Do your vendors invest in your relationship? They should.

Posted On May 8, 2014 By Advance Blog

Have you ever noticed the jargon cycles that tend to take over our everyday speech? Buzz words or phrases that fill the air with the sole purpose of dazzling those within earshot. Sometimes they are used over and over again to drive home a point.  It’s everywhere in our culture, from politics to business to common phrases. They pop up when you least expect it and can become part of your every day conversation. It can be very powerful and persuasive. For example, Tweet is defined as a weak chirping sound. We guess that definition still applies. Do you think of a weak chirping sound when we say tweet? Who can deny the powerful effect Twitter has had on our culture? Before the debt ceiling debate, when was the last time you heard the term kick the can down the road? Watch the news cycle and you hear it over and over again. You don’t believe us? Yahoo it.  Umm, Google it.

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One such phrase, Value Added Partnership, has entered the business world. It seems like it is in every conference room and coffee meeting, but its real value is often times missed. In any client engagement a true value added partnership is one where both sides benefit from the relationship. Whether it’s a service offered or a new client gained, a true partnership brings trust and trust brings the kind of results necessary to justify the relationship. All too often the phrase is followed by marketing spin on the product or service offered by one company trying to engage another.

Products and services are only as good as the people delivering them. The true value added partnership is only achieved by diving deep into the customer’s business and gaining a comprehensive understanding of that business.  When you understand your clients business you can begin to develop a solution to solve their business pains. That’s a value – for both of you. Without that kind of intimate knowledge, it’s just another transaction. How can you honestly consult a customer on a viable business solution when you don’t fully understand how that business operates on a deeper level than what’s on their website?

Customers value personal interaction. If they feel like you understand their business they will trust you, and in turn your business, to help solve their problems. This is easier said than done. With the vendor it starts with good people. Good people create a culture of can do and will do. They will stop at nothing to make it right for you. The kind of culture that makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world.

Ask your vendor how they train and treat their employees. Do they invest in their people’s professional development at the field level? Find out if they properly prepare them as consultants instead of transactional product pushers. How are the implementation and post installation support personnel trained? You are investing in the relationship and you have every right to ask the questions. We ask the questions of the plumber or mechanic working on our car. We ask the investment advisor that is managing our money. Why wouldn’t we ask the vendor providing us with workflow solutions?

At Advance we look to create efficiencies within your organization, but we can’t do that without the right team. Professional development is part of the deal when you work for Advance and we consider training our employees an investment our partnerships. Our web site says we provide multifunctional devices, managed print services, and document workflow solutions. We consider our products and services the vehicle we use to solve your business problems and we work hard to find, train and develop highly skilled professionals to deliver the best possible outcome for our customers. At the end of the day, our customers trust us and know that we care about their business as much as we care about ours. Because without our customers there is no Advance.