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How To Build Quality Relationships With Vendors And Lower Costs

Jul 29, 2008
Vendors and fulfillment are critical to taking your product or service from concept to cash. These could be graphic designers, they could be web programmers, they could be fulfillment houses, they could be CD duplicators. There are all kinds of different types of vendors that you may come across in your business. Here are a few tips on how to build a quality relationship with these people and cut back on your fulfillment costs.

Number one, what you could do is send them referrals and recommendations. I constantly, as much as possible, try to send the people that I work with more and more business. The reason is because I want them to see the value of the relationship with me goes much further than the business I personally do with them. That way the relationship is not only benefiting them with the business that I give them, but the business that I also bring through the people that I associate with. They'll quickly see me in a favorable light. The key here is to try and provide them a benefit as quickly as possible - a great way is to send as many referrals as you can.

I've also done joint venture projects with my vendors. Here's a quick scenario. One of the people that I was working with was a graphic designer. We decided to do a joint venture project together, where she would do the graphic design at no cost, I would provide the product and then put for the marketing effort, and together we would split the profits.

Boom! Just like that I had almost completely eliminated my cost up front and now don't have to worry about coming up with that money. Starting out, this was really helpful as I didn't have the money to put up front to hire a graphic designer. So this strategy is really great for that reason and many others.

Some people tell me, "Yeah, but Stu, you're giving away 50% of the profits. That's a big chunk of money." Well, time out for a second. I'm of the viewpoint that it's better to get your projects completed and making some money versus keeping all of nothing and not getting anything completed.

Instead of just letting those ideas sit on shelf, not making any money, I made an effort to approach and build a relationship with that specific vendor and was able to get those projects completed and off the shelf.

Whether you are just starting out, on a tight budget, or just want to get projects done economically, you really have to look to be creative. Joint venture project with my vendors is one creative idea I've used with multiple different vendors.

Another tip I suggest when working with vendors and you want to save a lot of money is to do a lot of work ahead of time. By doing this you are going to save the vendor time and save them effort. Don't be afraid to ask them questions like, how you could save money, or what else you can do to cut down their time or effort. Vendors want to help you, they want to do business with you. They also know people have budgets to work within and they will help you figure things out.

Another idea is to create a template versus a one-off project, so that you can use it over and over again without incurring more costs each time. Let me explain that in a little detail.

Let's say, for example, you were looking to develop an E-book. Rather than asking the graphic designer to do a specific layout just for that E-book, why don't you hire the graphic designer to create a template for which you can use for any E-book that you generate?

That is a completely different approach, yet it will save you hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars in the long-run. Yet, it's pretty much the same amount of effort for the graphic designer. So that's another creative idea on how you can save a lot of money when working with vendors, and also building relationships with vendors.

In this article, I've outlined a few really quick and easy strategies that can help you build stronger relationships with your vendors and fulfillment companies while saving your money. Many more strategies will come to you once you really start thinking about it.

Ideas will come to you when you explore the possibilities of creativity!
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