While it’s natural for small businesses to focus on cultivating customer relationships, there is another critical relationship that should not be neglected: nurturing supplier connections.
“Businesses are increasingly relying on suppliers to help reduce costs, innovate, improve quality and reduce lead time. Good relationships with suppliers can provide a competitive advantage.”
According to a 2013 report from management consultancy, Efficio Consulting, very few companies are working at enhancing supplier relationships, in spite of the fact that finding reliable suppliers isn’t easy. And because suppliers play a major role in the success of your business, building long-term, loyal relationships with them is crucial.
When you have solid relationships with your suppliers, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits:
Timely Merchandise Delivery
In order to provide your customers with excellent service, it’s important that your products arrive on time. Having good relationships with your suppliers will increase the odds of them prioritizing your needs. They may even deliver your goods ahead of schedule. Additionally, they’ll want to make sure they’re providing you with the best goods available. This translates to defect-free products and fewer returns.
When you’re able to deliver products on time and free of defects, your customers will appreciate the quality. People who buy from you will also feel that their money is well-spent and they’ll want to continue shopping with you.
Brand Strength & Word of Mouth
Customer satisfaction equals stronger branding. Making a positive impression on your customers conveys the message that you’re a name they can count on. When customers are happy with your products and services, they’ll not only stay loyal to your brand, but they’ll spread the word to friends, family, and other associations.
With good supplier relationships come opportunities to earn discounts and other incentives. Suppliers appreciate prompt payments and may feel inclined to offer you a cash discount or a certain percentage off the goods you purchase from them.
Better Quality of Support
Occasionally, you’re bound to receive damaged goods or delayed shipments. Resolving these issues will go more smoothly when you have good relationships with your suppliers. Odds are, they’ll be willing to go above and beyond to fix your problems and reimburse you for your trouble.
Building customer relationships is an important part of any business strategy, but don’t neglect your supplier connections.
Cultivate your supplier relationships with good practices like paying your bills on time, being respectful of their order fulfillment guidelines and making sure you communicate in an open and clear manner to reduce complications and misunderstandings.
View your suppliers as allies and treat them accordingly because the relationship you have with them can impact the success of your business.
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Also published on Medium.