Negotiating for the value you deserve

A breakfast session with Tom Kinnaird, MD of Kinnaird Negotiation

Negotiation outcomes can make or break your company. Founder and MD of Kinnaird Negotiation, Tom Kinnaird, delves into 25 years of experience as procurement leader and professional negotiator to highlight habits of great negotiators and outline marketing procurement future trends.

How to be a great negotiator

Based on Tom’s many years of teaching and coaching negotiation around the world, he observes that many agency leaders have only a superficial understanding of the skills and processes of negotiation, often based on intuition and experience rather than training. Additionally, there is little recognition of the key role that leaders play in setting the tone within the agency of “how we negotiate around here”.

Combine this with a generally poor understanding in agencies of the role, drivers and expectations of marketing procurement in client organisations, and we have a dangerous combination, which if left unchecked, risks leading to ever more commoditisation of agency services. Tom will argue that the leadership challenge is as much about behaviour change within the agency, as it is about skills development.

Tom’s talk will highlight the difference between value claiming (win/lose) and value creating (win/win) negotiation, and explore why a misunderstanding of what win/win actually means is at the heart of many to the commercial problems faced by agencies today. Tom will propose that having the confidence and willingness to say “no”, while still preserving client relationships, is an essential skill in negotiation, and one that the most commercially sure-footed agencies are already routinely doing. Additionally, Tom will highlight the three habits that differentiate great negotiators from the crowd, and draw parallels between these and the core skills of creativity and account management that already exist within agencies today.

Tom will explore what marketing procurement aims to deliver, and why, and will challenge the most common truism which is often aimed at procurement; “they only care about price”. Additionally, Tom will highlight likely future trends in marketing procurement and explore the implications for agency leadership.

Fundamentally, agencies cannot continue to do what they have always done commercially, and expect a different future outcome.

About Tom Kinnaird


Founder and Managing Director of Kinnaird Negotiation which he started in 2017, Tom Kinnaird has been a procurement leader and professional negotiator for over 25 years. For 15 years, Tom was Chief Procurement Officer at WPP, the world’s largest communications services group, with annual revenues of close to $20 billion, where he was responsible for leading WPP’s global procurement team. While with WPP, Tom co-founded the Accord initiative, designed to uplift the negotiation, commercial and pricing skills of leadership teams and individuals across WPP’s highly complex world of multiple marketing communications agencies.

Now running his own negotiation training and coaching business, Tom works internationally to assist agency leaders with negotiation skills development, as well as coaching individuals and teams through complex and challenging commercial conflicts with clients and suppliers. Tom has drawn throughout his career on real-life experience and collaborated extensively with leading academic experts and training partners in the field of negotiation.

Particular areas of interest include:

  • helping leaders to better understand Procurement in clients
  • promoting game-changing moves in negotiation
  • negotiation dynamics in competitive pitching
  • conflict resolution (internal and external)
  • exploring innovative ways of teaching negotiation
  • embedding negotiation learning and behaviours into organisations
Last updated 21 January 2022