Many businesses focus on building and maintaining a good work environment for employees and excellent relationships with clients. However, an often neglected part is the relationships with vendors. If you fail to nurture good vendor relationships, the business can grind to a standstill. So here are seven tips for maintaining a good relationship with your vendors:

Choose the right vendors

The first step to building a good relationship with your vendors is to pick vendors that align with your business’ values. Finding vendors to supply you with the needed goods is a trying process.  Trying to find vendors who have similar value systems is even trickier. However, sharing core values is essential to start your relationship on the right foot.  Whatever your ethical standpoints are, find vendors who share those same core values for a more straightforward relationship. You are less likely to clash, and business can run smoothly.

Stay up to date on payments

Once you’ve established a working relationship with a vendor with similar core values, ensure you pay them. Honoring payment terms and deadlines will take your vendor relationship further than anything else.  You should always pay your vendors within the pre-agreed timeframe, which will show them that you can be a trusted business partner, and they are more likely to give you discounts and freebies.  Vendors are also less likely to back out of deals and contracts at the last minute if you pay them on time and keep up with the payment relationship. So stay on top of your payments with an accounts payable automation system. It will ensure your payments are made on time without stressing about it or ruining the business contract.

Communicate appropriately

Good communication is needed for the success of any relationship. Ensure you communicate appropriately with your vendors to avoid disruptions in your supply. Doing this could mean letting them know you are opening slightly later, so they don’t sit at your storefront waiting for hours.  Have your vendor manager schedule time to check in with regular vendors to improve communication between you. Avoid vulgar language, rash words, and insults, which will keep you from breaking a good relationship in the heat of the moment.

Take note of cultural differences

We live in an increasingly global world. Your suppliers will most likely come from various countries and cultures. Things that are normal to you may be strange for them and vice versa. Therefore, it’s essential to be mindful of cultural differences and find ways to navigate them.  Some things need extra communication, and you must avoid some landmines. Generally, avoid topics like ethnicity and politics. Similarly, some countries take days off and public holidays very seriously, and contacting a vendor during a public holiday could be deemed disrespectful.  Finally, as you interact with vendors, do your research and build a personal relationship to help avoid any cultural landmines on either side.

Stay loyal

Jumping from vendor to vendor is not an attractive trait. While you try to find a vendor you can work with, you may try multiple vendors. Once you find a vendor you can work with, stick with them. Avoid deal-hoping and testing your vendor with threats of changing vendors.  If the service you receive is good, the goods are of high quality, and a good relationship is underway, reward your vendor with loyalty.

Review deliverables and contracts regularly

Review your vendor contracts regularly, which will help manage expectations and possibly reduce costs. Outline your expectations and arrange a call where you can revisit them with your vendors. Use past deliverables as a metric to determine what can be improved.  Remind them of your gratitude for any expectations met and exceeded. You can also review your payment terms, ensuring that you and your vendors are satisfied with the relationship.

Be clear with your boundaries

Vendors are also running a business which means they can be shady or have a bad month. Be clear and firm about what you need from your vendors so they know your expectations.  If the vendor violates their contractual obligations, make it known and stick to your decided course of action. Good relationships need boundaries, so do not let your vendors run all over you, harming your business and putting you at a loss.

Parting shot

Your vendors are an integral part of your business. Maintaining a good relationship with them is not just advisable. It is paramount to the success of your business. Implement these seven tips starting today and see your vendor relationship improve significantly.  In turn, your business will experience significant growth and reflect in your client relationships.


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