Vendor relationships are just as important as your relationships with your customers and staff.
The first major aspect to highlight in maintaining good vendor relationships is to set expectations. These are expectations that they will deliver you a quality product, in a timely manner, on the schedule that you set in place. In return, you will pay them promptly and care for the product once it is in your possession. When you set your expectations early on, you will be on the same page with them 99% of the time.
They’re on Your Team
The second major point is to remember that they are your teammate. As with any relationship, you have to communicate and compromise with each other in order to succeed. You can’t expect that they know everything about your business from the get-go. They will learn the ins and outs of what you need from them, and you will learn how they operate and prefer as well.
They Want to Help
The last point to maintain strong vendor relationships is to remember that your vendor is essentially your broker in the process of helping you find the best product at the best possible price. I had a vendor, Robbie, from SYSCO, who is probably the best vendor I’ve had. We worked together to source the best possible products from local regions. However, what made that relationship successful was that I made it known up front what I will and won’t accept when it comes to serving my customers. I wanted a higher quality product. And on the same token, he made it known up front that what he expected from me and my business, so we were able to work as a team toward the same goal. Ultimately, the customers got a superior product at a competitive price. If I had not worked with my vendor so closely to be able to execute the process, I would not have had nearly the success that I did.
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Written by: Kinzington McElvain