business suppliers relationships

Cultivating Relationships With Your Trusted Business Suppliers

No business is an island. At some point, our firm will need to rest on another brand, service, and product to offer our own value and curate our own audience. This stretches farther and wider than any of us could lay out clearly. After all, the means by which you can read business advice online. Such as this article, comes from a history of many brands, services, and companies working in unison to provide the platform, hardware, and insight to deliver that. These are your trusted business wholesale suppliers.

For this reason, cultivating excellent and mutual relationships as a business is worthwhile. Not only that, but it’s good to have some positive regard for your competition, too.

Sure, they might be oh-so-happy to take on every one of your clients in order to grow and expand. No doubt you would do the same in their shoes. Thus making the tug of war that makes both brands better abounds.

The Importance of Your Business Suppliers

However, one of the most vital and necessary relationships to build as a brand is that of your business suppliers. Sure, you may change them over the course of your brand’s lifetime, you may get into certain disputes, or you may feel that moving on due to the lessening quality of a supplier’s offering is necessary.

However, that doesn’t mean cultivating worthwhile supplier relationships, where they can be found, is any less important. In this post, we’ll discuss why this is so important, and how you can go about achieving such an outcome.

The Benefits Of Cultivating Business Supplier Relationships

1. Mutual deals and trust.

Your business is no doubt going to deal with many suppliers over the course of its operation. However, it’s important to try and develop trusted relationships when you find a brand whose product or service is reliable and worthwhile to you.

If you can do this, then you may be able to negotiate better prices so you don’t go elsewhere.

Furthermore, if you’re the kind of client or brand who pays their invoices immediately, makes use of sales and discounts, or doesn’t mind buying in bulk, then business suppliers will no doubt come to you first when they have something worth looking at.

It’s not uncommon, for instance, for executive chefs to have quite intimate professional relationships with their purveyors. Here they can gain access to rare or high-quality ingredients before they may be offered elsewhere; helping them provide a better experience to their guests.

The same applies to many other businesses, too.

2. Adapting to your tastes.

Businesses may find it easier to adapt to your tastes if you make sure to use their services over time. Of course, here ‘tastes’ refers to the many preferences you may have, operational requirements you may need, and delivery measures you feel are appropriate.

Over time, this helps them understand how they can better serve you, and what kind of services you may not be interested in. If you regularly pay on a given date each month, they may be able to extend you a line of credit and know that you’ll make good on the invoice.

Or, perhaps they can prepare your goods in a certain manner. In many service industries, selecting a given customized package can be important too; such as firms that utilize managed IT providers and also pay for web hosting through the same company.

Long-term and trusted business suppliers learn how best to keep you around as a client. It is in their interest to make this in your interest.

supplier preferences
Your trusted small business wholesale suppliers know your preferences over time.

3. Benefit of the doubt.

When we work with a firm that we trust for a good deal of time, we begin to make professional concessions when they’re needed, which, in some roundabout way, we could consider a commercial ‘friendship.’ This concept isn’t so new.

It’s not uncommon for countries to showcase friendly gestures towards one another, for instance. In fact, a disputed island between Canada and Denmark is the site of mutual friendly competition and half-joke, where both countries leave spirits for one another in good faith.

This ‘benefit of the doubt’ can apply to many outcomes in a professional relationship. We already mentioned the credit example above.

Perhaps if a shipment arrives at a lower quality than you expect, and you make a complaint, a trusted supplier might comp its price and send you a replacement out of good faith. In some ways, we can return a favor. It could be promoting the brand of our business suppliers. Or making sure our products clearly state the composite materials used to build them.

Now we’ve considered some benefits of cultivating excellent and mutual relationships with your trusted business suppliers, let’s consider how to achieve that:

A Small Guide to Cultivating Supplier Relationships

  • Loyalty earned.

Of course, you don’t have to focus on only one provider or service in the vague hope that this could develop into a swell relationship one day. However, if you feel a service earns its status, is properly priced, and is advantageous to your business, then rewarding that in the form of loyalty, test orders, bulk orders, and great feedback can be valuable.

Allowing a firm to become your first choice will allow them to better label you a trusted client, one they don’t want to lose. Think of how many law firms will bend over backward to try and keep valuable clients on board with them; this is the same kind of mindset we can compel.

loyalty is earned
In time you earn loyalty with your small business whole suppliers.
  • Steadfast communication.

When all is said and done, it’s unrealistic to expect suppliers to read the minds of our decision-makers. It’s important to communicate properly at this time. Did you love a shipment you received? Why? What specifically did this give your firm? How might this benefit you in the future? What issues did you run into?

Any relationship builds on communication, and that doesn’t mean throwing untoward praise at them for no reason at all. It just means being clear about your expectations and when they were met or disappointed.

This way, suppliers can endeavor to keep doing the right thing. Alternatively simply asking questions is a great idea. This helps a supplier learn more about your interests as a client, and this can help them provide for you more easily.

  • Understand your supplier.

So far we’ve made plenty of allusions to how suppliers should focus on serving you, and what concessions they can make to keep you happy. It’s important to put our own effort into the relationship. However, such as by fully understanding what our supplier has to give us, to begin with.

What’s their story? How do their products help with your particular craft or service?

what is the story
What is the supplier’s story behind the products?

For a contracting firm, this might be as necessary as not only learning that a given product is ‘the best,’ but how it works. Not only that but, why its quality is above those in its price category. And finally how to identify that this product is genuine.

Said contracting firm might decide to only install a certain type of window, and perhaps apply to become a licensed and approved installer of it. This way, an exclusivity deal can be arranged. As such, both parties benefit.

Understanding the contingencies your supplier puts in place can also be essential. If you’re using a managed IT service provider for your hosting; it’s good to know what they’ll do if their servers go down. Are there IT staff on-site 24/7 to help attend to any issues? How might you report a problem?

These questions can help you vet suppliers properly. You will then understand if they’re the right firm for what you have to offer. Here you may find brands that are uniquely able to provide value to many different fields, like those that serve standard components for industrial equipment sectors

  • Make sure your principles align

Of course, an essential means of being able to ‘ally’ with anyone is learning if you share the same basic values. Supporting suppliers who have a great record in hiring staff and providing a great workplace is fantastic.

Perhaps they care about sustainability, and through the use of their products you are, explicitly, improving the sustainability of your own brand. That is something you can market given the right permission.

In many cases, it’s good to detach from suppliers who don’t share your principles. This happens all the time in the corporate landscape. It can help you begin anew to find suppliers you will appreciate in the long term.

Supporting suppliers who have a great record in hiring staff and providing a great workplace is fantastic. #smallbusinessowner Click To Tweet
  • Take your time.

Ultimately, you have to let these relationships build over time. It’s also fine to look to competitors when needed. For instance, Apple enlists the aid of Samsung when it comes to creating their iPhone phone screens, and so their direct competitor in many fields is actually a valuable part of the ecosystem of products and services put out by them.

This goes to show that just like in our personal lives, we cannot force relationships. Nor can we expect their full bounty of potential to be realized within a week.

Take your time, stick to your principles, and support when you feel it’s deserved and when value is provided to you. The rest, provided you stay alert, will tend to take care of itself.

Your Turn

With this advice, we believe you’ll continue to cultivate excellent and mutual relationships with trusted suppliers. Perhaps another business will try and do this with you. Over time, who knows what kind of worth this could offer? How are you working with your small business suppliers today? Are you happy with the relationships?

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