Most of us take our vendors for granted. We choose them based on some combination of price, quality and service. If one part of that equation falters, then we may look for a replacement, or we may evaluate the relationship for its overall value.
Your vendors can mean so much more to the success of your business. They can be an effective part of your marketing team.
Vendors are product experts. They can help you resell their wares more effectively by providing you with case histories or by educating you about the benefits of the product. They can help you get the most use out of a product you purchase from them.
Having a good relationship with a vendor can be the difference between your making or losing a sale. Need something faster than usual? Your buddy the vendor might be able to expedite an order. Need something not listed in a catalog? Your vendor’s rep might know how to find one – whether in their inventory or someone else’s.
In my industry, my vendors (we call them suppliers) are not supposed to sell to the general public. They are supposed to sell only through distributors. Every so often, an end-user (that’s the person who wants the product) contacts the vendor directly. Since most products are available through multiple vendors, that particular vendor wants to get that business when a distributor places the order. To that end, most vendors will refer a phone call or e-mail request that they won’t fulfill directly to one of their customers. How do you get to be the chosen one? Be nice to your vendor. Send thank you notes when they’ve helped you out, or just made running your business a bit easier. If they’ve gone above and beyond, send a thank you gift (candy or flowers are fine).
Treat them with respect, even if there’s a problem. Be loyal to them and they will reciprocate.