We live in a world where things continue to move at a rapid pace. We have a lot of information at our fingertips and leverage the internet as a tool for vetting relationships. We use it to help narrow down our options; swiping right for those who catch our eye or left for those who don’t align with our priorities. Well okay, it might be a bit of a stretch to compare vendor selection to apps used for making social connections, but this is probably not too far off as there are online sites you can access to connect with vendors.
Doing a little research to narrow the playing field may be the first step in finding the perfect match, however, the most important part is identifying the key qualities that make it possible to build a successful long-term partnership. Although supplier and personal relationships may be quite different, the qualities that help build a strong foundation are very much the same.
What qualities are key to cultivating a strong partnership?
- Communication – Effective, open, and ongoing communication is the most important element in any relationship. A vendor who listens, values feedback, and understands your long-term goals can help you achieve them and grow and evolve as a team.
- Commitment – If you have a customer service issue, product performance concern, or personnel challenge, it is important to have a vendor who is committed to doing whatever it takes to find a resolution and get your relationship back on track.
- Collaboration – Working collaboratively can help identify new strategies and solutions to help you succeed and hit your target.
- Intuition – A partner that is willing to understand your industry, operation, and managers enables them to achieve better results – to make life easier. They can work to maximize efficiency and provide solutions that meet the needs of your industry and facility. Having a vendor with this level of investment allows companies to rely on them more heavily, freeing up time for other responsibilities.
- Integrity – Integrity goes a long way in building a strong partnership. If you have a vendor that takes responsibility and is accountable for contributions – good and bad, it builds trust and lays the foundation for long-term partnerships.
- Adaptability – As needs and requirements change and evolve it is important to have a vendor that is nimble and can respond quickly so your partnership can flex and grow. Being able to think outside the box and be open to a new approach often results in more efficient outcomes.
- Innovation – Having a partner who understands your needs and challenges is important. Having a partner who can help you see those challenges from a new perspective is invaluable! Long-term growth is achieved by moving in a way that is different from the competition. Choosing a vendor who brings extensive experience and proactive solutions brings the value you expect and deserve from a trusted partner.
- Strive to Exceed Expectations – Always willing to go the extra mile and striving for continuous improvement and deliver more than what is expected. When a vendor works to exceed expectations on a regular basis it shows they really value your relationship.
- Prioritize Long-term relationships – It is important to have a vendor who prioritizes a long-term relationship over short-term gains. Most large impacts start with incremental change. The management plan a vendor puts in place now will grow in value over time. If you build a trusted partnership, you can work together to measure, monitor, and track results. Having visibility into how a plan is performing allows for adjustments and scalability to add the most value over time.
How is your current relationship? When you think about your current vendors do you feel you have a true partnership? Do your vendors understand how their service impacts your overall business goals? Are you working as a team, reviewing objectives and goals on a regular basis? If not, you might want to have a conversation about what it will take to move your relationship to the next level.
Vendors who act like a trusted partner will go the extra mile to know you and your business personally and suggest solutions that are in your best business interest, not just theirs. We work hard each day to build long-term partnerships. At Watertech, we never close a sale, we start a relationship!