On one hand, when I need one of these companies I want to them to:
- have a person answer the phone when I call them;
- respond immediately, and;
- do so at the lowest costs possible.
On the other hand when I feel I don’t need them, I really would rather not hear from them. Except, I also understand that many times while I may not feel I need to speak to them, they may have information that is in my company’s best interest to know about.
So as busy as we all are, here are several effective methods for managing unsolicited calls from vendors/suppliers in a way that keeps you properly informed while not becoming a drag on your time:
- Be upfront with your vendors and suppliers
Give them clear direction as what in your mind constitutes considerate and professional keeping in touch and what methods you find bothersome. Personally I like to get email first requesting a time to speak to me and then a phone call. However if you are person who easily gets overwhelmed by emails, other methods may work best. (Good old-fashioned US mail sometimes works for me too.)
- Once you have set those parameters hold up your end of the agreement
Return the emails, take the phone calls etc. Don’t ignore them. Doing so both sours the relationship and with some personality types, just encourages them not to hold up their end of the agreement – which is in neither party’s best interest
- Appreciate that your vendors are keenly aware that they have competitors out there and they want to keep your business
Personally, I like doing business with companies hungry to keep my business. I am always a little concerned and even suspicious about organizations that take my company’s business for granted.
I am also big on having a proactive relationship with my vendors and suppliers, which helps my company keep costs down while taking preventive measures to avoid major problems and expenses.
Bottom line: The relationship between a company and its vendors is a bit of a dance, but when it works well everyone is happy; when it doesn’t work well, everyone loses.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you have tips, suggestions and comments to add? If so, I would love to hear from you.