A VENDOR who is a strong business partner can not only bring new products and services to your business, but also bring ideas, additional resources and help identify marketing opportunities to make growing your practice easier. Below are some tips for identifying business partners who can help grow your practice, and ideas on how to maximize those relationships.
IDENTIFY BUSINESS PARTNERS
First, be sure you are focusing your time on business partners who truly have the success of your practice in mind. A good vendor partner will know your success is vital to his or her own success.
Signs of a trusted business partner:
- He or she asks questions about your business to know what products/services best meet the needs of your practice.
- He or she provides you with new resources and ideas to help your business be more successful.
- He or she shows respect for your time by coming prepared to appointments — which he or she schedules.
- He or she offers to help take tasks off your plate and your staff’s plate.
When reviewing your vendor partnerships, start with the company that you are spending the most money with to ensure you are getting the most out of that relationship. Next, review the number of companies you are dividing your purchases amongst for each category. From there, you can evaluate each relationship around key metrics, such as product alignment with patient demographics or needs within the practice, warranties and depth of resources, to identify which partnerships have the greatest value in supporting the goals of your practice.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
When it comes to strategic business partnerships, dividing your purchases between too many companies isn’t necessarily to your benefit. Here’s why: By purchasing larger volumes from fewer companies, you maximize your sales volume with each of these companies. This, in turn, maximizes your purchasing power and ensures you are a high-priority customer for these key business partners. Dividing your business across five, 10 or even 20 companies for one product category may minimize your purchasing power with each. Additionally, it may drain your time in maintaining each of those relationships while not maximizing the resources you’re receiving.
A strong business partner will also be able to help you identify opportunities by reviewing your purchases against regional and national benchmark statistics. To effectively do so, he or she needs to have a broader — and accurate — view of your purchases for that category. Work with each of your business partners to ensure that you are maximizing these strategic relationships.
Schedule time quarterly to discuss your business goals and results with these business partners. If you need assistance identifying opportunities, your partners should help. If you have already established goals, share these with your partners so they may best provide support. Examples of this are capture rate or second pair sales.
Being a part of these quarterly discussions sends a message that you, the business owner, are committed to the partnership. It also ensures that everyone stays focused on growing your practice in the manner that is important to you, and provides you the opportunity to hold everyone accountable for mutual success.
In between quarterly meetings, assign the appropriate staff member(s) to maintain the partnership with clear expectations on the decisions you want to be a part of making.
It’s no longer acceptable for a vendor to simply show up with a price list. Your time and money are worth far more than that. Ask your partners to bring ideas and a list of resources that align with your business objectives.
Examples of resources your vendors can bring:
- Staff training, such as in-depth product training
- Ideas to market your practice
- Suggestions for shifting your product mix
- Ways to improve your capture rate
Together, you and your business partners can identify the tools needed to exceed your goals! OM