Whether your usual suppliers are your best mates or whether you only really deal with them when you need something, building a good relationship with your suppliers is key. Although you’re their customer, you still need them to provide the resources to get the job done so it’s important to remember that it’s a two-way street.
So how can you make sure you’re keeping your supplier relationships on point?
Follow their processes
Every supplier will have a certain way in which they do things. Some might be happy with you taking the goods on the spot and sending an invoice later, and some might want you to pay when you collect. Whatever their process is, it’s important that you respect it. You know that it’s not ideal if your clients don’t abide by your processes and payment terms, so make sure you’re not being one of those clients for your suppliers.
Keep the communication open
If you want the most out of your supplier relationships, communication is key. If you struggle to follow their processes because they’re a bit too clunky or they don’t allow enough flexibility, let them know. Get together over a coffee, or invite them round for a barbie at yours – once you build the rapport, they’ll be more likely to communicate well with you and you might even get a decent favour from them every now and then!
If they’re good, stay loyal
Although times might be tough and you’re probably just looking for the cheapest deal, remember that the cheapest isn’t always the best. If you’ve been with a particular supplier for years and you suddenly cut and run to something cheaper, it’s not a good look and you could burn bridges when you need them later on. If you’ve got a good relationship with your supplier, you can always have the conversation and see if there are any loyalty discounts they can offer.
Get some mutual referrals going
If you’re really happy with your supplier, make sure you refer new business to them to show your appreciation. Building up this kind of goodwill will definitely boost your relationship. You’ll be helping them out, as well as any of your mates who are looking for a new supplier – plus you might get a few referrals from your supplier in return. It’s all about those mutual benefits and win-win situations!