Look for a GREAT first impression
You’re probably going to be cold calling a wide variety of potential suppliers. Those first impressions provide a basic sense of what they might be like to work with. Watch out, for those that are slow to provide responses, images, product details, or shipping rates. It may mean they don’t value those core customer service basics, they’re understaffed, or they’re disorganized.
Avoid businesses that don’t publish a phone number, email is ok but for some things, a call is absolutely really necessary, if you cannot call them now – you won’t be able to later if there is a problem.
The Door to Communication is OPEN
Good communication could mean all the difference when your supplier decides to discontinue a certain product or worse experiences procurement issues. Finding out you cannot fulfill an order for your own customers is never good for business. Always keep the lines of communication open and you can avoid most obstacles with lots of notice
Let’s be “Friends”
Suppliers routinely use social media to provide specials, deals and one-time offers. Follow your suppliers and stay on top of what they post, you could easily find yourself in an advantageous position just for being a “friend”. This also provides another method of communication, definitely a plus.
Have a Backup Source
Suppliers can close down, suffer health issues, fail to procure products on time, or run into shipping difficulties. Keep yourself covered and try to spread yourself out among several, this way you should always have a source if needed. Suppliers know you get products elsewhere so there is no need to hide this fact, if they ask tell them and you might find yourself receiving better customer service since they know you have options.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Everybody wants the best deal, experience etc. Applying perfect expectations to any supplier is ultimately going to provide you with disappoint. Remember this works both ways, all relationships require both sides to put in work. You can hold suppliers accountable while still be reasonable. You might be surprised how well your understanding and patience is received.