Businesses and suppliers share a relationship that is dependent on one another. Without suppliers, most businesses would not be able to profit and run a respectable establishment. As a business owner, it’s critical to find a supplier with quality products and fair prices that is easy to work with and reliable. As a supplier, it’s critical to find businesses that can place consistent orders, pay on time, and simply just be a great customer. It’s tempting for business owners to hound suppliers for cheaper and cheaper prices. However, business owners should be aware that they most likely chose their supplier due to more factors than price. As you sift through suppliers you usually order samples to check quality. In addition, you may be willing to pay a little more for a supplier that communicates well and does what they say. The moral here is to take care of your supplier, it’s important that both of you can be profitable and operate seamlessly. Keep reading to learn more about building great relationships with suppliers.
5 ways to maintain a superior relationship with your supplier
Doing business with others is always a two-way street. Building a relationship with a supplier starts from the minute you reach out to inquire about their products and services. You want to be thoughtful, flexible, and fair in your suggestions. You want the supplier to want to work with you just as much as you want to work with them. Keep in mind that just because you are a paying customer for the supplier, they have other accounts too. So how can you build and maintain a great relationship with a supplier? Here are 5 ways you can maintain a superior relationship with your supplier. . .
#1. Understand and acknowledge the needs of your supplier
As you begin working with a supplier, it should be clear that they have certain practices in place. Whether they prefer paperwork, payment, or any other exchange done a certain way, you should ensure to follow their normal protocol. Avoid asking your supplier to change the way they do things to make it easier for you. If you are working with a well-established supplier, they probably already know how things work best internally. Being easy to work with can make you a more desirable account for a supplier. If the supplier requests any information from you, you should provide it in a timely manner.
#2. Communicate effectively
While most of your interactions with a supplier are business related, keep in mind they are humans too. Maintaining a professional relationship is important. However, getting to know a few personal things (if they are willing to share) about your supplier or their employee can help you build a stronger relationship. Any communication with your supplier should be well thought, clear, and concise. Try using fewer words to deliver the same message. The less words you use, the less time it takes them to read the communication. While some suppliers may be in another country, taking the time to meet them face-to-face can go a long way. If you get the chance to meet your supplier face-to-face this can be a great time to develop innovative ways to make each parties job easier.
#3. Be loyal
In the business world, it’s easy to get burned. Suppliers can tell which business owners are only concerned about themselves and their business. If you want to work with a supplier that respects you and your business, you’ll have to put some work in. Showing your supplier that you understand the relationship is a two-way street is a good start. However, as the relationship develops find ways to reward your supplier with loyalty. Reassure them that you appreciate the work they do and let them know you are there to stay. If suppliers feel like customers are not just chasing the best deal, it’s likely that they will make you a priority over other customers.
#4. Choose the right suppliers
Before you start the search for a great supplier, you should list a few qualities and values that are important for them to share with you. Finding a supplier that is the right fit is important for a successful long-lasting relationship. In addition, make sure the supplier can offer the products you need. While you may come across suppliers offering unreal prices, if they are not capable of fulfilling your orders, you may be in trouble. Before officially selecting a supplier, do your research and know who you are dealing with. Reviews, testimonials, and word-of-mouth can be a great way to discover the true colors of a supplier. Avoid ignoring doubts because you are being bribed by an unreal price. Follow your intuition.
#5. Refer business
While it may be tempting to keep your supplier all to yourself, remember, it’s a two-way street. Your supplier probably needs more great customers like yourself. If they are able to grow their orders consistently, they may even be able to deliver cheaper prices. If you are thrilled with your supplier, refer business to them. If you don’t have anyone to refer to, you can always leave them reviews or offer to speak to potential customers for them and put in a good word. You may even find that they will refer customers to your business in return. Afterall, the relationship is a two-way street, right?
Where can I find great suppliers?
Finding a great supplier can be challenging. While the Internet is full of suggestions, it can be hard to believe everything you come across. Asking other business owners for referrals can be an effective way to discover great suppliers. In addition, you may be able to use sites such as Alibaba to connect with suppliers. However, if you prefer a supplier based in the United States, Alibaba is probably not the best site to turn to. Here’s a Google tip from a research expert – use multiple search engines. Does all the information you find match up? If so, you may be on the right track. It may be helpful to search specifically for suppliers within your industry rather than just searching for suppliers in general.
How can Kickfurther help with inventory financing?
While you may be able to find a great supplier, if you don’t have the funds to place an order, you may be at a dead end. Inventory financing may seem like the obvious solution. However, as you start to research inventory financing, you may be at a loss for why it’s so expensive. After hopelessly searching for affordable inventory financing, an entrepreneur, just like yourself, created Kickfurther. Luckily, now business owners and entrepreneurs have access to affordable inventory financing. So how does it work?
Kickfurther is the world’s first online inventory financing platform that enables companies to access funds that they are unable to acquire through traditional sources. We connect brands to a community of eager buyers who help fund the inventory on consignment and give brands the flexibility to pay that back as they receive cash from their sales. This alleviates the cash-flow pinch that lenders can cause without customized repayment schedules, allowing your brand to scale quickly without impeding your ability to maintain inventory or financial flexibility.