Unless you have everything you need on your premises to help you manage your business, you will probably need to contact a product supplier at some point during your business life.
If you are home-based, for example, you might need a supply of paper, ink, and other stationary equipment. And if you are running a restaurant, you will need food and drink supplies, as well as those items that are necessary for a kitchen.
Finding the right supplier is important. Get it wrong, and you might run into problems later on, especially if they don’t meet your needs on time. But get it right, and you will have everything you need, without any major problem hindering your business.
With the above in mind then, these are some of the questions you might consider asking when looking for a new supplier.
Why should I choose you?
You probably have a range of suppliers to choose from, so to narrow down your options, you might want to ask each supplier for their USP (Unique Selling Point). They might sell their products at a cheaper price, for example. Or they might have a returns guarantee if you aren’t happy with their product. Faster delivery times, innovative products, and excellent customer service options are other factors that a supplier might use to win you over to their side.
Are you eco-friendly?
This is an important one, as not only should you be looking at ways to go green in your personal life, but for the sake of your professional life, you should go green in your business too. This is your way of standing ahead of the competition, as many of today’s customers prioritise companies that can prove their green credentials. Therefore, look for those suppliers who can showcase their efforts to aid the environment. As an example, Fuel Box can provide red diesel to stockists and agricultural businesses with 90% less plastic packaging, and they promise 86% less landfill waste. Could your supplier offer the same guarantee? Ask them the question, and check to see if the materials they use come from sustainable sources too.
Can you prove your credentials?
Okay, so your supplier might promise you all kinds of things when you’re talking to them on the phone, but do they have evidence to back up what they are saying? Their website might be a good indicator, as they might have customer testimonials and certifications displayed on their web pages. However, if they claim to have satisfied customers, the supplier might also provide you with their business contact details so you can speak to them yourself. Or they might have copies of letters and emails from their happy customers that can be forwarded to you as evidence. When others can vouch for the credibility of the supplier, then you know you are probably safe to move forward.
There are other questions you should ask before making a decision. You might ask them if they can meet your demands, for example, as if they don’t have sufficient stock, then your business might one day be short of necessities. You should also ask them for a service level agreement, as this will cover both them and you in the event of any potential legal issues down the line. And there might be other questions you can think of, so write them down before contacting the supplier, and then raise them before coming to a decision.
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