The world is a collection of communities and the business world is no different. But many times when we hear the term “community” and business mentioned together, it is reference to the area where the business is located more than the individuals and companies that keep the world running. Your “community” at its core, is your specific niche in your industry. Beyond this direct relationship, is that of your suppliers and customers.
Business to business sales offer you an opportunity to develop reciprocal relationships that can have far reaching benefits for your own company as well as your customers. Developing constructive partnerships with other businesses can help you manage your company more efficiently and provide ways to reduce your overhead.
Cultivating these relationships to a point where cooperative advertising can be done is one way to approach selecting businesses for a reciprocal relationship. If your company and one of your suppliers have complementary products and/or services, your advertising efforts will have more impact. What your customer sees is enhanced value and a more credible business presence.
While there are benefits to developing these types of relationships, it is important to make sure that the other business has a code of ethics that is compatible with your own. Discussing customer service in depth with any vendor that you are considering is first on the list: if you cater to your customers and the other business never returns a phone call, there are bound to be problems.
If you want to establish a relationship with a large corporation, again the keyword is benefit. You need to be prepared to show how your service or product will find a specific need that will enhance the profitability of the corporation. It is not sufficient simply to say that your product or service is the best. The larger the company, the more competition you will face which makes research all the more important.
When you want to broaden your scope of community to encompass a relationship with a vendor, look for compatibility of purpose in order to make the most of the relationship. Small business owners that are working with limited marketing budgets can benefit greatly by the word of mouth advertising that is created in the process of collaborations with suppliers. Endorsements of products and services are one of the strongest sales tools available; people are more receptive to recommendations that are made by a person that they have a relationship with than expensive promotions.
Start building your reciprocal business relationships with small projects that are easy to manage without a huge time investment. Make sure that you involve all the individuals that will be affected by the project or be called into participation to make the project a success. As you work through the process of the project work, take time to discuss and evaluate the impact it is creating for both your business and that of your vendor so that it can be refined and developed into a long term, mutually beneficial method of operation.