How to Get Along with Vendors
Somewhere along the line in operating your home business you will have to deal with vendors. These are people or organizations you will do business with. For example if you place newspaper ads the newspaper and their representative you deal with will be a vendor.
Vendors can be your best friend or they can be your worst nightmare. To create a positive relationship with vendors there are a few simple rules you need to incorporate. Rule one, Do not trust your vendor. I am not saying that vendors are not trustworthy. What I am saying is that vendors want to do business with you so they can make money from you. They are sales people giving you a sales pitch. So listen to what they have to say and then do some research.
Some of the best research you can do is in the form of what questions you will ask your vendor. Vendors are not always big on telling you details nor things that are important to you. This information you will have to question them about. Write down the answers or ask for them in writing from your vendor.
Let’s use the newspaper rep as an example. Newspapers have deadlines. You will need to know this. The newspaper rep will probably not discuss this with you until you call to place an ad. Then you may find out you missed the deadline and you will have to wait to see your ad in print.
You will also want to know if you can proof read your ad before it goes to print. You may get credit for ad errors. However, it is not ad credit you are seeking when you place an ad.
Newspapers have contracts for frequent ads. You need to find the details of the contract and what happens if you fail to perform on the contract. Sometimes it is better to run an ad first and see if it produces the results you want before signing a long term contract.
Newspapers have categories. You will need to look at the paper to determine the correct category. Your rep can help you with this but it is best for you to make the final decision.
Newspaper ads use abbreviations especially if you end up with having one word left on one line. That one word could cost you. You need to see how you can shorten your ad if that happens. You also need to determine what abbreviations are appropriate for you.
Newspapers have different font sizes. How will this affect your ad?. Bigger fonts mean more expensive ads. Is the bigger font worthwhile to you?
Will you need a display ad or a classified ad. There is a cost difference between the two. You do not want to overspend. On the other hand you do not want to waste money by running a classified ad when you need a display ad.
How long should you run your ad? Most ads peter out after two or three days. Is is better to run an ad for a few days for two weeks or all at once?
Newspaper ads are immediate. Will you be able to deal with an onslaught of calls or customers when your ad runs? If not how will you handle that?
There may be several papers in your city. How do you decide which one to use? Perhaps the one with less circulation but a more targeted market would be better for you. You will need to check the readership. Your rep will have this information.
If your ad does not produce the results you expected how do you determine what to change?
Will you fax, e mail or phone your ad copy in? Will you be billed? Do you pay in advance?
After all these questions you can always ask your vendor if there was anthing else you need to know.
As you can see there are many things to consider in making a business vendor decision. That is why I stress doing research and homework. Snap decisions in business can be costly and detrimental Best to get your ducks in order. As you do this more often it will become easier.
One other thing to consider is your instinct. This is not scientific. If you do not like the vendor upon initial meeting then do not deal with them. Ask for another rep. Better to work with someone you like than someone you do not feel comfortable with. This could be a long term involved relationship. You have the right to decide to whom you give your money to. You can choose whom you want to do business with. Always remember that.
Sometimes you may be assigned a different rep each time. If there was one that stood out ask for that person the next time you deal with this vendor. It is beneficial to deal with someone you trust and like.
These are things you must consider. There may be more you will need to consider. If you plan on having a long term relationship with your vendor you must establish this from the start. You need to be the one that develops a relationship with your vendor, not the other way. There is a simple and easy way to do this. If everything worked out well with the ad you placed send your vendor a card thanking them for their assistance. Your vendor will remember you this way. Your vendor is probably not thanked often so this is a nice gesture.
This analysis applies to whatever type of vendor you will be dealing with. I chose this example of the newspaper rep because it was a simple example. As you can see it was quite involved for a simple example. You can not take shortcuts when you are the boss. Mistakes can be costly so act wisely and do your due diligence. And remember to do something special for your vendor to establish a good working long term relationship. Good business is a give and take.
Marcia, Your Confidence Coach
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