A purchase price is a bit like an iceberg – what you see is not always what you get. This is particularly relevant to the B2B market. When negotiating price, take the time to identify the likely total cost of ownership (TCO). In some sectors, such as software, the purchase price may only equate to 10% of the true costs of your combined buying commitment. With the remainder 90% comprising a myriad of other cost commitments such as maintenance, onsite work, helpdesk support and mandatory upgrades. And this is without considering all the costs involved in getting to the contract stage, such as preparing your business case, negotiations and legal fees.  If your vendor is not being upfront about actual fees and charges, perhaps take it as a red flag. Carry out your due diligence. Ask existing or previous customers of your vendor about hidden costs and lessons learned. Make sure you know the full amount you will actually be paying over the life of your purchase, besides the upfront purchase price. It may be a lot more than you bargained for!

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