on hand.

On the agenda were topics including the Fundamentals of Negotiation, Communication and Influencing Skills, Phases in Negotiation, Tactics of Effective Negotiation and Closing the Deal.

The sessions required a high level of participation from buyers. Activities included role play, with groups of “buyers” and “suppliers” going through the merchandising process. Communication skills were emphasized with an activity in which participants jointly completed a complicated task while sitting back-to-back.

After the conclusion of the course, the participants gave it rave reviews.

Shahed Ibne Mahbub, brand manager at Bata Bangladesh, found the course so exciting he called it a roller coaster ride. “Never a dull moment! The training encouraged participants to dig deep and deliver their best. The course was insightful, encouraging new and veteran merchandisers – and costing managers – to reevaluate their approach to their own trading partners while bolstering them with the skills needed to excel further in their respective functions. Both Jim and Andrew were spot on with their course materials, relevant examples and dry wit! The truth is, we would be hard pressed to find a better duo for the job! Sincerely look forward to more such initiatives from Bata and CFS in the future.”

Paula Andrea Saldarriaga, ladies category buyer for Bata Colombia, also enjoyed various aspects of the training course, including the chance to share with and learn from peers. “I realize that in spite of having the opportunity to negotiate almost every day, we need to improve our communication methods and take on board that poor communication makes us get into a lot of trouble and creates obstacles to efficient work. And the most important thing in my personal opinion is to understand that if we want to have a strong relationship with our suppliers we need to seek our benefit as well as theirs also.”

Augustine Mufute, merchandising manager at Bata Zimbabwe, enthused, “I’m very much thankful and excited by the course, which is by far one of the best programs I have ever attended! This course imparts a huge amount of knowledge in a very interactive and exciting manner which will surely benefit me, my company and colleagues after implementation.”

Cavanagh himself offered this expert nugget to Bata World News: “Whether it is attempting to get additional money for product, a better-value offer from a supplier or just to decide whether you or your spouse cooks dinner, there is one essential skill required: negotiation. The difficulty with developing that skill is that every negotiation is different. The only way to teach it is to explain the principles and the process and then to practice.”

He found the group of Bata buyers very enthusiastic. “I look forward to seeing them all reap the benefits in their businesses!”


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