Maximizing Vendor Relationships

Buyers' Training
May 30, 2012 — 1,279 views  
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As a purchasing professional, you need vendors in order to work, but sometimes dealing with vendors can be a challenge. After all, you know that vendors are just trying to sell you something, and often seeing past their sales routine into what exactly you want to purchase can be hard. Additionally, there are many vendors that you'll likely have to work with again and again. These are vendors from the companies with which you most often deal. Instead of dreading that vendor meeting, however, you can cultivate relationships with your vendors that can help you improve your job performance.

Choose Your Friends Carefully

This is probably a phrase you heard your mother use as a child, but it still applies when cultivating vendor relationships. You don't need to maximize your relationships with all vendors. In fact, there should be a few vendors with whom you don't. These are the vendors who are always trying to get you to purchase the latest product without really thinking about how it will benefit you or your organization -- they are pushy, and it's hard for you to even purchase what you want because they are constantly trying to get you to buy something else -- or two more of what you just bought.

However, choosing and reaching out to a few vendors with whom you work well cannot be bad. Offer to meet them for lunch or dinner and discuss your needs. This way, you'll likely get more targeted sales pitches plus more personal customer service next time around.

Talk A Lot

If you avoid talking to your vendors whenever possible, it's obvious why you have a bad relationship. For your relationship to grow, you and your vendor need to talk more. Spend time talking about the big things, such as products you need and the way your organization works, but also spend time talking about little things -- this way you'll not only give your vendor the most important information, but you'll also establish a rapport, so working together becomes effortless.

Treat the Vendor with Respect

You go to work each day and do your job -- vendors are doing the same thing. Communicate clearly, but respect that your vendor has a job to do too, and sometimes that job is doing a sales demonstration when you do not feel like listening to one.

Buyers' Training