Friday, December 21, 2007

Have you hugged your vendor or disty partners lately

Today I took time to send out my annual Christmas greetings to the vendors and distribution folks in my life. I have been doing that for the past 4-5 years now. Sent out a few hundred emails today to the list of folks I know and communicate with on a somewhat regular basis. Probably less than 10% actually respond, although a surprising number do. But I get comments when I see or talk with them for months after the holidays about my email and the family stuff I share. Here is the reality - vendors are people too. They are just like you and me and have wants and needs and struggles and issues. They have families and friends. They have to pay bills and go to work. The thing I have learned is I need to treat them like a customer, not a vendor. Too often partners look at vendors and think it is a one way ticket to their pocketbook. Bad answer. My approach is to value them as a person, to care about their family and approach them like I would my best customer. I want to know their spouse and kids names, their birthday and any other thing that helps provide a way to connect. It is called caring. People do business with people who care about them. It works with customers and equally well with vendors. People is what life and our business is all about. All the other stuff will happen if we learn to care. What better time to reach out and make a difference than right now - at Christmas. Drop an email to a couple of your vendor partners and just tell them thanks. It is the least you should do!

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