The First Effort of a Great Working Relationship.

We’ve recently been doing a little shopping for a service on a new project for one of our clients. Not having a particular starting place, we requested quotes from several different vendors, looking for specific elements in a response. In searching for someone to work with, we want to know they’ll do as good a job for us as we aim to do for our customers. Some of the things we look for include:

  • Timelines. How long did it take to get back to us on our request?
  • Friendliness. When nearly everything is communicated via e-mail these days, it’s important to be concise, and friendly at the same time.
  • Grammatical correctness. It may be trivial, but if the punctuation is way off, will the work they produce meet our standards?

Of course, their general knowledge of the business (and willingness to find out an answer they don’t know) will also play a part in our ultimate decision.

We’re critical, just as they’re critical of the clients they take on themselves. That’s why there are other things to keep in mind when looking for vendors. Things many people take for granted, and that start with the first words out of our mouths, or the intro to our e-mail.

Tony Byrne lays out the guidelines for getting a great vendor in his recent article.

  • Set the right tone. Don’t be bossy or submissive- and give them a chance to ask/answer questions.
  • Get your ducks in a row. Be knowledgeable, precise, and focused on your desired outcomes.
  • Have Respect. Show it, and expect it in return.

It’s not only about you getting what you want- it’s about forming a new, working, highly functional business relationship that makes it possible for everyone to win. Treat a potential vendor as your partner instead of someone who does work for you, and you’ll see the difference in the quality of work your selection produces for you, which essentially makes you proud to show the product to your client, which makes them proud to show it to the world.

It’s all relative- and we’re all working toward the same goal.

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