Before Signing the Dotted Line: Tips for Negotiating Your Telecom Contract
Your telecom contract is important to the life of your business. A well-structured contract provides the right communication solutions for a company and forms the backbone of a productive work environment.
Yet the nitty-gritty process of getting the right contract can be both a chore and a challenge.
To get the most out of your contract, explore opportunities on the market and use these tips to negotiate your telecom contract like a pro:
1. Know yourself
Nobody knows your business better than you. By clearly articulating your business’s needs, you can work together with your telecom carrier to secure a plan that is customized to your situation. Carriers have a much harder time meeting your business’s communication goals if they don’t know what those goals are to begin with.
2. Be proactive
Conversations surrounding your telecom contract should begin earlier than you may think. The right time to start telecom negotiations is six to nine months before your current contract expires.
If you were on the market to buy a new car, you would invest substantial effort into researching what’s out there, right? Treat your telecom contract no different. New technology is constantly on the horizon – by doing your own research before entering negotiations, you can get an idea of what new technologies may serve as solutions for your business.
3. Plan for the future
Your organization is evolving and so are your telecom needs. Contracts usually last at least two years, so it’s important to plan ahead. For example, you may be a five-person company now, but in two years, you plan to plan to expand by another 10 employees. You’ll want to make sure your contract is adaptable to accommodate those extra team members so that you aren’t paying additional installation fees. Make sure that your final contract provides for the growth and changes you’re anticipating for your company.
4. Don’t blindly jump for the savings
While carriers may offer you bundling options, not all telecom promotions are saving you money. Make sure your pocket isn’t leaking for services you don’t need. Also, keep in mind that third-party providers like RCG have the ability to source the best value from all carriers – meaning bundled services is far from the only way to secure real telecom value.
5. Make partners, not just payments
It’s important that your point-of-contact at your telecom carrier is more than a messenger. Build a relationship with an individual who will you feel is honest, dependable and proactive. As your relationship matures, you’ll build a better negotiation rapport and the harder conversations, such as discussing the risks and pitfalls of the contract, will be more comfortable. You’ll also know exactly whom to contact with questions, issues and contract renewals.
5. Read before signing the dotted line
Telecom contracts are often more than 50 pages long, but merely skimming the packet can be costly. Read the entire contract and make sure it is not set to auto renew after the first term. Auto-renewal agreements keep companies into a contract even after their term expires and can be legally hard to break from.
Also, be wary of short telecom contracts. Often, the two or three page document will contain dozens of links that contain valuable information that could make or break a deal.
If you still have questions about your contract after you’ve read through it, engage an attorney or telecom professional.
Don’t settle for a contract that doesn’t suit your business. The secret to negotiating your telecom contract is simple: Be firm with your needs and work with a reputable carrier.