Most industries rely on a network of suppliers to serve their projects. Whether it’s simple stationery or vital construction materials, suppliers keep businesses running. Of course, the big challenge is keeping costs down. Many companies use a myriad of vendors and budget constraints are always an issue. With the right attitude, however, you can make sure your supplier costs are low. Today we’re going to show you how to get the best deal from your suppliers.
Communication – It all starts with a healthy communication, based on mutual respect. You all know how important networking is to your business. Well, the same should extend to your suppliers. Take them out for lunch, or meet them for drinks. Get to know your regular providers and build up a rapport. Build a loyal relationship and they’re much more likely to offer deals or supply materials at late notice. Just as customer trust is vital, so is supplier trust.
Research and shop around - If you’re dealing with a new supplier, be sure to get at least three other quotes. That way, you can get a sense of the average price and what constitutes a good deal. You could even mention to the supplier that you’ve found a lower quote elsewhere but would still prefer to work with them. They may be amenable to this and lower the cost slightly. Remember, every supplier wants to make the deal as much as you do.
Understand the basics, and the jargon - As we mentioned before, communication goes a long way. It builds mutual respect and trust. Another way to do this is make sure you understand the industry. Talk their language and use their jargon. Every industry has its shorthands and acronyms. Learn them and be ready to reel them off. You’ll come across as competent and your words will have a little more impact.
Pay on time! – If you ever want to strike a good deal again, this advice is crucial. Where possible, pay the biggest deposit you can afford, especially to new suppliers. They’ll instantly respect and trust your company if you can do this. After that, pay your invoice on time and in full. It’s such an easy thing to do. Once you’ve got a reputation for reliable payments, you’re much more likely to strike deals further down the line.
Put yourself in your supplier’s shoes – A negotiation is a two-way street. Think about what you can offer them too. We spoke to engineering suppliers, CCTY Bearing, about this. They said it makes a big difference when project managers look for areas of mutual gain. Sometimes there will be no movement in price, but the deposit or warranty length could be negotiated. Always look to pitch the best deal for the suppliers. Don’t assume they’ll instantly make you a perfect offer. Find the angle that will benefit them too. It could be repeat custom, or bulk buying.
A good supplier relationship is built on mutual trust and respect. Take steps to improve your communication and look for the mutual gains. Follow these rules and you’ll come away with a great deal for both parties.