I am often shocked and amazed at the prices people are paying for subscriptions/services. Believe it or not, schools pay different prices for the same products. There is usually a deal to be made, and here are a few simple tips to make certain you are getting the best deals out there.
Make some online connections who also work at schools. Setup a shared spreadsheet. Have people add the products they use. Do not ask them to list prices, many terms of service prohibit publishing that type of data. When you see people using the same solutions that your school uses, privately confirm what pricing they are getting.
Dealing with sales people is easier if you already know the answer to the questions.
Ask for MultiYear Deals
Any service or subscription that your institution considers a core solution should not be on an annual renewal. Not only are you wasting time and paperwork, but you are wasting money.
Ask for pricing for one year, three years, and five years. Look at the terms of payment and cancellation. It is often very surprising what the final cost is compared to the simple annual renewal. I usually look at three year deals as they are usually more flexible.
Find Competition, and Make it Known
Regardless of how much adoration there is for a service, remember, business is business. Services close down and sell-out all the time. When a company sells-out, they do not call your school to ask what you think. Companies are in business to stay in business.
Schools should always look for competition for products and services they are using. Schools should always have someone doing research and demos before renewals. Schools should not pay invoices because of an emotional connection.
It is an excellent idea to inform companies that you are looking for other solutions and doing due diligence.
Sales people know the game, and know who they are playing against. Most good sales people tend to know their competition’s pricing models and margins. Sales people will make better offers, package additional features, and push for better terms from their bosses when they know a competitor is involved.
Avoid the Shopping Cart
The listed website price is rarely the best deal. In fact, many good products require a quick form/survey to be completed before they issue a quote. These companies want to have the chance to offer not only the best price, but the best options; options that someone buying from an online shopping cart may skip.
I am not saying this is always the case, but I always contact the sales team to reconfirm the pricing, and deals.
Skip the cart, send a message first.
Need help or more information dealing with a vendor/service? Have a service you need to move away from, but you feel locked in?
Send me a personal email and we can review some additional strategies. (firstname.lastname@example.org)