You will find a lot of people saying that there is no need to bother with suppliers and vendors relationship. However, overlooking the relationship with suppliers and vendors is so not good for any association. They key should be to catch good business from your suppliers and vendors with the right strategies.
All you need to have is the right kind of planning and you can turn your suppliers into some really good business referrals. As a graphic designer, you should always have a good networking circle so that people can recommend you to the potential clients. Never ever ignore any area of your networking but we do see a lot of graphic designers taking their suppliers for granted. Reciprocity can be established. Make sure your vendors have your print brochures so they know exactly what services you offer.
Whenever we talk about building a network in order to get some good work, mostly people refer to social networking websites, networking groups, current clients or their own blogs but one thing that should not be ignored and is ignored is the current supplier base. Remember your relationship with the current supplier does not end with “Pay to the order of”. You can get a lot out of it if you put in a little effort and a little bit of pre planning as well.
This will make things so much easy for you as you can turn your suppliers and vendors into good business referrals. Try to build an ideal relationship with your suppliers and make sure it is a long term relationship. Be careful about selecting vendors and suppliers and make sure they are reliable. Following are a few tips which will definitely help you in catching good business from your suppliers and vendors:
Identifying Strategic Partners
You should have a good plan before you start anything as everything needs to be planned. Instead of looking for suppliers and vendors randomly, you need to take a good look at the market and then decide what kind of suppliers are associated with your kind of business and would prove to be good referral partners. As a graphic designer, analyze the services offered by you and look for the companies who are closely associated with the services being offered by you. Since you are a graphic designer, the best places for you to start off with would be print shops, copywriters, commercial photographers.
One thing that should always be kept in mind is that whatever company you choose; make sure it is reliable and trustworthy. A good reputation is way too important and you would never want to be linked with someone who can have a bad impact on your reputation. Selecting the right kind of partner will help you in getting the right clientele as you would not want to waste your time with clients who are not really interested.
You need to build good relationships with your existing suppliers and vendors. First of all, analyze the kind of relationship you have with them right now. Select one of the influential people from the company and build a good rapport with him. Make sure he has the authority to make recommendations for his company. If you will continue to talk with a new person each time you call, you would never be able to build a good relationship. Select one person and have a conversation with him every time you call.
Remember, getting to know them is equally important so have a small talk with them every time you call them. Try getting to know them better in order to build a trust factor. The best thing you can do is get the conversation to a little personal level and if the supplier starts considering you a friend on personal level, chances of your recommendations are really higher. It is easy for people to recommend someone they trust and you should make an effort to be that trustworthy person.
Ensure that it’s a Mutually Beneficial Relationship
Have you ever thought how many of your current suppliers and vendors know exactly what you do for your current living? In order to build a good relationship, they need to know you a little bit on personal level as well. It is important for you to educate them with the services being offered by you so that they can successfully recommend you to potential clients.
While having a conversation with them, remember that you are considering them as a referral partner so you need to be very careful with what you say and do. You conversation is a great way to plant the ideas in their heads about your work. Take them out for lunch or drop by to their offices and discuss your ideas of becoming partners with them. One thing that you are not supposed to ignore is that if you need them, they need you too so make sure it is a mutually beneficial relationship.
Marketing Yourself Differently
You cannot just sit and wait for your referral partners to refer you. Staying in touch with your suppliers and vendors is a great idea so that they can recommend you to the potential clients. Also, make sure that you go on meetings with them and market yourself as well. Another advantage of going to meetings with your new referral partner is that it will give you partner a good idea about how you go about things and this way he can recommend you to more and more potential clients. You cannot be around your referral partners all the time so these few meetings will help them in understanding you and in telling the new clients about you in a better way. Remember, marketing yourself in a right way is way too important.
Supporting Your Vendors and Suppliers
Remember that you should always support your vendors and suppliers. If you are lucky enough to “click” with them you should not end up your relationship with them just because your contract has ended. You should always maintain your ties with them. Your vendors and suppliers have been your referrals and you can do the same. Your recommendations can work wonders for them as well so try to give them something in return as well. In order to be successful, maintaining healthy business relationships is very important and suppliers can bring you a lot of good business so maintaining a good relationship with them is a key to your success.
Gratitude and Recognition
Everyone in this world likes to be appreciated. Giving thanks and recognition to your suppliers should be an obvious thing. One of the biggest reasons is that thanking someone for all the efforts is really courteous. Not only this, it will show your vendors and suppliers that you are actually thankful to them for all the efforts they have put in for you.
It’s Worth the Bother
A lot of people may think that why they should work on a maintaining a good relationship with the suppliers and vendors. Well, it’s all worth the bother. They bring in a lot of new opportunities for you and can play a very important role in your success so be sure to put in some good efforts to catch a good business from your suppliers and vendors.