When running a small business, building positive relationships is a must. Your vendors are someone you absolutely rely on and the only way to fulfill all your goals is to have vendors you enjoy working with. A strong relationship with your vendors can result in discounts and their willingness to go above and beyond when necessary. But how exactly do you nurture a healthy relationship with your vendors? Listed below are five ways you just can’t go wrong with.
Make payments on time
Just like you, your vendors depend on the money they get from their customers. Maintaining positive cash flow is essential for their operations which is why they prefer doing business with customers who pay on time and respect all agreed-upon conditions. Therefore, it’s a good idea to do everything in your power to make payments on time and get a “most trusted” status in the eyes of your vendors. Do this and you can expect them to put in extra effort when you need rush deliveries or different requests from what they usually get. Also, when they know you make all your payments on time, they might also be ready to renegotiate a better deal for you, allowing you to increase your profit.
Make sure they understand your vision
The difference between vendors who really understand your business and those who just go through the motion of filing orders is huge. When vendors know what your business is all about and what you’re trying to achieve, they might even come up with ideas how they can help you even more. Moreover, they’ll have a better insight into what your business needs and might try to shape their product and service accordingly. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to update your vendors on how your business is doing and meet with them on a regular basis. When hosting a business event, make sure they’re among the first people to receive invitations.
Have a vendor manager
Maintaining a positive relationship with your vendors requires a lot of work. In case you’re too busy with your core operations, it’s very important to have someone who’ll be in charge of it. The best part of it is that you don’t need to hire a new employee for this. Instead, choose a staff member with good communication skills and make them a single point of contact within your business. That way, your vendors will know exactly who to turn to when they need information. Provide your manager with all vendor contracts templates they might need and ensure they keep a record of their communication with your vendors.
Don’t point fingers
Another thing that can have a huge impact on your relationship with your vendors is the way you handle any mistakes they make. Although a mistake from your vendor can hurt your operations a lot, there’s no need to point fingers. Try to deal with the situation as calmly as possible and focus on moving on. Have your vendor manager work with their employees and figure out what caused the mistake. That way, they can help ensure the same mistake doesn’t happen again. Assigning blame in situations like this only creates tensions and makes everyone feel uncomfortable. However, if mistakes continue to happen, acting on it might be necessary.
Refer them to others
No matter what kind of work your business does, chances are you meet plenty of other business owners. Referring them to your vendors can do wonders for your business. Not only will your vendors be happy to hear that you trust them so much but they might also be ready to offer you a better deal since you’ve helped them make more sales. Just make sure you trust both parties before making any recommendations. Once you’re absolutely sure you can trust your vendors, you can start recommending them to other business owners out there. This will help you build even more relationships in the business world and allow your business to grow.
Your vendors are more than just someone you work with, they’re your business partners and building a positive relationship with them is something you should put a lot of effort into. Do this and you can be assured they’ll offer you the best pricing arrangements and help you when there’s an increased customer demand.