Cultivate Long-Term Vendor Relationships

Treat your vendors with the same respect as you show your clients. If you put the people responsible for producing your jobs on the defensive, they’re less likely to be cooperative; and if they don’t cooperate, you’re not going to get the job done when you need to.

Think of what it’s like to do business with a spoiled, unreasonable client. If you don’t want to deal with temperamental, insensitive clients, why would your vendors? Don’t be a bad client; treat your vendors with the same consideration you would show any other professional colleague.

It’s also a good idea to work with the same vendors. Using the vendor who’s quoted the best price on a job can be beneficial, but skipping around from one vendor to the next-playing competitors against each other-is probably not to your advantage. Here are some benefits of repeatedly working with the same vendors:

  • Consistent and reliable results. Working with a vendor for the first time often requires ironing out some kinks in the production–like calibrating your computer monitor so you’re in sync with your service bureau or printer. If you work with the same vendors, you’ll get the results you expect without having to tweak or reengineer your work or equipment every time you send out a job.
  • Special favors. Doing business with the same vendor over a period of time pays off when you’re in a bind. If you need to have a job turned around in half the time it would normally take, you’re more likely to get this special consideration if you’ve been a steady client and source of income for your vendor.
  • Client referrals. When you’ve dealt with a vendor for awhile and they appreciate your capabilities and how easy you are to work with, they’re likely to refer you to their other clients.