A few days ago I was complaining to a colleague regarding the service of one of our supplier representatives. She stopped the discussion abruptly by asking me, “Have you communicated your expectations to the representative?”
I think that is a good place to start in any relationship whether it is business or personal. What do you expect of me? What behavior would make you want to end the relationship? While I am sure that we could list thousands of things for me it boils down to communication and honesty. Don’t tell me what I want to hear to get the order. Tell me the truth regardless of how you think that it will make me feel.
A few years ago a potential supplier scheduled a sales call. I wasn’t familiar with the product and I went to their website prior to our meeting to prepare. One thing that stood out was their company motto, “We pledge to make every attempt to do what we say we are going to do.” Have we gotten to the point in American business where this is acceptable? In my opinion there is a built in excuse for failure in there. How about, “we do what we say that we are going to do.”
Next time you are looking for a supplier, take a few minutes and let them know what you expect of them. Hopefully if they are not capable of delivering they will let you know prior to disappointing you.