7 Tips for Successful Vendor Relationships

Vendor selection isn´t always the sexiest aspect of owning a small business, but the resulting relationships can have lasting effects on the success of your company. These tips will help you know when to say “yes!” and when to walk aw

Small business owners tend to be visionaries with very specific ideas on how they want their businesses to run and high standards for the quality of work produced. So as a small business owner, it can be difficult to make the decision to hire vendors and contractors, fearing wasted dollars, inadequate results, or untimely performance.

However, if you stick to a few specific guidelines, your chances of hiring the right vendor or contractor to suit your needs affordably increase dramatically. Jeffrey Leaving, president of The Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, LTD., offers the following tips for maximizing results with vendors and contractors:

  1. Do your due diligence concerning a specific vendor before engaging in negotiations.

  2. Request potential vendors sign nondisclosure agreements with you before entering into negotiations. You don’t want to risk a vendor using your sensitive business information for one of your competitors.

  3. If a representative from a specific vendor is not dealing with you with integrity, request a new rep from the vendor. The vendor is not generally going to want to lose your business. If the vendor is not the right fit for you, use one of their competitors.

  4. Do comparison price shopping in the marketplace so you don’t end up grossly
    overpaying.

  5. Rely on written contracts to bind your purchases with vendors. Verbal agreements can result in communication problems, disagreements and failed relationships. Have a lawyer review the contracts before signing. Hire a competent transactional lawyer who will watch your back. Also, don’t use a lawyer who is representing or has represented the vendor (too much of a conflict risk).

  6. Develop good working relationships with vendors you can trust. Then, working relationships with those trusted vendors can be maintained for years to come.

  7. Finally, rely on your intuition and your emotional intelligence. If the deal doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t.