How to Get a Vendor to Do Anything You Ask

Long-time blog readers have seen this statement before: A good vendor is as important as a good customer. A client of mine spoke those words to me almost 25 years ago. I remember being thunderstruck and going around the corner to write it down. On the next reprint of my business cards, I made certain that that phrase appeared at the bottom. It made quite an impression on those who noticed and some outstanding conversations ensued.

A good vendor is a company that you can call on to bail you out or help make you shine in the eyes of your customer. We all like to think we can just pick up the phone and ask for favors from our vendors, and while that may be true some of the time, it can be true all the time if you do one of two things:

1) Always pay invoices promptly.

Don’t you just hate receivables? I do. In my opinion, the best way to say “Thank you!” for a job well done is to put a check in the mail immediately. I do it from my vendors and I appreciate it when it’s done for me.

What kind of impression does it make on you when a customer who asked you for a rush job then takes you out 60, 75, or 90 days for payment? How likely are you to jump through hoops for that client in the future?

Your vendors think the exact same thing of you. You, too, will have a need for a rush job: bindery work, prepress or some special paper that you need immediately. It is simply good business to pay your bills in a reasonable amount of time. Or sooner. It will not go unnoticed.

2) Don’t ask for something unless you need it.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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  • Dave F.

    This is excellent! I would even take it a step further and say that if said "good vendor" happens to make a mistake, work with them to correct it. If the paper vendor somehow leaves part of your order back at the warehouse, when they call to tell you what happened, either let them bring it the next day, or, if your driver happens to be near their building, have him pick it up while he’s in the area. You won’t believe how far this goes in the future when you really are in a pinch. Just because they left it off the truck, don’t demand that they deliver it the same day every time. As you mentioned, you start to sound like the boy who cried wolf!