When selecting a vendor, it’s always wise to establish some sort of criteria to make the selection process easier. So, the first question to ask yourself is, “What’ll be the most important factor in my choice of a vendor?”
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Vendor
Are you currently looking to expand your business, or replace a bad vendor? What issues are pushing you to switch vendors? The following are some of the most common benchmarks companies often use when selecting a vendor:
The goal with price is to get the most value at the lowest possible cost — “value” being the operative word here. Going with a vendor solely because it can undercut the price of competitors does you no good if you get little-to-no value from the materials, products, or services. In fact, getting a far lower bid from one vendor is a good indication the materials, products, or services will be less than acceptable.
Price means nothing if you end up with an inferior service. But quality is difficult to discern by sight when selecting a vendor, so get references and ask questions like: “Were there any issues with time?” “Did everyone conduct themselves in a professional manner?” “Were attempts made to correct or fix something that went wrong?” Would you use them again?”
You always want to go with a vendor who’ll take care of you, so pick one with a proven track record for impeccable customer service. Otherwise, it’s hard to trust whether the occasional mistake will be corrected in a timely fashion.
You’re often judged by the company you maintain so don’t tie your business to an unethical vendor. Chances are you’ll be viewed in the same light.
Partnerships work best when all parties are aligned and working toward the same goals. You want to work on selecting a vendor with a vested interest in your success and profitability. Not just their own. Of course, determining whether a vendor will align with your interests can be difficult. But a good indication is the terms and conditions of the contract. If the vendor will only work with you on its terms, alignment isn’t likely.
The right vendor will come to the table with an almost innate ability to anticipate problems and offer speedy solutions. Make sure to ask which companies in which industries it predominantly serves. Find out what kinds of problems were solved while in business with those companies. You want a vendor with proven results.
If all else is equal, good word-of-mouth can be the deciding factor for selecting a vendor and picking one over the competition. Rely on your network to gather feedback. You may find that your colleagues have used many of the same vendors you’re considering or can even suggest other vendors not currently on your radar.
Choosing the wrong vendor can do a real number to your bottom line — not to mention, your reputation. Take the time to determine what’s most important to you, and let that guide the selection process. Learn how to change vendors smoothly and how to notify your vendor of a change to make this process a tad less stressful. Once you experience the advantage of working with the right vendor, it’ll be hard to deny that the extra effort wasn’t worth it.
If you’d like to learn more about finding the right vendor, schedule a time to chat. No pressure, we just want to see what we can do to help you out.