Posted March 25, 2015 by David Smith 

Money Isn't Everything: Vendor Relationships

Money isn’t everything, the saying goes—but the current financial state of higher education tells us otherwise. Take Governor Scott Walker’s proposed cuts of $300 million to the University of Wisconsin System’s budget, with multiple other states contemplating the same kind of drastic measures.

Everyone is always looking to save money because our budgets are constantly getting cut. We may spend hours scouring the interwebs looking for the best deal around to save a few pennies here and there. One big thing we forget about is loyalty to those vendors who have been with us through the good and bad times, those vendors who give us excellent service and competitive pricing.

Promos commons imageThe current climate tells us that we need to forget about those relationships so we can save a few more dollars. By doing so, though, you are missing out on a vendor who knows your business and your audience inside and out. They have that order history—all those email exchanges and countless hours of phone conversations. They may not be the cheapest every time, but they know you! Those vendors will be the ones who push you to do something different; they will be the ones who go the extra mile for you to come up with the next great idea to help you grow even more.

Another thing to think about is what happens when you have a problem with an order and you had decided to go with the vendor you didn’t know but gave you the cheapest price. Do you think you will get better service from this vendor? You have no established relationship or order history, and they barely know you and your business—I’m guessing no.

If pricing truly is an obstacle, then it’s ok to have those tough conversations, and if you have a good relationship with your current vendor, you can work on a better solution with them to fit your budget. These are the little things you could be missing if you’re always concerned about the bottom line. You don’t get those personal touches, as they aren’t invested in the relationship.

So take some time and think about your purchasing relationships. Have you had some bad customer service experiences chasing a lower price? Maybe the whole process just didn’t go as smooth as you were used to. Is it worth saving a small amount of money? Those you are loyal to will go the extra mile and give you the customer service you are accustomed to. They WILL add value to your business, therefore growing your bottom line and audience.
David Smith

David Smith is the Sales Manager at Association of College Unions International.

David is responsible for the sales process of ACUI Procure and Promos, from proactively seeking new customers to fulfilling orders and following up to ensure satisfaction. He maintains vendor and customer relationships by providing support and information.

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