Kicking off a new project on behalf of your client is always an exciting time, and imagining how happy your client is going to be with the finished project is motivation at its finest. However, working with numerous vendors and suppliers to get the job done can lead to a disorganized mess if you aren’t careful. Whether you are communicating with your trusted printer whom you’ve worked with for years or a brand new graphic designer, when you take on the role of the customer it is important to remember that communication is the key to success.
Here are our top 10 tips and tricks for establishing and maintaining a lasting relationship with your suppliers:
Come Prepared. It is important to be well informed of your client’s budget, timeline and expectations before initiating a new project with your vendor. The more information you can provide up front, the better.
Be a Straight Shooter. Don’t hesitate to take the lead and set the tone for the project, but always remember to remain honest and kind to your vendors.
Ask Questions. Acknowledge the expertise of your vendors and welcome their input. Often times, their suggestions can help to elevate your project even more.
Call-Backs Are OK. When you ask a vendor a question that they do not have the answer to at the time, give them the opportunity to find out and get back to you. Accurate information is more important than an unsure answer.
Discuss Invoicing Early. Be honest with your vendors about when you pay bills, and whether your supplier is to bill you or your client directly. Give them as much time as possible in advance to prepare their billing.
Set Expectations. Help your vendors by openly discussing your expectations for the project, such as establishing a clear timeline.
Address Issues. If something went wrong with the finished product, an experienced vendor will want to know about it. Give yourself some time to collect your thoughts before sharing with your vendor how they could have improved.
Be Realistic. Don’t ask your vendors to complete impossible tasks by making your emergency their emergency. If your vendor typically has a turnaround time of 7-10 days, don’t be upset when they cannot complete an order in 1 day.
Return Calls/E-mails. Be sure to respond to your vendor in a timely manner. If you get back to them quickly, they will return the favor.
Say Thank You! After the final product is produced, always let your vendors know how much you appreciate their work.