How to Maintain Strong Relationships with Your Vendors

Running a successful retail enterprise takes strong relationship building skills. You’ll have numerous vendors you must work with.

How do you stay on good working terms with them? It’s not easy, even if you have good vendors. Conflict and mistakes are simply a normal part of human relationships.

Here’s some ideas for building and maintaining strong relationships with your vendors:

  1. Reward Desirable Behaviors Rather Than Punishing Ones You Don’t Want

You’ll have to decide how this actually looks in your relationship. But, the general idea is that in your vendor compliance program, you aim to offer rewards for goals met while avoiding punishing undesirable behaviors.


Because punishment leads to anxiety and stress, and vendors simply trying to avoid your punishment. They don’t necessarily aim to provide you with better service.

When you incent the behavior you want, that causes vendors to look at what they can do, rather than avoiding what they shouldn’t do at all costs. They’ll feel more relaxed. They’ll like you better. And you’ll have a stronger relationship.

  1. Treat Your Vendor with Respect, Even If They Don’t Deserve It

Sometimes vendors behave poorly. It happens. Even when they do, treat them with respect. It’s going to get you the best response from your vendor.

Pay them on or ahead of time. Always be polite in your communications. Only discuss your concerns when legitimate, instead of nit-picking.

The old saying “what goes around comes around” holds very true in vendor relationships.

  1. Share Your Vision and Goals for Your Relationship

Your vendor may not fully understand what you really want to get out of the relationship. Make sure you share that with them from the start. If they have a change in management, make sure to articulate this to the new manager. Suggest things your vendor can do to help them improve their service to you even more.

  1. Be Willing To Let Go of Some Vendors

Finally, not all relationships are meant to be. Sometimes you can’t get on the same page. Others, you have vendors more interested in profit than your relationship. This happens.

When it does, it’s time to end the relationship. If your current vendor isn’t doing their part to make your happy, you’re better off finding another one who will.

By implementing these four tips, you’ll have strong relationships with vendors that bear dividends for both you and them. It’s a natural win-win-win for you, your vendor, and your customers. And that’s something every business appreciates.