It's time to change your mindset from vendor to strategic partner. Choose a company that will treat your business relationship as a strategic partnership. This means sharing your worries, your successes, and your failures.
Here are 8 ways you can determine if a vendor may be a strategic partner for your business:
- They use words like 'we,' 'us,' and 'our' when describing your business. Conversely, they don't use words like 'you all,' 'your problem,' or 'not my issue.'
- Access to leadership is readily available if needed. Not only do you want the commitment from the day-to-day folks, you should get it from the top too.
- Account representatives reply within a few hours, not days. The response from the representative doesn't have to necessarily answer your question right away, but it should acknowledge receipt.
- They don't charge you for recurring status meetings and never question an on-site visit whether it be at your place or theirs, as long as there is guaranteed money on the table throughout the year. Some vendors will also say there is a large expense for travel, so if they are traveling cross-country, it's polite to offer to pay some of their expenses.
- They don't nickel and dime you for services that weren't included in the original scope. If it's a large task, then yes, expect to be charged. In this case, it's important to get a scope of work before the project or service is initiated. If you're ever charged without communicating, this should throw up a red flag - they are your vendor and not your strategic partner.
- Your main contact(s) provide his or her cell phone number and don't mind texting or communicating outside of normal work hours. Let's face it, work doesn't just happen from 8-5 anymore. A strategic partner will give you reasonable access while at home.
- They offer value-added services like partner summits, access to other 3rd parties they use, or like-minded individuals if and when it's applicable.
- Conversations just feel good. You know what it's like when you're talking to someone and it feels natural vs. forced. After one or two meetings, you get past the first date jitters and awkwardness, and the conversations should start to feel comfortable.
Most need vendors to get through our day-to-day work lives. If your business is not there yet, will most likely be there some day. There will be times it's perfectly okay for someone to just be a vendor. But when you need a vendor to be a strategic partner for the betterment of your company, do your research and keep these tips in mind.
And, if you need a strategic partnership in finance and business growth, we are your team. We've got everything you need to effortlessly manage your cash flow, payments, payroll, and more. Contact us today or stop by any Central Bank location.