It probably seems as though every one of your suppliers should do handstands, backflips and somersaults just to make you happy, doesn’t it? After all, aren’t they dependent upon your favor in order to make their living?
Strange as it may seem, it often doesn’t matter. In fact, depending upon the product or service they are providing, they are often invaluable to you and you’ll find it very well worth your while to develop a relationship with them that causes them to desire to make you happy just because you . . . are you.
I received the following question from a reader:
“Bob, I’m always amazed when people who sell to me — my suppliers — don’t totally go out of their way to please me. Don’t they realize who’s paying their salaries? On the other hand, there are other business people I know who get waited on hand and foot and seem to have their suppliers doing ‘backflips’ to make them happy. How does a person elicit this type of customer service from their suppliers?”
Great question. And the answer is actually very, very simple.
Treat your suppliers the same way you treat your customers and clients. Yes, in order to ensure a terrific and productive relationship with your suppliers, one in which you get consistently excellent, and special — even preferential — treatment in those situations where it is badly needed, be sure to build a strong foundation.
Accomplish this easily by treating them with all the respect most people normally reserve only for their paying customers.
Do you pay your suppliers on time?
Do you talk to them instead of at them?
Do you discuss challenges instead of demanding and yelling?
Do you refer others to them, if and when appropriate?
If you answered “Yes” to those questions, you are on your way to earning that special place in their hearts which will elicit consistent efforts on your behalf — especially in those minor emergencies where the average customer may not get that same satisfaction.
That’s the result of treating your suppliers as customers and clients. And the result of treating everyone with respect, whether you need them for something or not.