Prevent Backdoor Selling

Is Backdoor Selling Killing Your Negotiation Leverage?

by Erich Rifenburgh

Backdoor Selling is a real problem for the majority of enterprises.

Backdoor selling can be a silent killer of your B2B organization's negotiation power. But what exactly is backdoor selling? It's a sneaky social engineering tactic employed by suppliers or sellers to gain an unfair advantage before contract negotiations or sales competitions. Essentially, it involves extracting confidential or sensitive information about your buyers' needs, preferences, or budget.

Picture this: Your supplier's salespeople are banking on your front line team inadvertently sharing critical information that could tilt negotiations in their favor. While seemingly harmless, such shared information could result in the loss of millions during high-stakes negotiations. Who's at risk? Everyone outside of your procurement organization. Just think about the routine conversations your engineering, operations, manufacturing, or testing departments have with suppliers. It's alarmingly easy for them to innocently divulge seemingly insignificant details that could give suppliers an edge.

So, what steps can you take to safeguard against backdoor sales? Let's explore some effective strategies:

  1. Raise Awareness: Spread the word about this practice throughout your organization. Educate your entire team on the dangers and consequences of backdoor selling. By creating awareness, you empower everyone to be vigilant and proactive.
  2. Define Sensitivity: Clearly define what constitutes sensitive information. Provide guidelines to help your team differentiate between harmless details and data that should be kept confidential. This clarity will enable them to exercise caution in their interactions.
  3. Negotiation Principles: Equip your team with negotiation skills. Educate them on the fundamental principles and strategies to think on their feet during discussions. By arming them with these skills, they become better prepared to navigate tricky situations and protect valuable information.
  4. Case Studies: Share real-life examples of backdoor selling questions. Accompany these examples with suggested responses that help deflect or handle such inquiries effectively. Practical scenarios will empower your team with the right tools to counteract backdoor selling attempts.
  5. Supplier Engagement Monitoring: Make your suppliers aware that their interactions with your team are being monitored. This communication not only sends a clear message about your commitment to fair negotiations but also acts as a deterrent to potential backdoor selling attempts.

Now, let's talk about what not to do:

Don't Isolate Your Teams: Cutting off communication between your departments and suppliers isn't the solution. Collaboration and interaction between different stakeholders are vital for smooth operations. Restricting discussions to go solely through procurement hinders your suppliers' ability to fulfill their responsibilities. Instead, focus on education and trust-building. Educate your team about safeguarding sensitive information and encourage them to involve procurement when necessary. Trust that they will make the right decisions and act responsibly.

By engaging your team and implementing these preventive measures, you'll fortify your organization against backdoor selling. Foster a culture of awareness, collaboration, and strategic negotiation, ensuring that your B2B organization remains strong and secure.

If you would like to find out more about how to prevent backdoor selling in your organization, follow this link for more information.

Share this article:


Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.