30 Nov Early and Honest. Click to keep reading…
We do not end up with our best business relationships by accident. There may have been a serendipitous meeting, but the ongoing push and pull required of making, buying, and selling becomes smooth when all parties are putting in equal efforts and communicating.
Nearly every interaction over the last year has revolved around staff, supply chain, and shipping. So much of our time is spent chasing a more stable situation around those three factors that we spend less time worrying about our communication. Even in fraught, tricky situations, it is worth it to communicate early and honestly.
“We are going to miss our ship date.”
“We are raising prices.”
“We have to look elsewhere”
These are three conversations that I would like to prevent, but they are a reality in all times and heightened currently. When they arise, I must remember–particularly with those that are my best relationships–to have honest, hard conversations first. When I do, I am reminded why the relationships are productive, as both sides go into problem solving mode. When I wait, with unrealistic expectations of improved dates, prices, or outlook, I compound the problem. I end up putting the other side in a tighter timeline with fewer choices, and it looks like I was hiding the truth.
Not every situation works out. But it is worth asking questions and being open to solutions.
“Can we get a partial shipment?”
“Can we extend our orders to maintain our price?”
“Can we stay on as a secondary source?”
Recently I shuttled a small box of components from the manufacturing facility to one of my best customers. It was a partial shipment, past due, and urgently needed. It was inefficient in the moment to break into a production run, package separately, and make the drive there, but we talked early and we kept the manufacturing line up.
And we may find that by using honest, early communication in any tough situation that the business relationships we thought were not good, turn into our best ones moving forward.–Commentary provided by Greg Hébert, Business Development