And the latest is ...
Well the December rush is now behind us although not without the usual lessons, primarily that the end of year for some organisations (US corporates perhaps!?) offers much more opportunity for negotiation than you might otherwise get at other times of the year.
Keeping informed across the performance of such key (or where possible all) supplier companies provides an insight into just how much pressure there is likely to be on their sales and account teams, and it may well be timely to go beyond the usual boundaries for closing a deal. The 'last minute' can present a surprising transformation of firstly outlandish requests into what are suddenly 'our most valued partner' incentives - anything from an array of additional 'you need/must have' product to the inclusion of extensive 'our skins in the game' professional and/or project services (of course a mere placeholder without Key Personnel), to the real, last gasp, what about big '$$$' financial offsets (and think large - this year, capital 'L') real value, real money in YOUR pocket), all of which can make a borderline business case (and with unexpected funds in your budget, possibly others) pretty attractive to your executive/board.
So a useful tactic can be to defer those initiatives that are unlikely to get the go ahead until the vendors end of quarter - or preferably end of the financial year for most leverage - and really test what's on the table. As that time honoured saying of Project Management goes:
'if it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would happen!'