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5 Ways to Honor Your Suppliers

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How does your organization treat its suppliers? Do you pay invoices on time or do you make them wait forever? Do you treat them as partners or do you think they're a nuisance? Well, treating them like dog doo-doo isn't the best word-of-mouth marketing tactic!

Most organizations focus on marketing to their current and prospective customers. If they’re smart, they realize how valuable these relationships are and steward them accordingly---with kid-glove customer service.

Yet, how many organizations think about their suppliers when it comes to brand reputation? Word of mouth works on both sides of the fence. Treat suppliers poorly, and they will talk negatively. Treat them with respect, like the partners they are, and they will talk positively.

5 Ways to Honor Your Suppliers (& Turn Them Into Brand Ambassadors)

  1. Pay your invoices on time. Pay your invoices before the due date, and watch your suppliers jump through hoops for you.

  2. Treat your best suppliers as part of your team. Invite them to your holiday parties, and have lunch together periodically.

  3. Communicate with your suppliers. If cash flow is tight, give them a heads up. If something isn’t to your complete satisfaction, let them know so they can make it right. Cut them some slack if errors are very infrequent.

  4. Send them referrals, and they will reciprocate. The old "scratch my back" philosophy works wonders with good supplier relationships.

  5. Send a thank you note when they’ve gone out of their way for you. Appreciation goes a long way in solidifying these relationships.

Your suppliers can be your organization’s best brand ambassadors. How does your organization rate in its supplier relationships? Got any good tips to add to my list?
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A Canadian who relocated to the U.S., Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of SOLUTIONS Marketing & Consulting LLC, a boutique marketing and communications agency located in Scottsdale, Arizona. During her career, Elaine has worked for, and with, many organizations, associations, and businesses, across North America, on marketing strategy and communications tactics.

From her earlier agency career assignments freelance copywriting Procter & Gamble, Nestlé Carnation, and Kraft materials, to “inside” senior-level marketing positions, Elaine’s passion for marketing has evolved to helping clients reach new heights through strategic brand-building, integrated marketing communications, and customer orientation.

She has been a contributing writer for The Business Journal and her articles have appeared in many publications, including the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Marketing News, The Arizona Republic, Advancing Philanthropy, and several association publications. She has been interviewed by CNN, Connect Magazine, and The Capitol Times, and her content was included in Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits by Jay Conrad Levinson, Frank Adkins, and Chris Forbes. Nonprofit Consulting Essentials by Penelope Cagney. and Share of Mind, Share of Heart by Sybil F. Stershic.

Elaine is a Faculty Associate at the Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation and a professional member of the National Speakers Association – she does keynotes and presentations on business and nonprofit marketing, branding, customer orientation, and cause marketing at conferences and meetings.

Elaine’s career has also included stints as a cookbook author, teacher, singer, and television show host. A golf and tennis enthusiast, Elaine is enjoying life in the sunny Sonoran Desert while serving clients across North America.

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  • by Elaine Fogel Tue May 24, 2011 via blog

    Hey, guys. No comments? No ideas to add to my list? What's going on?

  • by Terri L Maurer Wed May 25, 2011 via blog

    Great post! Too often we forget how important our suppliers are to the success of our businesses. It is just as important to build those relationships as it is to develop customer relationships. We are all part of a team and need to treat each other with respect and ethical behavior.

  • by Elaine Fogel Wed May 25, 2011 via blog

    Thanks, Terri! Love your comment.

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