Vendors, suppliers, service providers, sales executives — these are just a few of the people you deal with every day running your business, and you need to take the time to treat them well. One kind gesture could be enough to make a big difference for your company’s fortunes.
These people have access to the internal information of their operation and your company will benefit first when you maintain close ties with these people.
Don’t make excuses
How do you become that preferred customer? You can start by promptly answering their calls and emails.
No other action or behavior gets people more upset than to be ignored, especially in business. These calls or emails could be a great opportunity coming your way. It could be products or services that would give your company higher margins in sales or a breakthrough that brings in larger amounts of traffic and gives your company a higher sales volume.
When you talk to them, don’t just talk about business. Learn about their kids, where they come from, what they do in their spare time, etc. Become their friends.
And when they provide a service to you, be sure to pay their invoices on time.
Build strong connections
Let me show you the power of relationships. I remember trying to open my first business account with one of the top electronic manufacturers and the first requirement he shared with me was, “You have to have a business address.” A real, physical address, not a P.O. box.
That became my goal and I worked really hard to achieve it. Once I did, I called the vendor and provided him with the business address.
The next requirement was a minimum purchase, and of course that minimum for my small operation was too high. The sales representative saw my enthusiasm, my will to keep going and my strong determination. He decided to talk to another account that he sold to directly and asked them to sell to me at the wholesale distributor price.
It’s always hard when you’re trying to earn business during a tough stretch. When the sales executive is part of that process with you and you are working together, you will feel a real partnership. The sales executive will educate you and your people on how to handle the product, how to take advantage of every feature, how to set it up on display and how to use it to its greatest potential.
These relationships have provided invaluable support over the years that I appreciate and recognize all the time. I even have a special event where we have an award ceremony for our vendors. There are still vendors from my first years that take part.
At the end of the day, we are all people. The more we treat each other with respect and sincerity, the better business will flow. If there is a vendor that annoys you for one reason or another, remember they carry with them the potential to turn your business around. So don’t give up on the relationship. ●
Co-founder and co-owner
Curacao is a retail department store chain that has been the first to launch a number of groundbreaking services, including its exports operation that allows customers to send a variety of products to relatives and friends in Central America and Mexico.