Are your vendors really supporting you as a partner? Finding success highly depends on the type of support you get from your vendor. A great vendor becomes a partner by supporting your growth and success regardless if you are a grocery store, convenience store or a toy store. Many vendors say they do just that, offer some free equipment up front and send you some signs, but six months later they are nowhere to be seen.
Here are the things you should be looking for in a true partner:
1. Continuous Support After the Sale
A partner will be there to provide never-ending support. They understand that your success is their success and that true support happens after the sale because it isn’t about meeting a quarterly quota, it’s about growing together.
Partners offer support to increase your sales and are consistently working with you, checking in and adjusting their support to better increase your revenue. If your vendors aren’t offering you this level of support, then it might be time to find another partner.
2. Proven Tools of Support
It’s easy to promise a lot of great support, but it’s another to deliver. You won’t just jump into an agreement and hope that the promises hold up. Vendors need to be able to prove the level of support they give. The tools they have created to support your store are a great window into the level of support they will give and proof to back up any promises.
The tools created and used by any vendor will show you what they value and what they have dedicated their time or resources to bring you. When choosing a vendor ask for proof of support and to see what tools they use to support you.
3. Incentivized by YOUR Success
When a sales representative pitches you a new product or program, it’s easy to wonder how they are incentivized. If it’s only by the contracts they sell, they aren’t being incentivized based on your best interests.
When looking for a vendor find out how they incentivize not just their sales team, but the representatives you’ll be working with after implementing their program. If it’s not tied to your success, either by profit level or revenue, then they are not a true partner.
4. A Culture of Support
At the end of the day, great support comes down to people and the culture they create. What is the culture of your vendor? Are they always there to support, or are they focused on other things? Look for a partner who provides a dedicated support team versus only sending a sales representative. Sales reps will always be focused on new sales, where a support team will be focused on you.
When looking for a vendor, ask them about their culture. Learn more about the team that will be supporting you. Ask what their values are and why they chose them. This will give you a pretty good idea of who they are.
5. Details That Matter
There may be multiple partners that are the perfect fit for you, and just because someone is the right partner for you, doesn’t mean they will be for another company. Everyone offers different levels of support, and everyone needs different levels of support. Find out what your needs are and work to find a vendor that matches those needs.
If you need training support, does a vendor provide a training program and easy to access videos or manuals? Does their marketing support help you drive traffic into the store? Are their programs or products easy to implement, and if not how do they help? Can they support you with technology enablement? Maybe all of these are areas where you would like support, and so you shouldn’t settle for anything less than a partner that can support all of these things.
The Partner Difference
A vendor of any kind cannot succeed if you don’t succeed, it doesn’t matter if they are a foodservice program, deli services or a staple goods provider. There should be an unspoken level of partnership, but that’s not always the case. When looking for a new vendor it’s important to ask the right questions and never settle for anything less than a true partner. When you align yourself with a true partner, there’s no telling what kind of success you can achieve.