As a business owner, it’s easy to focus your energy on your relationships with customers. You prioritize customers; you make sure they’re treated well and that have the things they need and expect from your facility.
Another group that deserves the same respect when it comes to your business is your vendors. Since they aren’t directly putting money into your facility, your relationships with them might seem like a lower priority, but great relationships with vendors will save your business money in the long run and help make running your business more enjoyable.
Many business owners spend a lot of time trying to get the lowest prices possible from their vendors, or trying to select vendors who will give them the best deals. Although some of this time spent is necessary to prevent getting ripped off, don’t forget that your time is your most valuable asset. Extensive research to find the lowest prices takes up time you could be using to move forward on other projects to bring money into your facility.
When purchasing a product or service, especially one that you will need regularly, it’s often more important to make sure that you’re establishing a vendor relationship that will be mutually beneficial in the long term than it is to get a rock-bottom price. Rock-bottom prices often mean that quality or customer service is sacrificed somewhere along the way, but, more importantly, they may get your vendor relationship off to the wrong start.
Over time, your vendors will be happy to accommodate you once you’ve proven that you’re a valuable customer. Here’s the golden rule of vendor treatment: Treat your vendors like you would like to be treated and you will get great service and solid pricing.
Think about your own best customers: the ones who always pay on time, regularly renew their contracts, and provide valuable feedback as an invested partner. You’re much more likely to make sure that they get everything they need and are happy than you are the customers who always argue with staff for reduced prices, or who pay late or cancel at the last minute.
Make sure to communicate to your staff that they are always to treat your vendors as respected partners. Observing the golden rule of vendor relationships has yielded some great opportunities for my own sports facility, so I’m confident it can for yours, as well.