More often than not we see first-hand the damage caused between customers and suppliers by the lack of communication on both parties. Here are some tips to ensure you maintain a healthy working relationship, in time benefiting your business:
- Schedule regular appointments with your suppliers – This will keep them up to date on your business and allows you to deal with tasks at hand, not things you have been dwelling on for 3 months. This will allow them to assist you in a timely manner.
- Utilise this relationship to your advantage- Your supplier may not know the ins and outs of your business, but they will have a very good idea on local and national market trends, what works and what doesn’t. After all a stupid question is easier and cheaper to fix than a stupid mistake!!
- Be Open with Pricing- If your current supplier’s pricing is not on par with market levels, rather than assuming the worst and jumping ship, organise a time to discuss this with them. They may surprise you and be happy to compromise prices to suit you both. Suppliers are not always aware of what is happening until clients have already moved away, so it’s always best to be open. Keep in mind that the grass is not always greener on the other side!
- Inquire about their development plans – This will give you ideas that you can use to develop your own services as well as information on possible new services that your business can benefit from.
- Define clearly what you want – Often suppliers are accused of a poor outcome through loss of translation between multiple parties. Make sure that you the business owner or relevant manger is driving these meetings and supplier agreements. The wrong way to handle it is by passing this onto general staff. The best way for them to look after your needs is to know exactly what they are!
- Ensure there is trust – If you are unable to trust your current supplier enough to assist your business, whether it be for a particular product, pricing and markets, or industry trends, it’s time to find a new supplier!! We are all in business for a reason – to make a living – but a good supplier will also have your business’s best interests at heart.