4 Ways to Bond With Suppliers

Strengthening your supplier relationships could yield sizable dividends.

Whether your suppliers send a steady flow of organic veggies to your eatery or deliver this season’s hottest fashion to your retail outlet, you rely on them as the lynchpin of your business. Treat them right, and they can help you stand out from the competition. Take them for granted, and you could find yourself at the end of a long line. Follow these essential tips to create a strong rapport for long-term success.

1. Treat Them as Partners

Besides you, no one knows your business better than your suppliers. They know who your customers are, what your competition is doing and where the industry is heading. Sit down with them at least once a quarter to talk about your strategy for the coming season. Talk about new products and trends. Give them a heads-up on special seasonal promotions and inventory closeouts. Suppliers can help ensure you have enough of the right products on hand — and when they are treated as partners, they can become your advocates for new customers and business.

2. Get to Know Them

Establishing excellent supplier relationships is a two-way street. Treat your suppliers how you want to be treated. Make them feel they are a business priority. The best way to achieve this is to focus on knowing your suppliers as people, too. Make a point to visit suppliers’ offices, ask questions about the health of their business and make a real effort to understand their pain points.

3. Look for Ways to Help Them

Yes, suppliers enjoy serving as providers. But what can you do for them? If they’re short-staffed, can you show flexibility with delivery times? Or if, say, your fresh-fish purveyor ends up with too much snapper, can you design a daily special to help move it? When you show that kind of initiative, you might find that the next time you come up short on a key item, your vendor will be more willing to go the extra mile for you.

4. Pay Them

This may seem obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing: Pay your suppliers on time — every time — to build goodwill. If you ordered too much of a product and are stuck with inventory, don’t go back to the supplier and renegotiate the price. Honor your contracts. Suppliers will be more willing to work with you if you need to negotiate payment terms for a big order in the future. And if you do come up short on cash, let them know as quickly as possible. Vendors are businesspeople, too, so maintaining open communication will help build trust that will help grow everyone’s business.

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The article(s) you are reading were prepared for general information purposes by Manifest, LLC. These articles are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions. These articles may provide reference to Internet sites as a convenience to our readers. While PNC endeavors to provide resources that are reputable and safe, we cannot be held responsible for the information, products, or services obtained on such sites and will not be liable for any damages arising from your access to such sites. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed, and links provided by these resources are not investigated, verified, monitored or endorsed by PNC.