Ultimately, people choose to do business with those they like. And, let’s face it, everyone likes someone who appreciates them. The late poet, Maya Angelou had it right when she said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I love this quote because it rings the truth – vendors and clients alike want to feel appreciated and respected.
Today, let’s talk about finding vendors.
How do you find a vendor that meets your criteria and that you’ll eventually grow to like, know and trust? One of the easiest ways is to get a referral from a trusted business colleague or friend. Another path is to create a quick online search of your potential vendor partners and see who they’re connected to in your LinkedIn network or other social media platforms. Reach out and ask for their feedback and how they’d rate your potential partner. You can also check them out on Google (love Google) and see what comes up. Did they receive positive comments or bad reviews? What’s the buzz from other clients about their work? This is all valuable Intel!
Look for vendors who take the time to listen to what you have to say. Let them know your requirements and then be silent. The ball is in their court. Give them a chance to win you. You already know that it’s not all about the money. Your budget will obviously have an impact on your decision, but it’s not the end all and never should be. Take the time to listen and you may hear other ideas or avenues that you never even dreamed of… Imagine that!
It’s also important to keep an ongoing conversation since communication, doesn’t’ stop once they’re onboard. What you want is a true partnership that involves building a rapport—which ultimately leads to building trust. If you see a red flag like not responding for a few days, take note. It could be that something personal is going on in his/her life–or that they’re not the vendor for you. No one wants to feel needy but on the other hand, no one wants to feel ignored.
In the end, always trust your intuition. If you get a bad feeling after talking with a potential vendor, it’s probably for a good reason. Don’t get carried away with lofty promises or fancy presentations. Listening to your instincts is a powerful tool for navigating decisions. Stick with a vendor you can count on, can communicate with and one that will help you achieve your goals through the everyday and sometimes extraordinary challenges of business.
And if you’re lucky, you’ll make a business friend for life.