There are articles after articles that speak to the importance of forming partnerships, rather than treating vendors like, well, vendors. Sure, a vendor is a common name for a company that provides a service to you (agencies, printers, technology providers, etc.) but try to think beyond the term and more broadly about what the business should be: a partnership! Most accounting and law firms refer to the professional service firms they use as vendors (we know your services appear on many budgets as line items under the vendor category). However, if a marketing director used the “V word “ with their internal professionals, their career at the firm may not be a long one.
In an age of an uncertain economy where many are searching for new business and enhancing or developing more meaningful relationships with current vendors, it is important to shift our way of thinking from one party has more power and requires greater attention to one where there is a more equal partnership. All vendors, no matter if they are your printers, marketing agencies or your professional service firm, the partnership relationship model is essential for everyone to grow and benefit from the assignment or matter at hand.
Repeat business is the best and we all know that. A strong partnership is based on communication, trust and knowledge sharing. This does not happen over night. The groundwork must be laid from the interview process to the kick off of the assignment and continue throughout the lifecycle of the relationship. As we know, a businesses needs from a true partner rarely ends and the lifecycle of these healthy relationships are continual. Regular communication serves as vital touchpoints to build effective communication patterns, trustworthy relationships and a knowledge bank that is shared with everyone; the provider, its clients or the firm and its vendors.
Benefits of developing and forming partnerships include:
- Long-term relationships that are beneficial for both sides
- Better understand of wants vs. needs. The ability to provide more targeted marketing solutions.
- A depth of understanding that stands the test of time in both good and bad financial times.
- A greater number and opportunity for referrals
- More fun!
Are you developing meaningful partnerships that stand the test of time?