Relationships with vendors are rarely neutral. Sometimes they become great friends and sometimes it can be adversarial as both parties maneuver for the best “deal”. Either way, vendor relationships are highly strategic to any business or organization. Our success or failure often depends on these invaluable partners.
Therefore, we need to treat our vendors – our partners (and potential partners) – with respect.
- Remember that everybody at the table needs a win for their organization. The profits/savings and gains/losses must be fairly divided between customer and supplier. If either party is cheated, the relationship is lost. Short term wins at the expense of your vendor do not make up for the long term damage.
- There are always misunderstanding and miscommunication. Give the benefit of the doubt to your vendor when it occurs. You will find that they are not likely dishonest or trying to mislead you for the sake of the deal. It is far more likely they “assumed” you to be fully informed and aware of the fine print.
- Never allow a vendor to waste their time attempting to earn your business. While vendors understand competition, risk-taking, and the expectation to “prove” their worth…no one is interested in being sent on a “wild goose chase”. If a vendor does not have a fair chance to earn your business, don’t ask them to spend time developing a quote or designing a solution.
- If something goes sideways in a business deal, give the vendor a chance to make things right before you throw a temper-tantrum or cancel the deal. Most vendors truly want your long term business and will work hard to protect the relationship. But, if you “cry wolf” too often over minor issues, you will lose their trust.
Thanks for listening.