Other than your customers, vendors are the backbone of your small business, so you’re going to want to build a good and lasting relationship with them.
You see, vendors can be just as involved in your company as you are, so it can be important to include them in related business plans. It can also help to assign a manager to deal with your vendors for top efficiency. An agreement on required communication is also key to a vendor relationship and business progress.
Keep these and other vendor relationship management tips and skills in mind to support your growing business. Continue reading below to learn 6 tips on managing vendor relationships.
1. Think Long-Term
You should focus on building your vendor relationships to last long-term rather than focusing solely on the now. Many initial benefits may seem nice, but you need to think about what they can do for your company as a whole.
If you just think about the now, it can reflect how you treat them, which can negatively affect the vendor relationship.
2. Work out a Contract That Benefits You Both
You need to sit down with your vendor to discuss a contract or agreement that will benefit you both. During this talk, make sure you don’t just focus on your needs. You need to hear your vendor out too.
By bending a little on things that won’t risk your company, you’ll show that you’re flexible and that you can compromise.
3. Practice Good Communication
You’ll probably see your vendors on a semi-normal basis, and the type of vendor can vary in terms of what’s considered good communication. What you can do is arrange meetings with them to get their feedback. Ask them how things are going and if there are any areas you could improve upon.
This is a good method in catching issues early so they don’t become larger problems later on.
4. Involve Them in Your Plans
Your vendors might have a basic understanding of the industry you’re in, so why not tap into that and get their opinions? Doing this will help you develop an underlying trust with them. So, if something on one of your displays doesn’t look quite right, for example, why not ask them what they think?
5. Assign a Manager to Keep Track of Vendors
You should assign a specific manager to handle everything that relates to your vendors. They will be in charge of taking inbound phone calls or emails from them, as well as any outbound communication if there is something that they need to know.
Depending on the vendor and deliverables, a dedicated vendor relationship manager can keep the lines of communication going in a way that promotes business growth and efficiency.
6. Plan in Advance
If you don’t tell a vendor about any delays on your end, you could risk wasting a large portion of their time. Any wasted time affects their profit margins, and this could strain your relationship.
Also, if you have to pay late, let them know in advance so they can work around it, and find a solution to prevent these situations from happening in the future.
Your Guide to Good Vendor Relationship Management
Vendors are the backbone of your business, so it’s important that you keep a good relationship with them. Use these tips to improve your vendor relationship management and to support making vendors feel like they are a part of the team.
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