5 Tips for Building Your Vendor-Client Relationship
The most effective vendor-client relationships are the ones in which a close partnership is developed and maintained by both parties. As in any relationship, trust is also a big part of building a partnership and this takes time and effort to achieve. Both parties should mutually benefit from this partnership.
For your vendor-client relationship to succeed you need to:
1. Communicate: We all know that for any relationship to work you need to trust and communicate with each other. You should establish guidelines and certain ground rules to help facilitate communications and establish your expectations. When working on a project you should make sure that expectations are understood, actions are agreed upon and timetables are set. It is always best to have one main contact person, with whom you communicate and share information. By doing this you will reduce miscommunication.
2. Hold regularly scheduled meetings: You should hold weekly or bi-weekly meetings to check the progress of all ongoing projects and deal with any issues at that time. Even if you don’t have anything important to discuss, a simple five-minute phone call could improve communication and teamwork on a project by making sure everyone is on the same page. Whether this is your first or seventh collaboration, make sure you set specific expectations for the project, your roles and desired results.
3. Create a competitive environment: When you’re looking for the best price, it’s okay to look at more than one vendor. A competitive environment will help you develop a list of well-qualified partners as well as teach you which vendor to call on for specific projects. By doing this you will gain competitive pricing and offer superior service to your clients.
4. Treat your vendor as part of your team: You should build a solid, collaborative partnership with your vendors. This will eventually pay off. If things go wrong, it’s better to have a vendor who works with you to fix the issue, rather than one who is argumentative and defensive about the problem.
5. Be professional and respectful: Treat your vendor with the respect that you want to be treated with. If you don’t plan on giving the vendor the job from the start, don’t ask for information on how to put together the project. And if your vendor has created a concept for you, don’t take it and go to another vendor unless you have paid them for it. Be pleasant and courteous to your vendor, no matter how long you have known them. You should show up to your meetings on time, be prepared and return emails and calls.
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