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Vendors are People Too!

Yep, I said it. Vendors are people too, and deserve to be treated . . . well, the way you would like to be treated. 

Don't get me wrong. Your suppliers must earn your continued business and your trust, and when they give you less than satisfactory service you have every right to demand better or replace them. Managing your supplier relationships well is a critical component of a successful business; and companies who treat their suppliers as well as they treat their customers are way ahead of the game as a result.

But this blog isn't about how to manage your supplier relationships; you can get some great information on that much-written-about topic on the web, including these quick reads from the Atlanta Small Business Network and Inc.

This blog post is about remembering that your supplier reps have a job to do, a quota to meet, bills to pay and all variety of other obligations, including to their family and friends and other customers. It's about keeping in mind that they are not simply a salesperson, a customer service specialist, a landscaper, a technical support rep . . . you get the picture. They are real people with a demanding job that requires internal and external management of expectations, who deal with a myriad of life challenges and job challenges.

So, where am I going with this? Let me give you a few examples.

Recently I saw a post in which an multifamily executive was complaining about the number of sales emails bombarding their inbox in advance of a large conference. I get it, trust me. You don't have time and it's really annoying on top of the other 486 emails a day that you actually need to address. But these suppliers have a job to do, and that includes marketing to you. After all, doesn't your organization market to potential residents? Aren't you also selling something? I hear you asking, "couldn't they be more creative or try other methods of reaching out?" Sure, but are you willing to answer those calls? Or attend that webex? Or agree to that lunch meeting? Or spend 10 minutes at their booth? Just as you try every means to get in front of your target market, industry suppliers are trying every means to get in front of you -- especially if you have decision-making authority. It's part of the territory. 

Another example is one of the big pain points for suppliers; the large number of meetings canceled at the last minute, or even no call/no shows. Again, I get it; things come up, emergencies happen, owners drop in. But please don't make your supplier work so hard to reschedule that meeting; maybe even volunteer an alternative time at the same time you cancel? Or answer the follow up call/email to reschedule? As for the no call/no show, allow me to give you my most disapproving frown; except in the most dire of emergencies, there really is no excuse.

I don't think I need to belabor the point; we are all human, and while we all have our less-than-stellar moments, I do think most of us really try to do the right things most of the time. I've simply noticed that suppliers are sometimes treated like second-class citizens, and that's really unfortunate in such a tight-knit industry and when so many sharp individuals have the ability to contribute to your success. Sometimes suppliers are too pushy or don't take the time to educate themselves on your company (as a leader of many sales organizations, I've seen it all!) - again, we all have foibles. The good news is that there are also amazing partnerships and lifetime friendships throughout the industry that transcend all titles and supplier/owner/operator roles. It's part of what makes our industry so special and creates such lifetime devotees.

That said, I think we can do even better. That goes for each and every one of us, whatever our role.

 

 
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Judy, I want to say congratulations on being brave enough to post this. I am not so brave, but I still would like to show my support. Ghosting is probably one of the most frustrating situations to happen. It just feels so disrespectful to spend time talking and then they just start ignoring you. Also, I LOVE the part about making it easy to reschedule. It is hard enough to get a call scheduled to begin with, and by simply not showing up, then that process starts all over and wastes everybody's time. By throwing out a few times that work for a reschedule, it makes everybody's life so much easier, which means less emails from us!!!!!

  Anonymous
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Completely agree, and thanks for the comments and the support! Ghosting is so frustrating; it's OK to say no or now now, but say something so that the salesperson doesn't spend unnecessary time and effort trying to reach out.

  Judy Bellack
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great piece. However, you missed the biggest one.....being ghosted. After all of the presentations/meetings/proposals are done, the prospect simply ghosts you. All of the above are pieces of candy compared to that.

  robert
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Robert, agreed! I was hoping some other suppliers would weigh in, and I truly wanted to give just a couple of examples. As you and I both know, we could go on and on about this subject; and I'm sure operators have their own stories about not being treated well by suppliers. The point is, let's all show mutual respect and kindness.

  Judy Bellack
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Judy, all great points, which will make me think harder when a Monday morning sales call comes in. That said, I would encourage suppliers not to bypass on site professionals, who really do influence purchasing, if not now, in their future roles. Thank you for a well said post!

  Mary Gwyn
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks, Mary, and agreed!

  Judy Bellack
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

agree completely! One of the best lessons my boss of 20 years has taught me is that vendors are our partners and should be valued and treated as such!

  Connie Castello
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks, Connie - so nice to hear!

  Judy Bellack
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Judy,
Very well said! I’ve been on both sides and was amazed when as a “vendor”! I went ion a call with our Account Executives to a community managed by a national company were my husband was Regional Partner. The Community Manager was so rude and arrogant to us! I experienced this treatment so many times from all A+ to D- communities. I was so embarrassed for them and for our industry

  Pam Shelton
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Wow, Pam! Yikes!!

  Judy Bellack

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