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Negotiation is a delicate thing

About interviews, preparation for negotiations and empathy — a leading purchase manager of spare parts for foreign cars — Ekaterina Razumova.

First job after studying

I came to the company as a fifth-year student with no experience at all. And at that time it was great to work within the specialty, as a manager for the selection and development of personnel. I was absorbing knowledge like a sponge and constantly asked questions to more experienced colleagues.

At first, I selected candidates for working specialties, but nearly in half a year I began to be given higher positions: accountants, economists and lawyers. And approximately in two years of work, I was selecting employees for senior positions. Some interviews were held with the participation of the CEO, that was very interesting, and I got invaluable communication experience. And then I selected candidates for the position of purchase manager, and now I work in this position.

The most difficult search

When planning to open a warehouse in Kyiv, it was necessary to employ all the staff in a short time. For this, the department from Kharkiv went to Kyiv and spent two months in search and interviews. It was not easy, but, nevertheless, we launched a warehouse successfully. And now I am pleased that my colleague, who I interviewed for the position of storekeeper in 2012, became the head of the Kyiv warehouse.

100 negotiations per week

After two years of work in the recruitment and staff development department, I got into the purchasing department. And initially it was very difficult, because everything was new. I read constantly, studied the processes and technical nuances of spare parts. My mentor and colleagues helped me a lot with this. And the knowledge of the market of spare parts and the ability to understand people at the psychological level and ask the right questions were also useful.

Now, at this stage, I am responsible for all commercial issues with manufacturers: from discussing working terms to contract conclusion and reporting. And if we specify all this in numbers, then I have about ten telephone conversations per day, I answer about 100 business letters a week and hold about 100 negotiations with suppliers.

High-quality training is 90% of success

There is no secret of successful negotiations. All people are completely different, and besides, I work with representatives from all around the world. The main point is a quality preparation for each meeting. This is 90% of success. It is necessary to prepare all the information, understand what questions should be asked, what goals you are pursuing at the meeting and what questions the supplier may ask.

I value professionalism and determination in making difficult decisions most of all in business relationships. And, of course, empathy, when you feel what your opponent is concerned about, you understand his motives and you can consider it from his side. Thus you help to solve his immediate problems or understand what he needs. It is very important during the negotiations and helps to find points of contact for achieving the goal. And I do not get tired of the negotiations; in fact, I like to be in rhythm constantly. It happened to me more than once that today I come back from one business trip and, without sorting out my suitcase, the next day I go to another one. And I like it.

Three basic principles in work

The most important thing for me is empathy. And I appreciate honesty and mutual assistance in work.

Work and rest in pleasure

A cup of coffee and Belgian chocolate help me to get ready for work in the morning. But seriously, I start my day by drawing up a plan of tasks that I have to fulfil today. And then during the day I cross out the completed cases from the list.

As soon as I have the opportunity, I try to travel, study the culture of other countries. I always plan trips by myself, without a guide. It is very interesting for me to walk the route on my own, immerse myself in a culture, learn specificities and traditions. Therefore, the travel is the number one of rest for me. And I have already visited about 25 countries. In my spare time I go in for sports, watch movies and read original books in English.

Successful plans

My plans are to continue practicing in the English language, because there is no limit to perfection, and improve German knowledge. For this, I have the excellent role models — my suppliers, who know seven languages. And I have clear and understandable secret of success — you need to do what you like, and every day strive to achieve excellence in this matter.