Dealing with Vendors

Small sign businesses have the luxury of working with a small group of employees.

Although such close quarters can be tight, in general they foster a close-knit working environment. Many of us run at least semi-family businesses. We spend our days with people who don’t drive us crazy, who are generally easy to deal with, and you likely have the same ultimate goal as we do.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the same comfy-cozy relationship when it comes to dealing with vendors. Perhaps you get along with most people, but there is just that one supplier that you can’t seem to see eye-to-eye with. Read on to find out how to improve your business-vendor relationships.

Get to know your suppliers. Keep in touch with them via email and text, but make sure and pick up the phone from time to time, especially if it is an old-school vendor. As effective as email is, many prefer the personal touch of a phone conversation. Suppliers will feel as if they know you better if they can associate you with more than just letters on the computer screen.

Treat your vendors part of your team. Vendors are an extension of your business. When you treat them like they are a part of it, they are more likely to become enthusiastic about filling your order, which is directly related to the completion of your project.

Communicate clearly. Make sure your vendors are aware of the needs of your small business. Also, let them in on your expectations. You can’t expect a business to fulfill your every need if you don’t let them know what they are. Perhaps the supplier is accustomed to invoicing monthly, when you would like to receive their invoice on a biweekly basis. If you never say you want a biweekly invoice, you’ll never get one, and you’ll likely complain about the vendor in turn.

Pay on time. It is pretty easy to see why this is an important one. Paying on time shows you respect your suppliers and their business. It also reflects a serious and trustworthy businessman or woman. If you are struggling to make payments, you may beseech your supplier for a payment plan. If you have a good relationship with the vendor it is likely they will be willing to work with you.

Don’t forget to say thanks. Showing you appreciate your vendor is more than helpful and nice, it is a vital part of ensuring the business/vendor relationship stays close. If your supplier has provided you with a good service, or showed you a new product that is exactly what your business needs, make sure and thank them. Perhaps offer a reciprocal service, or simply send a thank you card to express your gratitude.

Have you found it easy or hard to build good relationships with your vendors? Share suggestions you have for dealing with vendors successfully in the comments section below.