When you need service a open bay and a staff that cares about your business can make or break the bottom line .

I often write about the importance of building great customer relationships. Today, I want to talk about the importance of building business relationships with your Vendors. Many vendors are more willing to come to your aid when you have a strong rapport with them.

When working with vendors, you want to be sure to listen to pick up on the needs and expectations of their services. Communication will be the key to all business relationships. When you have a full understanding of their needs, you can then provide the proper interaction to meet those needs. For myself, I’ve always found that building strong positive relationships with my maintenance providers, tire repair shops and business services has served me well over the years. One thing I’ve learned is that every repair isn’t an emergency and my vendors have other customers as well. My vendors always appreciate scheduling routine maintenance early in advance. This enables them to balance their workload which creates efficient use of their services. When meeting and communicating, I must be knowledgeable with their responsibilities and my own expectations. I take their advice and we create a partnership in order to get the task accomplished.

When working with your vendors, it’s important to pay them on time for their services. It’s also important to make contact with them on a regular basis. I like to occasionally take my vendors out to lunch to communicate and build stronger relationships. I learn about their personal lives above and beyond the interests of business and what’s important to them.

It’s important to not “trash-talk” your vendors. What you say to someone else will usually come back to haunt you later. You cannot expect someone to take care of your issue when you have spoken bad about them or their services. You are better off to communicate directly face to face and work out the issue one on one. By the same token, if you are pleased with the service they have provided then make sure to pass this along which enables them to grow their business and customer base. An opportunity for value can be to provide new or potential clients for your vendor.

It’s very easy to pass along work to a vendor that you don’t want to do yourself, have time to do or are not skilled at accomplishing yourself. Many people hold vendors to the fire and when they make a mistake, they are penalized heavily. If your vendor does make an error, try to remember that we are all human and we all make mistakes. Remain calm and professional in order to not ruin the business relationship. Talk over the issue and remedy the situation as quickly as possible. This form of communication allows for a continued business partnership.

I consider my business vendors to be my support team. Over the years, many of them have gone above and beyond their duty to take care of my needs. They have stayed after hours, worked on a Saturday when not required and met me road side whenever I had maintenance issues. All of their extra service has enabled me to better serve my customers.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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16 years and counting with my shop. Yes, it matters.

April 07, 2016 7:35:49 AM

Very good article Henry. Thanks.

April 05, 2016 7:44:15 AM