Building relationships with your suppliers is important to your success, you need to know and understand each others needs and wants in order to have a successful relationship. Treat your suppliers like an employee and get to know the people and what makes them do what they do, what are their own philosophies and principles and what are they trying to achieve as a business.
Have regular meetings with your key suppliers, in some cases you could even go to dinner or drinks to get to know them on a personal level. By understanding the person you can understand what they need from the relationship.
Relationships are not finite and are not the same for everyone, we all have our unique wants and desires so don’t paint every supplier with the same brush. Your suppliers will be looking at building a relationship with you just as much as you want to with them. They want to understand what you need as success to them is a happy customer, you need to understand what they need from you to make their job easier.
Only this week I was with a client who has removed some of their own customers, they told them they don’t want to do business with them any longer as they were constantly changing dates, giving unclear instructions and generally trying to take profit away from them. It’s a bold move but they can now focus on their main customers who they have a great working relationship with and appreciate the effort each other go to.