Avoiding the “Just Another Vendor” Trap

As VP of Client Success, I arrive at Televerde every day thinking about how to make our client engagements a resounding success. I’m not ok with ‘OK.’ Hearing our team did ‘fine’ weighs heavily on me. And, even if we met expectations, I’m eager to figure out how we can exceed expectations the next time.

What can really affect me is when clients think of Televerde as only a ‘vendor.’ I want our team to work every day to ensure we are considered a strategic ‘partner’ for helping them succeed.

What’s the difference? Vendors come and go. Vendors can be disposable. And, in some cases, don’t put in the creativity, ingenuity or legwork to ensure the success of the client. Partners are so much more. Partners work toward helping the client meet its goals and jointly share in those goals. Partners have skin in the game. Partners know that there are different stages to a relationship. Partners are agile and work together to anticipate and continuously improve as the client relationship and needs change.

So, how does a company avoid the “Just Another Vendor Trap?” I’ve found committing to the following four tactics helps us build enduring relationships that move far past the term ‘vendor’:

  1. Outline clear expectations from the start
  2. Stay in constant communication
  3. Know when to tell a client no…and when to say yes
  4. Plan effective account reviews on a regular basis

I’ve recently written an article on this topic for Sales & Marketing Management, a magazine that focuses on best practices for sales/marketing professionals. Please take a look – I’d love to hear if you have other approaches to moving beyond being a vendor to have a true partnership with your clients. Did I miss something? Get it wrong? Or did I get it just right? Let me hear from you. Enjoy!

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