Are You A Vendor or A Partner For Your Core Customers?

Bob Schultek
Bob Schultek

You are a vendor when:

• You respond to inquiries with quotations that specify product or service, price, terms and schedule, without first seeking to understand how you can produce strategic value for your customer;

• Your dialogue with your customer focuses on their current problem, and how you are cheaper, better or faster than your competitors;

• You communicate nothing that describes your distinctiveness nor proposes a means for your customer to evaluate your unique offering;

• Your operations personnel know little about your customers or how your unique offering is produced for them;

• You don’t recognize that you are being commoditized!

You are a partner when:

• You learn your customer’s goals, and then propose solutions that help achieve them;

• Your customer dialogue focuses on building their business, resolving their current problem as a step towards realizing their future vision;

• Your proposal clearly describes your differentiation and how it will be leveraged to produce a financial and a competitive advantage for your customer;

• Your operations folks are aware of your customers and are aligned to support your unique offering;

• You recognize that collaborating with your customers is the most productive means of achieving growth goals.

Evaluate 5 key customers – are you a vendor or a partner for them?

Ask your customer-partners what value you produce for them?

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