If all else fails and you’re unable to get an apples-to-apples negotiating chip, it’s time for a little creativity. Keep in mind that this next strategy can be cutthroat and changes the negotiation to “apples-to-oranges.”
Plead ignorance and insist your supplier match the discounts you’re getting with another supplier in the same product vertical. Tell the supplier you’re in negotiations with that a direct competitor is about to get more of your business because they’ve offered you a 20% discount (whereas they claim to only be able to give you a maximum of 15%). Again, are they going to lose your business over a discount they’re probably already providing to other accounts?
If you’re relentless in your pursuit for that discount and you still can’t get any lower, that may very well be their “floor.” When that’s the case, congratulations! You found it without having another point of reference going in.