Your suppliers are among the most important people for your business and to a great extent the success or failure of your business is determined by how well you deal with them. An uncaring and unscrupulous supplier can quickly lead to insolvency and downfall of your business whereas an honest and caring supplier can help your business grow by leaps and bounds. Generally, how a supplier deals with you really depends upon how you deal with him.
As a business owner, it is in your interest to learn to deal with your suppliers and try to master the art. You cannot (and shouldn’t) expect your suppliers to be chummy with you from the first day and go out of their way to make life easy for you. Remember that just like you they are there to make money. So you have to work on building a long term working relationship based on mutual respect and benefit. Once you build a relationship based on trust and mutual goodwill, good business will automatically follow.
Here are some tips on how to deal with your suppliers and build a great working relationship:
- Always be polite and courteous: Your suppliers are humans and they expect respect, politeness and courtesy from you just as you would want from them. Good manners are the building blocks of a sound working relationship. Even if you are not happy with them, be polite and courteous and they will respond in kind. Over time they will come to trust you and care for you.
- Make them feel that you value their service: Everyone likes to feel that they are valued and your suppliers are no different. By word and action, make your suppliers feel that you value their service and that they are important to you. You will find that they will respond in kind and be more favorably disposed towards you.
- Make them understand how important you are to them: Without bragging and boasting and ruffling any feathers, make your suppliers understand how important you are for their business. Once they understand that they will give you more concessions and even bail you out when you are in financial trouble.
- Refrain from driving a bargain too hard: As a business owner, you will want your raw materials / merchandise at the lowest price possible so that you can make a good profit. But be careful not to do that at the expense of the supplier. If you drive a bargain too hard, they may or may not acquiesce to your demands, but they will certainly be resentful. In the long term, this will detrimental to your business.
- Always make it a point to pay on time: Just as you would expect your customers to pay you on time, your suppliers also expect you to do the same. So make it a point to pay them on time always. This is crucial in earning their goodwill and they will be more favorably disposed towards you to give discounts and supplies even in times of scarcity.