As a business owner, you are a customer yourself to the various suppliers and vendors that provide you with your equipment. This is a significant relationship. Just imagine losing a supplier on the eve of a big contract. You’ll end up scrambling for resources as you try to meet your quotas. Plus, suppliers are also the source of your equipment so you’ll want to get a good relationship with them. So here are a few tips on how to make it better for you:
Set Clear Expectations on Both Sides
One of the first things you should clear up with your supplier is what exactly you expect from them and what they can expect from you. This can range from how often you expect an update from them to whether you are looking for the latest in a particular field. You might be looking for deep discounts or prefer high quantities of a given product.
For example, most suppliers of industrial water pumps will be able to provide you with the latest pumps, but you shouldn’t expect a significant discount. Maybe just a little but if you’re looking for the newest technology, then you’ll need to pay a premium. Setting expectations ensures that both sides don’t end up getting disappointed.
Touch Base Regularly
Another part of creating a stable relationship with your supplier is that you should be emailing or calling them up regularly. It’s not just for updates on your supplies but to also know more about new trends and technologies in the field. Suppliers are where new products arrive, and that means they most likely know what is new. For example, if you’re a medical clinic, your supplier will most likely get the latest medical products. Being updated on what they can do will allow you to use the latest in the field.
Be Respectful of Their Time
Remember that you’re not your suppliers’ only customer. Don’t expect an immediate answer to your e-mail. Give them a few hours or so. You should also not waste their time. If you can convey a message in a single paragraph, then do so; no need to write an essay.
As part of respecting their time, you should avoid contacting your supplier via an e-mail when it is not their office hours or when the weekend is coming. If the matter is urgent, then it will be better to call them up so that it can be resolved directly instead of waiting for the e-mail to be opened.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Money
Your relationship with your supplier is based around you paying them. If your payment is going to be delayed, don’t be shy. Be upfront about it so that you and your supplier can discuss payment options. If you’ve had a long relationship with your supplier, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Working with your suppliers is a necessary part of your business. With the tips above, you can ensure that your relationship with them is going to be much smoother. Your vendors are part of your team, and creating a better connection with them can result in good things for you.