Image source

We were at a big networking event recently and one of the things that struck us with the surprise stick was how businesses looked at the relationship with their suppliers. Almost all of them thought they were in the power seat - that they were in control - and this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

When you start a business, what is the one thing you need to do? Get customers and those keep customers. How do you do this? By giving them a product that totally satisfies their needs. It is as simple as that. That is where your suppliers slip into the equation because they are the ones who make your whole business of satisfying customers possible. Basically, they are in control.

What does this mean for your company? Not much really, but it does mean that you may need to be smarter when it comes to your relationship with suppliers. You may need to tweak your behavior and attitude a touch and start seeing them as your equal. If you do, well, you’ll see your business start reaping some serious benefits.

Relationships Feed Off Trust

Markets fluctuate more than planes caught in turbulent skies. There are ups and downs, good times and bad. That is why having a trust-filled relationship with your supplier can be so essential when it comes to thriving and surviving because they will be far more likely to stand by your side should you hit a rough patch and that brown stuff hit the fan. How do you build trust? Simple. Communicate. That’s the key to trust, more transparent and honest communication. In return, your suppliers will feel that much more valued, that much more understood and that much more trusting of you and your business. As they probably shouted on some game show at some point in history; everyone’s a winner.

They Will Go The Extra Mile

There is a very simple equation that is worth remembering when it comes to your supplier relationship; the better your partnership is, the better their service will be. This is a mighty good thing, trust us. The reason for this is the more valued a supplier feels, the more willing they will be to go the extra mile, and that could mean fulfilling a last minute order, or being a tad compassionate when it comes to paying an invoice late, or whatever it may be. Ask anyone, whether it be a successful business leader or a happy spouse, the secret to success is having a partner you can count on.

There’s No Better Way To Innovate

Businesses operate in more niches than you can possibly conceive, yet they all share a common aim; to improve, and that can only be done through innovation. Product or service, it doesn’t matter; Forbes explains how your supplier is best placed to help so it is worth actively working with them to achieve your goals. Suppliers thrive off this kind of relationship and the chance to find solutions that will either reduce costs, increase efficiencies or cement themselves as more than just a cog in a businesses operations. Whatever it is you need to achieve, it all comes down to opening the conversation and be honest about where you would like to improve.

Better Relationship Means Better Deals

The more respect you give your suppliers and the more you treat them as equals the more chance you have of negotiating a better deal in the future. That seemed to be a common denominator among all the suppliers we spoke to on this subject. One supplier, ICRFQ, put it to us best by explaining that a supplier is a business partner who wants your business to succeed just as much as you do. The stronger your partnership, the better deals you may get in the long run off the back of that because trust and longevity are things each party can benefit from. Just remember, this respect and value must be genuine because it will only harm your relationship if it is not, and if it is only done to secure a better negotiation in the future.

The Grass Is Rarely Greener

If you are a business person with any sort of experience under your belt then you’ll know how hard it can be to find a new supplier that ticks all of the boxes that you need ticking. It just is. Buying from new suppliers is just full of pitfalls and bear traps. It is part and parcel of the game when there are certain conditions that you need fulfilling, such as price, quality, delivery, service, all of which is tricky to track down. That’s why you should always work on improving your relationship with current suppliers first because it will not only work out cheaper for you but far more stress-free as well.