Every business needs vendors who can supply them with what they want and need. Why, then, are so many customer/vendor relationships often adversarial, or non-complementary? It is puzzling, yet true. Changing this oppositional approach is a matter of deliberately redefining the customer/vendor relationship.
Your message to your vendors should be that you need their help to succeed. It starts with the value your company places on business relationships, and realizing the necessity for establishing clarity regarding what is important. Quite simply, it is a matter of integrity, honesty, trust, loyalty and respect.
Get to know your vendors, as you would your customers. Ask your vendors to help you improve your business by suggesting additional products or services they can provide to assist you in reaching your goals. Demonstrate your respect, trust and loyalty to your vendors by including them in your company’s plans for growth and development.
Invite your vendors to your company meetings. If you are a small company with just a few employees, it works the same way. Ask your vendors to kick around some new ideas with you, and get someone from your team to work directly with someone from theirs.
Learn as much as you can about the array of products or services your vendors offer, and not just the ones you have historically purchased. Visit their production, warehousing or training facilities and become familiar with their process. Try to gain an understanding of their challenges in providing the products or services you use.
What happens when you do business in this manner is that people begin to develop relationships which promote consideration for understanding one another’s capabilities and limitations.
Collaborating and sharing ideas strengthens common objectives and invites creativity. When vendors and customers work together, it facilitates moving forward and discovering new avenues for mutual growth. Make it a relaxed and enjoyable experience to communicate with your vendors.
Turn the tables of the traditional customer/vendor relationship. Love all of your vendors, all of the time, in all interactions. Let them in on your company’s goals and dreams. Show them you believe in their contribution to your company’s success, and trust their judgment.
Make it easy for your vendors to be your vendors. It just might prove to be one of the best business decisions you have ever made.
Douglas Crotty is a business consultant and freelance writer. His business writing interests include: customer/vendor/competitor relationships, organizational continuity, and core values in business relationships. He writes about topics within and outside of the business arena. Contact Doug @ 352-213-2555 or email@example.com.