Build Relationships with Suppliers
It's no secret that as an online business some of your most powerful alliances are with your suppliers. Too oten, retailers forget to reach out for help from their suppliers. In this chapter we’re going to go through some of the ways you can put your suppliers to work for you.
Build A Relationship with Your Suppliers
Before you go on a spam blasting tear asking all your suppliers for help, be sure you’ve developed real relationships with key people at each company. These relationships will be very valuable down the line and can help your business grow in more ways than one.
The easiest thing to do is to email your sales representatives and start some genuine conversations. Ask them if they have:
- Any good deals on inventory
- Products they may want to liquidate
- Specials of the month
But only do this if you’re actually interested in ordering from them. They will really appreciate someone asking them for business, because they usually spend the day cold calling. This will definitely make you more memorable and they will be more likely to do you favors.
Next, be sure to share their Facebook statuses and retweet their tweets. So follow both the vendor’s social media profiles and those of the sales representatives. This is a good way to get on their radar so you can soften them up for what’s next.
Get Them to Link to Your Website
A great place to get trusted links is from your suppliers. As a matter of fact it’s one of the most obvious link building strategies for businesses to engage in. Most suppliers want their products to move, so showing people where they can buy their product is kind of a no-brainer for them.
Some suppliers, usually bigger ones, won’t link to online stores to make sure they keep all their customers happy. And that’s fine. That’s why you shouldn’t forget to ask your smaller suppliers for backlinks, especially the ones that are just starting out. They are usually more inclined to do so and don’t have the bureaucracy in place yet, the kind that make website changes nearly impossible.
Ask to be on Their Store Locator
One incredibly obvious place for your suppliers to advertise your store information is on their store locator. Most suppliers will have a store locator on their website. Your job is to make sure you’re on there! Not only will it send you natural online referrals, it will also boost your website’s SEO. For example, Holstee lists all its retail partners to help customers know where else they can find their products.
But don’t just stop at getting one link to your website. Ask them to link to the specific product page or category page that relates to the vendor’s products. Also ask to have your social media profiles listed – like your Facebook page and Twitter profile.
Ask if You Can Guest Blog or Provide Content for Their Newsletter
Since you are probably well versed on the ins-and-outs of your vendor’s products, you’re probably a good candidate to provide some insightful information to their consumer base. Ask your vendors if you can guest post on their blog, perhaps write an instructional or “how-to” post. Additionally, see if they can put the same content in their newsletter.
Hopefully, they will say yes and you’ll be able to link back to your online store, and be able to siphon some new customers that way.
Bottom Line on Vendor Relationships
When you boil it down, the better relationships you build with your vendors the more likely they are going to think of you first when they need to refer someone to a dealer. Additionally, by having regular communication with your vendors, you’ll be the first to know of discounts and specials which you'll definitely want to keep on top of, as they can greatly boost your profit margins.