Continuing a week of sales talk.
Experienced business owners know that quality relationships with vendors can become a strategic advantage.
I spent many years as a vendor for McDonalds as a provider of market research and advertising services. The McDonald’s system taught me much more than I taught them. The most important lesson I took with me was a definitive way to treat a vendor.
First, I was never called a vendor. I was a partner. Owner-operators treated me and my company with the highest respect and honor. They listened to recommendations, paid invoices early and generally made us all feel we were part of the Golden Arches family.
I will never forget the McDonald’s owner/operators who attended the wake and funeral of my father. They stood with me throughout the entire grieving process and showed love to me that superseded our business relationship. What company would do this for a vendor?
I can also share stories of how other companies treated us as vendors. Even the word “vendor” was coughed-up as though we were sub-human. Every meeting with vendor-haters made us want to find another career.
Businesses who favor vendors as partners enjoy the following benefits:
* Better work and fees — we worked all-night, many nights for McDonald’s and charged lower fees as a total package. Our difficult clients always received our best work but perhaps, less passion. A beat-down dog doesn’t run to an owner for more beatings!
* Better market intelligence — A well-treated vendor/partner will work hard to know key market facts and provide real-time feedback. Good vendors know their market and will share what they know.
* Better referral sources — Over the years, our company made sure to patronize, recommend and spread good news about our clients. A partner relationship works beyond the contract or job description.
A well-trained sales team of a vendor/partner should be a sustaining resource for their clients. Sales people know the street and know who is doing what on the street. When the company needs answers–vendor/partners are a vital resource.
Relationships with vendor/partners should be intentional.