In today’s TLDCast episode, with spoke with Virtual Learning Collaborative Director Sonia Furini about 5 Tactics for Great Client/Vendor Relationships.
The 5 Tactics are:
Sonia emphasized that you’ll know in the first five minutes if a client/vendor relationship is going to work. The relationship has to be one of a partnership, where both parties are focused on working together to be successful. Collaborative, cooperative, and team-oriented elements are what makes a Partnership work. And it’s especially important to define expectations across the board.
There may not be a more critical component to the relationship with your client than Communication. Be responsive, set realistic expectations, and be consistent about communicating with your client. Make sure your client understands that you’re there for them. And not just across single interactions, but all of them. Set a communication cadence, be proactive, set reminders for yourself and have a plan. Be as thorough as possible; you are in service of your client, make sure your client feels that experience.
It goes without saying that you need to be honest. Be transparent about your needs and interactions. Ask for what you need, take ownership of your responsibilities and maintain as much clarity about projects as possible. Ensure you have the capacity to properly partner with your client. If not, let them know as soon as possible.
Be there for your client. That’s what you’re getting compensated for. Establish and set the pace. Provide some predictability for your customers to ease any anxiety about whether or not you’ll be available. Be true to your behavior, as well as consistent. And watch that volume! Focus on the relationship; you’re needed.
Everyone needs to have workarounds. Unexpected pop-ups are unavoidable, so it’s important to remain malleable and expect changes. Adapting to this dynamic can successfully assist you in building trust with your client, making you look more reliable and trustworthy.
Vendor/Client relationships are all about treating people right, being fair and wanting the best results for all, not just for yourself. Making progress toward growth and improvement are key factors in finding success with your relationship, and it’s always important to find solutions that benefit both sides.
Here are the top four questions asked during the broadcast (links go directly to the video):
What is your favorite vendor relationship story to tell?
Who do you consider a vendor?
How do you manage What happens when the vendor (or the client) gets in over their head?
How do you keep your vendors on task, I find my project plans bleed out months trying to get what I need from my vendors 🙁
Quotes from chat:
Can you really partner with a vendor though? I’ve typically viewed that language as red flagish. I know that it’s operationalized differently but sometimes the vendor doesn’t always have the buyer’s best intentions in mind. — Cara North
Sometimes the challenge is that the client doesn’t sense that I’m not idle when I’m not working on THEIR project – that can result in some quick adjustments when deadlines slither around. 😉 — Kim Lindsey
Love that! “The truth sometimes hurts but it always heals” :slightly_smiling_face: — Kim Lindsey
In the instance where a late reviewer comes in….i may have a clause in my contract about additional review cycles…just saying, that can sometimes balloon out! — Kate Daniel
I think Marco Faccini said this and I love it for this conversation, “I don’t want to be a know it all, I want to be a learn it all”. — Cara North
Some additional links for your consideration:
Sonia’s Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonia-furini-9b646815/
Link to Crowdcast recording:
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Link to the podcast