I'm not a Christian, but I am curious how you guys would handle this situation:
I've recently had to evaluate software packages from two competing vendors. It struck me that one fundamental aspect of price negotiation is to deceive the other party regarding the upper limit how much you're willing to spend for the purchase.
(more after the break...)
For example, suppose they're willing to accept anything > $10,000, and you're willing to pay anything less than $15,000. Then your job is to make thing think that the most you're willing to pay is around $10,000.
Also, playing the two vendors off each other can be an effective strategy. This is especially effective if you can prevent the two vendors from discovering what each others' price quotes are. Bonus points if you let vendor A believe that vendor B's most recent offer was more attractive than vendor A's was, regardless of how you really feel about the two vendors' most recent offers.
Now, some additional details that may be relevant to the discussion:
1. The market is very small, and the products are similar but not identical. So there's no such thing as a "fair price" that I can see here. There's certainly no "fair price" that's established by the market, because the product isn't a commodity, and because there's no public record of what other people have paid for the products.
2. This is my employer's money, not my own. So any generosity to which I might be predisposed seems to be irrelevant.
How would you negotiate with the vendors in this case?