Whenever I think about entering into a relationship with a new supplier I always ask, expect where it is obvious, how they make their money. The ability to make money is essential to any business. Without it it will not be able to survive and that will be no good for me and the business I represent. I don’t want to deal with a business where I can’t work out how they will generate cash. Sellers beware.
Other than that however, in the main I have little interest in how the company operates. I am interested in their values and ethics as well as supply chain management but expect them to manage costs, procedures and productivity. That is their bag.
The tables are turned however when it comes to what I expect from the supplier. I want them to have a great interest in what my company, or the one I am representing, does. I hope that they have done their research or are prepared to listen to our story and plans and expectations. I want them to project themselves into the business and identify how their product or service can be of benefit. I want them to be able to save me money, through improved process, reduced down time, increased sales, lower cost of production or whatever is my need.
This is an important point when you are selling. The focus must be on the customer’s business rather than your own. Offers that improve the seller’s efficiency are mostly irrelevant to the buyer. Their focus is on their own efficiency.
If you are selling then the onus is on you to do your research. How does the potential customer make their money, what are the possible pinch points in the process and how can you help? Just like in Lean Startup, what is the problem you are trying to solve or what is the opportunity you would like to help realise?
The value of your business come from valuing that of your customers.