We're all so busy running our businesses that we don't always recognize the resources we have in our vendors. They can be such a great ambassador for a company and sing praises on your behalf. But first, we have to figure out how to make them a part of our business development in a way that doesn't feel forced.
Most vendors are overlooked when it comes to their expert knowledge within their respective industries. They have not only valuable information on the goods and services currently in use, but may also have insider tips on changes in the pipeline. All of which could affect supply chains and available services down the road. What an incredible way to widen your scope of communication (internally and externally) in this area is by inviting one (or a few) of your respected vendors on a tour of your facility or to a product presentation. They’ll very likely appreciate knowing how their product is being used by your company and value the opportunity to be considered an expert. Also, don’t discount the fact that you may be enlightened on a few new ways to use their products or services in conjunction with yours that could lead to increased revenue.
We also encourage you to be as upfront and honest as you can; look at them as a partner. Maintain your integrity and be transparent whether it’s good or bad, this will shine a favorable light on your current and future business deals.
Lastly, vendors are often treated like the “help” and therefore not respected as the experts they are. If they’ve taken the time to show up for you, offer their expertise and assist in any way, say thank you. There’s a strong chance that next time they have a new product or hear of something that may be a good fit for your business, you’re likely to be front of mind. Then you can pour yourself a drink and celebrate because you’ve created a brand ambassador.