The Importance of Building Great Relationships with Suppliers
People buy from people, not businesses. It sounds simple, but the relationships that you form with your suppliers are built around a complex web of trust, investment of time and potential future gains. Great businesses need good, reliable suppliers and the relationship between the two should flow both ways.
Surprisingly, even though the benefits of supplier relationship management are simple to understand and widely accepted, the average maturity level of these relationships is low. Commonly there are a few faux pas that people make when considering building good relationships with their suppliers and maybe you are doing one or more of them without knowing...
- You have chosen the wrong supplier
Like the frog who sits in the pan of water getting hotter and hotter and not realising until boiling point, you may be currently dealing with suppliers that are not good for your business. Sure, they provide a service or product that you consume, but are they a pleasure to deal with? Can you get a better service elsewhere? Do they take your business for granted? If you answered yes to any of these questions, maybe you need to consider different options before investing in the long term relationship with them.
- Your rapport is bad
Business is always a two-way street. Good clients who have good suppliers go hand in hand. A good consumer who always pays on time and at a fair price is likely to receive a better service. The mutual respect and considerations built up here should be to the long term advantage to both of you.
- You don't communicate enough
Again it is easy to fall into the routine of only dealing with suppliers when necessary. But relationships in the real world are not built on essential interactions. Building solid relationships need foundations made out of respect, transparency, effort and an investment of time. Checking in with your key contact at a supplier to keep them updated with your expectations and predictions of the market and swapping notes is a sure-fire way to influence your relationship positively.
- You don't refer business to them
Referrals in business are massive. To have your organisation prevalidated by another consumer and have them pass business in your direction is one of the easiest wins. Have you referred any of your services that you're happy with to others? If you have done in the past, do you let them know that you passed on this recommendation? It could be very beneficial to your relationship to be transparent about this and tell them as they might do it for you too!
- You don't show enough loyalty
The grass can always look greener from some angles, but there is a difference between choosing the wrong supplier and not giving a relationship the time to succeed. You are part of this relationship too, and finding a supplier to work things out with so they know your needs, wants, desires and fears could be very beneficial towards meeting your business goals. If you decide that the grass could be greener with someone else, show your loyalty to your current supplier first by offering them the chance to match the price or change their process to accommodate your needs first properly, loyalty in this respect could go a long way.
For us, it is our mission to treat every organisation whom we work with like they are our only customer. Through this, our clients have received many benefits which they have communicated over the years, which include:
- Being able to reduce costs and complexity of their operations through being able to supply them with more than one training service
- The quality that they receive is consistent through our services compared to multiple vendors supplying multiple services
- The reduced cost to manage suppliers through single point account management
What relationships do you want to invest in with your suppliers?
Which supplier do you know you need to change today?
How can you leverage your relationships as a supplier for your clients?