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Whether you run a small business or a middle-market company, you probably work with equipment vendors from time to time. Perhaps it is a vendor business that sells equipment such as computer hardware or trucks or one that sells cloud software. Having a good relationship with vendors can be integral to your business’s success. It can also save your business time and money. Use the steps in this Balboa Capital blog post to learn how to choose an equipment vendor.
Research your options.
A good customer-vendor relationship can help both parties achieve success. So, just what does it take to create a mutually strong business relationship? First, you must ensure it is a good fit for both parties. Then, take the time to research your equipment vendor options online, and do not forget to ask your peers for recommendations.
When looking at equipment vendors, check to see if they have the latest makes and models of what you are interested in. In addition, find out if they offer convenient purchasing options in-house. As for service vendors, look for those with experience, results, and reasonable pricing. Of course, industry experience is a plus, too.
Contact potential equipment vendors.
Once your initial research phase is complete, it is time to reach out to the vendors on your shortlist. Contact them via phone or email to let them know you are interested in their business and explain your specific needs. Vendor representatives who take the time to answer your questions and whose companies fit the criteria you are looking for should be invited for a one-on-one meeting.
Select up to three of your favorite vendors and have them visit your office – at different times, of course – so they can present their offerings, value propositions, prices, etc. This is an excellent way to find the best fit for your business.
Make the right decision.
After meeting with prospective equipment vendors, it is time to decide. You should take this very seriously, as the vendors you work with can play a crucial role in your business’s growth and profits. If you make an ill-informed decision without reviewing your notes, you might have to change vendors again. This can lead to wasted time, as you must go through the entire research and discovery process again.
Choosing the wrong vendor can also lead to additional costs down the road. For example, a product vendor who overpromises and under-delivers can result in missed sales opportunities and upset customers if you cannot fulfill their orders on time. Conversely, working with the right vendors can help you attract new customers and build your brand.
Set realistic expectations.
Once you have decided on an equipment vendor, set your expectations, so everyone is on the same page. Next, establish mutually agreed-upon goals regarding pricing, shipping, delivery, and anything else. Moreover, should anything change, ask your vendor to inform you ahead of time, so there is no confusion. Finally, ask them to contact you via email or phone.
Lastly, you and your vendors must make yourselves accessible during business hours. You are both busy building your businesses, which means time is valuable. Keep phone calls and emails on the topic, and be proactive should any unexpected problems occur. Open, honest communication goes a long way in any business relationship, especially between you and your vendors. It can help build your loyalty to keep your best equipment vendors long-term.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.