Dealing with vendors is kind of a Catch 22 — you can’t do business without their products, but sometimes you’d like to business without them directly. What you need to remember is that even with those annoying cold sales calls, your vendors are your partners. Without them, you would not be able to stock your shelves or bring new products to your customers. At the same time, good vendors understand that without your business, they would have no business either, and they go out of their way to give you the service and support you need to be successful.
Building good vendor relationships leads to less stress and better deals. Here are two vendor management tips that can help your keep costs down and maintain trusted relationships while growing your business.
Many business owners believe that the prices quoted by vendors are set in stone. While that may be the case sometimes, it is not always so. Do your research before meeting with a vendor; learn as much as you can about their products, and what support service they bring to the table whether that is online ordering, guarantees, product education and even shipping particulars. If two vendors are selling the same product, don’t hesitate to do a comparison. Use the research you have done to tip the scales in your favor when it’s time to negotiate. You may surprise yourself by the savings you can earn just by asking. Your vendor will appreciate that you come from an informed starting point rather than one where you’re simply hunting for deals that are just too unreasonable.
Whether you’re buying wholesale batteries or glass in China, ask for a sample item — even if you have to pay for it. When you have a sample in your hands, you can check the quality to ensure the product is exactly what you are looking for. If they can’t provide you with product information and a physical sample, they are probably not serious about doing business.
You can also dig a little deeper into the overseas supplier by ordering a report from third-party authentication services such as GloBIS, which will provide the lowdown on your potential supplier, including legal representatives, shareholders, business scope, financial records from the last three years, and other information.