My name is Filip Nyman and I'm part of Metso and the Procurement team at the Trelleborg DC-organization in Sweden. My position is divided up between two main areas. The first is daily routine ordering from our global agreements with selected suppliers and the second one is finding potential cost savings and improvements in terms of the local agreements and suppliers who we are responsible for. Another very important task is monitoring open orders and various KPIs to ensure we deliver the goods as confirmed to our customers.
From time to time, I will be highlighting various topics that catch my interest in my posts here on the blog. Don't hesitate to send me an email if you have any questions or just want to drop by for a chat.
During my time at the University I was taught very thoroughly and clearly about different business theories, strategic decisions and everything in between that involves the real world – as the academic world sees it. As the years passed from my freshman year to when I was a "soon-to-be" graduate, me and my classmates started silently discussing the real world, not the world according to textbooks. We quickly realized that everything is not a theory that can be put into Xs and Ys in different formulas. There are actually people out there.
This was an idea that I reflected on more and more the closer to graduation I got. Since I had decided that purchasing and procurement was my area of interest, it was inevitable that sometime the day would come when I would negotiate terms and prices with people with vast experience and who would most likely be older than me. A concern of mine was how I would get my voice heard. How could I avoid being outsmarted by senior sales reps and CEOs in the negotiating room?
What I've learned so far is that it's all about one thing, mindset. Your own mindset. The fear I was talking about with my classmates is a creation of one's own mindset, prejudices and perceptions about yourself. If you perceive yourself as junior in your role, the balance is already in favor of the other party, which gives them an advantage. If you perceive yourself this way, others will most likely perceive you as a junior as well, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Instead I've learned a few tricks that have helped me turn my initial perceived disadvantage to my advantage in my role as a purchaser. The first thing is to try and avoid talking about when you graduated and for how long you have been working at Metso, if possible. The second is, put yourself in the same mindset as you think your counterpart is in. If you combine these two I've experienced that the other party will find it more difficult to put you in a specific category and will focus more on what you have to say rather than their general perception of you.
So in the end, perceive yourself as you want to be perceived and treat experience with respect, but don't let it take over the room. There has to be some room for the new guys as well.