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In many ways, a good business is only as strong as the relationship with the suppliers it buys from. Having a solid relationship with your supplier will lead to better prices, more lenient terms, and even the odd buyback. With these things at stake, it’s absolutely essential that you work on forming great supplier relationships. Here are a few tips for going about this…
Make Payments on Time
This is an obvious one, but you’d be amazed at the number of start-up owners who manage to neglect it. Product manufacturers and distributors in the wholesale sector generally work on very narrow profit margins, and maintaining a healthy cash flow is obviously very important to the state of their business. A B2B client, even a small one, that pays as agreed with every single invoice will become highly trusted and respected. These days, it’s becoming more and more common for wholesalers and manufacturers to track payment history on individual client accounts, and some even rate their customers according to how reliable they are with payments. Though you may have some wiggling room when it comes to making your payments, you should never abuse it and land yourself in a supplier’s bad books.
Try Not to Blame Them
As a business owner, you know better than anyone that there are going to be problems with running a large operation like your supplier’s company. Every wholesaler and distributor will make little slip-ups, or be the victim of circumstance. When that big shipment of linear motion products you needed gets sent to the wrong place, the resulting stress can lead a lot of business owners to point fingers, and place the blame completely on the supplier. As understandable as this is, complaining to your supplier about the problems you’re experiencing isn’t going to help the situation. Instead, try to work with the supplier in order to find the best possible solution. If you tend to do this, your suppliers will remember how amicable you were when things got hairy. This often means that they’ll be much more helpful and understanding if and when one of your mistakes screws up their business.
Know What They Need from You
You’re not going to be a supplier’s only client, and they’ll have a number of buyer accounts that they’ll need to keep tabs on and maintain. With this in mind, it can help your relationship massively if you go out of your way to find out everything they need from you. A lot of suppliers will want specific documentation, filled out in a certain style. Larger manufacturers may have their own client portal which they’ll want you to use to fill out orders, rather than a conventional Excel spreadsheet. By going out of your way to find out how your supplier likes to run things, and playing ball with them, you’ll speed up your order processing, and minimise the risk for any stressful slip-ups occurring.
Keep these points in mind, and you’ll form great supplier relationships that will last for years.
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