Post written by Greg Dabbs, Business Development Manager
I have two words to share with you today: Partner and Vendor.
Most people are familiar with those words but many people don’t really think about the difference between the two and the importance of one versus the other.
Looking at it from a business perspective a vendor is someone or a company that exchanges goods and services for money…an order taker.
Being a partner is someone or a company who engages in a business relationship with another person or company and understands equal participation and being a resource and solutions provider. The latter of the two, being a partner, is what truly drives your business relationships forward to success.
Below are 7 key components that highlight the benefits of being a partner vs a vendor:
1. Transparency and trust
People see the truth in you through your actions, personality, and in how genuine you are with them. Always be that way and reveal what you’re thinking and what you’re trying to accomplish. Be straightforward. Don’t hide anything. Maintain this approach and you’ll be well on your way to establishing transparency and trust. If you take these traits and establish a good foundation, then the business will grow and take care of itself.
2. Excellent communication
A good line of communication is essential when establishing and maintaining a good relationship with clients. Make sure you’re communicating the good, the bad and everything in between. Attention to detail is key. And don’t make assumptions. Always clarify to make sure you and your clients are on the same page.
3. Be engaged in learning the business and goals of your partners
Don’t just know what your client produces, manufactures or sells, but gain an understanding of what goals they’re trying to achieve.
Whether it be adding new product lines, acquisitions, growth goals etc. Get to know what is new and groovy going on with their business. That’s an easy way to show them how much you care.
4. Run toward problems, not away from them
Some people are afraid when problems, mistakes or challenges occur in a business relationship. The tendency might be to ignore it and hope it goes away.
You’ll create a stronger relationship if you own up to any mistakes you’ve made and fix them. Or help come up with solutions to problems that have nothing to do with you or your company.
Take the initiative to create a solution, leap out of your comfort zone and help make things better.
5. Measure and re-evaluate
Always measure your actions and results with clients. This includes re-evaluating what needs to be improved, changed, corrected…anything that can strengthen the bond and trust factors.
Don’t sit on your hands if something isn’t working or going the way you think it should. Be proactive in coming up with solutions and switching things up to avoid recurring issues.
6. No hidden agendas
Hidden agendas bring a truckload of negativity. Don’t ever engage in a conversation or go into a client meeting with a hidden agenda. Be straightforward and clear on what you want to say or accomplish.
7. Be a consultant and solutions provider
Go to your clients with something that sets you apart from everyone else. For example, what is the niche where you have the most knowledge and experience? Become the go-to person for your client. Be proactive in showing them how you can make their lives easier.
Make sure they know you’re always there for them. Good service and true authenticity is sometimes the No. 1 thing lacking in this world. Make it happen.
What other advice or thoughts do you have on partnerships vs. vendor relationships? We’d love to hear from you!