How you approach your business’ suppliers should be a strategic plan in every business – whether selling products or services, all businesses are dependent on their suppliers. However, many business owners get this relationship backwards. To them, they are in a dominant position because they are the ones who write out the orders and checks; therefore, they can exploit this relationship by making unreasonable demands and even going as far as seeking personal perks.
It’s important you get something right – the relationship you have with your suppliers SHOULD be good if you want a reliable supply of products or services. When you find good suppliers, treat them like gold. Work hard at creating a mutually understanding and respectful relationship, just as you would with your customers.
Your suppliers do not only provide you with the services and goods you require to run a successful business, they are also critical sources of information, trade credit and advice. Be loyal to your best suppliers and you will be amazed at how your business’ growth and good health will accelerate. Here are a few ideas on how you can be a valued customer and someone every supplier wants to deal with.
Always Pay on Time
For the sake of emphasis, always ensure that you pay all your bills on time. You can always enter into a favorable payment terms agreement with your suppliers before placing your orders; however, once an order is processed, do not attempt to renege on the rules. You should consider making use of business credit cards to ensure that you pay suppliers on time in case of a cash flow problem, but make sure that you investigate the cards before taking them on by reading information sources such as the best cash back business credit cards review site.
If you have no other alternative but delay payment, call your suppliers and explain the situation and the likely day of payment. Do not play with your suppliers’ money. Observing this simple rule will reap amazing results and benefits due to the goodwill you have demonstrated.
Value the Suppliers’ Experience and Expertise
Chances are your supplier has “been there and done it all,” since they work with dozens of customers every day. You should take advantage of their expertise and find out from them if they have a solution to a business problem you are currently facing, instead of just asking them to fulfill your orders. Consulting with a supplier whenever you are facing a problem shows them that you value their experience and input, creating a sense of ownership that keeps everybody motivated and leading to better solutions.
Have Adequate Lead Times
Give your suppliers as much lead time as possible, depending on your business niche, while placing your orders. Unless you have a competitive, compelling reason not to, share with them your honest projection of needs and always keep them informed of likely significant changes. As you develop your lead times, it is best that you take into consideration your suppliers’ production needs and methods.
Attend Supplier Events
Supplier days are a popular way for suppliers to increase their engagement with customers while developing relationships. These events usually occur annually and strategic suppliers hold discussions centered on the search for new methods they can solve business’ pain points and new product plans. These events are an excellent way you can use to foster an open relationship with your suppliers.
When you get the relationship with your suppliers right, you will reap the rewards. Developing these good relationships is not a complicated process. All you need to do is be as communicative as possible, treat them fairly, be fair with what you demand and always pay them on time; it’s that easy.