9 Tips for Maintaining Good Supplier Relations
e will be responsible for a large number of elements, between benefits and risks. Customer-supplier relationships are essential in the e-commerce process!
So, how to make this couple work wonderfully and so that this relationship is not unbalanced? Here are some tips for building a healthier partnership that respects both parties.
Succeed in your prospecting phase and your “casting”
Obtaining good communication in its relations with its suppliers is a long-term task, which also begins during the prospecting process. Indeed, at the start, it is important to find the right partner and to establish a good foundation with him, one of the keys to your future success!
1. Identify your main criteria necessary for the success of your activity
Before you start prospecting for your suppliers and purchasing your goods, it is first necessary to clearly identify your expectations.
For this, I strongly advise you to draw up a table grouping the information and criteria which seem to you the most important . It is essential to know beforehand what you expect from your suppliers!
It is according to these elements that you will then establish a selection in accordance with your choices and your practices.
2. Try to know your competitors’ suppliers
Because it is important to perform constant monitoring in many areas to refine your sales strategy, it is also good to monitor various information of your competition such as purchasing and supply management as well as their suppliers. .
Of course, this includes learning about the partners of leaders in your industry . If they place themselves in such a good position, it is very likely that they work with competent suppliers and provide more effective solutions to their customers’ requests.
Conversely, also remember to list the suppliers of companies in difficulty in your market. This can be a warning signal in order to know with whom you are going to sign your contract. Be careful if you hesitate to work with them…
3. Select reliable suppliers and get in touch with them
Several sources can allow you to select reliable suppliers when it comes to purchasing goods or sourcing. It is up to you to carry out searches on the Internet, in professional directories, through your CCI, at trade fairs or professional events or even via social networks.
In your research, remember to attach particular importance to the quality-price ratio of the goods, the production and delivery times as well as the stability and reputation of the wholesaler in order to be able to carry out an evaluation of the offers on the market and thus choose the best deal for your cash flow.
Then, all you have to do is get in touch with the selected supplier(s), either by email or directly by phone . The ideal is then to fix a first appointment to really take the time to negotiate the conditions of your future partnership.
Really take the time to evaluate, to compare the practices and data related to your suppliers according to your criteria: they will be responsible for the good development of your company in the long term.
4. Start your collaboration on the right footings
The first meeting is an opportunity to lay the foundations of your collaboration. This is a good time to build trust in your relationship, so that both parties can really benefit from it. Take the time to discuss and explain your arguments, your strategy , and prepare all the documents that can help your future partner to better understand your practices, your management but also the relationships you usually build with your suppliers if you have the accustomed to this type of collaboration.
Also know how to hear your supplier’s arguments. Once common ground has been found, these bases should be laid down in writing and validated by each party, to avoid all risks and optimize your purchases.
It is then necessary that the interview ends without any frustration appearing on either side. It is only on this condition that you will obtain a healthy and lasting relationship in order to move forward on good terms with your partner.
Create a relationship of trust based on win-win
As you will have understood, the best collaboration is the one in which each party finds its benefit. So you need to establish a win-win middle ground.
This is an essential basis for retaining your best suppliers who will be responsible for your catalog of items, while also obtaining good financial results for you.
5. Learn to understand your supplier’s expectations and needs
Unless you have a considerable chance, it’s a safe bet that your supplier will not be able to meet all of your expectations… At least not immediately!
Just like you, he is a company that must respect certain margins in order to operate. Very often, your supplier will only apply a preferential rate to you beyond a certain quantity ordered. This is not a simple “punishment” or a forced sale process…
This is due to the economy of scale achieved when manufacturing and/or shipping large quantities. So try to understand your supplier and put yourself in their shoes. When a disagreement arises, it is essential to continue to communicate.
6. Find common ground and write your terms
The negotiation between the company and a supplier concerns many different elements. It could be discussing:
The quality of the products and the service provided;
A possible confidentiality clause;
The order tracking process;
Contract termination conditions, etc.
All these elements must be discussed from the start of the partnership: they are the keys to your contract. They must then be written clearly. Similarly, consider also providing a clause stipulating the penalties provided for in the event of non-compliance with the initial agreement.
7. Be transparent about your expectations and requirements
To preserve a lasting relationship, transparency is the key word. You must therefore remain clear and firm on your requirements. Whether your partner likes it or not, you need to express your expectations precisely , even if it means creating some competition between several of your suppliers.
In the event that certain conflicts arise, consider appointing a third person to manage them. The ideal is to establish this appointment from the beginning of your collaboration. This sometimes makes it possible to avoid going through the court box!
Then, also help yourself with all the technological tools at your disposal. There are all kinds of software out there today to help you communicate and manage bills. The latter are excellent allies to avoid non-payment.
Thus, the dematerialized invoice offers many advantages . It reduces processing costs and sends documents to customers more quickly. Its simplicity of treatment is much greater.
In addition, some software takes advantage of an automatic invoice recognition system. Their validation is therefore more fluid and faster. Likewise, an automatic relaunch system is also integrated. Enjoy!
8. Set up an effective communication system
To maintain good relations with your supplier, it is essential to maintain regular contact. To do this, remember to organize meetings at frequent intervals, to allow you to judge the evolution of your partnership. These exchanges are also favorable moments for the implementation of new conditions of collaboration , when the previous ones no longer suit one or the other of the parties.
Here again, new technologies are your allies! Indeed, your suppliers will not necessarily be close to your company. So remember to use different means to stay in touch with them, such as Whatsapp, Telegram, emails, social networks, or even video.
9. Always be polite, courteous and available to your supplier
As you would with a client, always try to be polite and never get carried away. As in a couple, when you have a long-distance relationship with a professional partner, it is absolutely impossible to always be in agreement.
However, it is essential to privilege the discussion, as much as possible in calm. Always be open to dialogue and be courteous. Tell yourself that this is the best way to achieve your goals and get the most out of your collaboration.