Your advice on dealing with suppliers?

Herts, England United Kingdom
Kudos: 11,516
Joined: Jan 1, 2001
Your advice on dealing with suppliers?
6 Nov 2015
Working with other businesses is perhaps the most intimidating part of selling online.

Having a lot of knowledge of technology, or of selling, is not a big help when you are dealing with manufacturers and wholesalers.

So what's your advice for dealing effectively with your suppliers? How can you get good prices and a build a useful relationship?

Any and all tips are welcome! I'm sure sellers new and old stand to gain something here.
Andy Geldman, Web Retailer
Please follow on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+
Hartlepool United Kingdom
Kudos: 49
Joined: Oct 5, 2015
Re: Your advice on dealing with suppliers?
6 Nov 2015
My advice would be to not spread yourself too thin. If you can do good turnover with a small number of suppliers then they will value your business more than if you only do small turnover with lots of suppliers.

It is without doubt a two way relationship, depending on which business you are in - they will need you and you need them. I find that dealing with the same person in the office is a good way of building a relationship too.
Midlothian, VA United States
Jax Music Supply
Kudos: 2,310
Joined: May 25, 2009
Re: Your advice on dealing with suppliers?
6 Nov 2015
I think be very friendly and don't burn bridges. Relationship change often and you want to make sure you know about the good deals when they come up.
Herts United Kingdom
Kudos: 59
Joined: Oct 9, 2015
Re: Your advice on dealing with suppliers?
7 Nov 2015

Without a doubt the volume and length of your business is important when things go awry - mistakes in ordering, customs delays and losses -

It's very tempting to save a few cents here and there by using different suppliers, but when the crunch comes and the sh*t hits the fan - and believe me life never runs smoothly so it probably will one day - a proven track record with volume business will go a long way to resolving that MAJOR problem when it hits you!

So think long and hard when placing those orders!

[Last edited: 7 Nov 2015]
United States United States
Kudos: 108
Joined: Dec 13, 2012
Re: Your advice on dealing with suppliers?
8 Nov 2015
When talking with potential suppliers I try to think of how a selling relationship with me will effect them. Some are happy to sell anything to anyone, and are only concerned with if they will be paid in a timely manor.

Some want to protect their existing sellers with MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) pricing. I let them know that I always sell at MAP or higher.

Some are more concerned with their reputation then others, particularly very small, newly established companies, and I let them know that I understand the demographics of their customers and that I will work with them in developing their brand. I also understand that they need to protect their reputation with other sellers.

I let them know that I sell on line, and want to make sure that they are ok with that. If they do, I find out what their concerns are, and let them know how I will address their concerns. I also let them know the names of other top brands that I sell.

I ask them for a list of their best sellers, if they have hi-rez pictures of their products, any dealer aids, videos, etc.

I let them know that I am a growing business and that I plan to continue to grow indifferently in the future.

I don't let them know that I sell from my house unless they ask, I do let them know I have a web site.
United States United States
Kudos: 78
Joined: Jul 16, 2015
Re: Your advice on dealing with suppliers?
11 Nov 2015
Attending webinars, trade shows, or any other type of event that your supplier is offering, takes the relationship to a personal level. They all look out for your support at these events, and they appreciate your attendance very much. that helps build a personal relationship. In most cases they will even offer you better deals at events.

[Last edited: 11 Nov 2015]

World First
Seller Dynamics