4 Ways to Keep Your Vendors Happy

by Beth Rifkin

2 min read

Keeping your vendors happy has advantages for your small business. Satisfied suppliers ensure your orders arrive on time, have the products that you require, and work with you to negotiate suitable payment arrangements. These benefits help you meet your customers’ needs so you can keep them satisfied.

Pay on Time

Keep your vendors happy by paying them on time. Once your small business has a history of regular payment, you may find it easier to negotiate favourable terms. When you select a supplier, make sure it offers terms that fit your business to help you pay by the due date. For instance, your business may require extended payment options during certain months of the year due to seasonality. Consider streamlining your payment process by using financial software that automatically makes payments to suppliers. For example, if you own an online store and pay your vendor on the last day of each month, set up an automated reoccurring payment so you never miss the due date.

Build a Relationship

Forge a professional relationship with your key suppliers. Consider selecting an employee to manage your vendor relationships. Having a single point of contact helps ensure suppliers know who to communicate with at your small business. Invite vendors to your office or warehouse for a demonstration of how your company operates. If they become familiar with your business, they might suggest other products they could supply you with that would add value to your customers. Strengthen your vendor relationships by having business lunches; you may get introduced to people in their networks that could result in new clients or business partners.

Clear Communication

Communicate clearly with your vendors to avoid misunderstandings. If you can’t make a payment on time or need an extension, contact the vendor in advance to make them aware of your situation. For large shipments, ask your supplier to provide several samples so you can request changes to the product before the order gets sent; resolving these issues before shipment helps avoid miscommunication. Make sure you communicate your inventory needs. For example, if your store is intending to have a large sale, let your supplier know that you may require additional stock at short notice so they have plenty of time to plan ahead.

Display Loyalty

Vendors appreciate loyalty from their customers. Show suppliers that you care about them by directing new business their way. For example, if you own a landscaping business and work with an outdoor decor supplier, recommend the vendor to other landscaping businesses. Remain discreet when checking out alternative suppliers to avoid offending your current vendor. If your suppliers make a mistake, let them know what went wrong and work with them to overcome the issue. Vendors often have many customers; showing loyalty helps your business become a valued client and receive preferential treatment. Happy suppliers bring benefits to your small business that help you service customers better. Keep your vendors satisfied by paying on time, fostering the relationship, providing clear communication, and showing loyalty.

References & Resources

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