The Truth About Getting the Best Price on Dental Supplies
Updated: Jul 22
When was the last time you negotiated prices with suppliers? Is your practice committed to purchasing from just one supplier? Or do you typically shop around every week looking for the best offers?
As a dental professional, going to the bargaining table and putting your negotiation skills to the test may not be your idea of fun - especially if you struggle to think of yourself as an entrepreneur.
But truth is, if you’re running a practice, you’re the owner of a dental business.
This means you have many business functions to oversee. And negotiating with suppliers is no different than managing your marketing, accounting, or customer service.
In this post, we’ll explain why supplier negotiations can benefit your practice a lot more than shopping around for the best prices on a weekly basis.
We will also guide you through 4 easy steps to drive down your dental supply expenses with successful negotiations.
Ultimately, we’ll explain how Invedent can help you find the best deals on supplies while also building positive business relationships with your suppliers.
Table of contents:
1. Why Does Your Dental Practice Need to Negotiate the Right Deal With Suppliers?
As they say, everything is negotiable.
In today’s competitive world, many people see negotiating as a zero-sum game. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Working to achieve win-win outcomes for your contract is the hallmark of successful negotiations that satisfy both sides.
Supplier negotiations are therefore mutually beneficial.
You might be asking yourself, “Why should I negotiate with suppliers instead of just finding the cheapest deals when ordering?”
Here’s the underrated truth about shopping around for the best prices: Buying at the lowest possible price is not always worth the effort.
While negotiating with your suppliers doesn't necessarily mean getting what you want at the lowest possible price, your practice can benefit from a well-managed supplier relationship in many ways.
Think - What makes a good supplier “good”? While price is important, there are many other key qualities to consider when selecting your suppliers, such as value, location, communication, delivery times, and payment terms.
If you shop around for the best prices from week to week, you risk ordering from a supplier that does not meet your needs (for example, a supplier that sets high freight costs unless you purchase a specific amount of items).
That’s why your dental practice should stick with one or a few suppliers rather than ordering from different suppliers based on the discounts and offers that are available.
To wrap it up, here are the main reasons why it is important for your practice to negotiate with suppliers:
● A mutually valuable relationship with suppliers can help you achieve long-term cost savings.
● As the relationship between both parties develops, your supplier gets to know more about your practice. This enables them to increase efficiency and easily resolve any issues that may arise.
● Good supplier relationships allow you to avail of discounts and other attractive deals.
● A well-managed relationship with suppliers results in increased trust and improved communication.
That being said, let’s explore some simple and effective tips for negotiation with suppliers.
2. 4 Simple and Easy Tips for Winning Supplier Negotiation
1. Understand how much stock you use on a yearly basis
In order for your practice to get the best price on supplies, it is important to understand how much stock you use per year.
Here is where effective dental stock management comes into play.
When you are using an automated dental stock management system, you get insights on how much stock you should be using so that you can know exactly what items you need to order and in what quantity.
Then, you can use all the data you collect to negotiate with your suppliers for the whole year.
Put simply, having access to relevant data enables you to predict stock levels for the coming year. This, in turn, helps you avoid sinking too much cash into unnecessary inventory, as you are able to negotiate only for the items you actually need.
2. Lock in a contract for a larger amount of items
Most of the time, suppliers offer you a discount for bulk orders.
This means that if you lock in a contract for a larger amount of items, they are likely to get you a better price. This is the easiest and most effective way to get cheaper prices on the items you need.
For this reason, it is extremely important that you understand how much stock your practice is using on a yearly basis (see tip no. 1).
When you know exactly what you need in a particular year and do not need to shop around fortnightly or monthly, you can order a larger amount of items for which your suppliers are likely to offer you a discount.
Note: Negotiating prices for the whole year is also saving your staff’s time as they do not need to regularly shop around for supplies. This, in turn, can help your staff members free up time for more important tasks around the practice.
3. Communicate clearly
So much confusion today boils down to poor communication.
Whether the negotiation process is in person, over the phone, or through a dental ordering platform, it is important that you establish clear and effective communication.
Seamless communication with your suppliers is key to ensuring the contract is “mutually agreeable”.
Be sure to respond appropriately, at the right time, and negotiate with a single point of contact.
This will allow you to build relationships based on trust, transparency, and mutual respect.
4. Keep an eye out for deals and offers
After you’ve negotiated prices with your suppliers, it’s good practice to keep an eye out for deals, offers, and special promotions over the year and check if they beat your negotiated prices.
That’s why a dental ordering platform (such as Invedent) can immensely benefit your practice as it enables you to stay on top of the best deals from your preferred suppliers.
Bonus tip: While most discounts are advertised upfront, there are also some discounts you can get by simply reaching out to your suppliers and negotiating the price for specific items.
For example, you may be able to get incentives for extending or renewing your contract.
Conclusion: Simple as that! You might have noticed from the list above that none of these actions require particular skills.
They’re mostly the outcome of putting effort into managing your dental inventory the right way and protecting your practice’s bottom line with conscious spending.
Remember, a good relationship between your dental practice and a supplier opens up the possibility of strengthening mutual benefits.
Even if you’re tempted to shop around for the best prices from week to week, negotiating prices with suppliers in advance and creating successful relationships with them is every bit as important as the relationships you build with your patients.
Want to start negotiating great deals with your suppliers? Invedent is Australia’s leading dental ordering and inventory platform designed to help you:
Find the perfect suppliers that meet your requirements
Find the best deals from your preferred suppliers
Select from over 30,000 different dental supplies
Reach out to different suppliers and compare prices in one place
Save $7000 per chair per year with effective ordering and stock management
Make your ordering and stock management processes faster, simpler, and more convenient
Looking for a quicker and easier way to purchase your dental supplies? Start your 30-day FREE trial with Invedent today and see how much it can help you increase revenues and improve time management!