If you have ever been in contact with Chinese people, then you know that they attach great importance to “guanxi” which means relationship.In this article, I will share with you the advantages of establishing a good relationship with Chinese suppliers and suggestions on how to ensure a good relationship with suppliers.
Advantages of Good Supplier Relationships
Building a good business relationship means that partners are more willing to cooperate, even beyond the usual expectations. There are several advantages to building a strong supplier relationship.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire production cycle and lead time are taking longer than usual, and some suppliers even choose to turn down orders due to backlog. But if you have a good relationship with your suppliers, they will give priority to your orders to produce the products you want, and pay more attention to making the products meet your requirements during the production process to ensure that you can get the products satisfied faster.
Get A Better Price
If you have a good relationship with suppliers, you will have more room to negotiate with them on price, and they will be more willing to offer a lower price, which can save you a lot of costs.
Obtain Extra Help
Suppliers tend to treat their partners better, and if you have a good relationship, they will be willing to help you if you need support beyond the terms of the contract, such as assisting a third-party agent with quality inspection for you.
Build A Long-term Cooperation
It is not easy to choose a reliable supplier, so if you can maintain a long-term good cooperative relationship with the supplier, you can save a lot of trouble and risk.
Tips for Building Good Supplier Relationships
If you want to build a good relationship with your Chinese suppliers or want to transform your communication with your supplier, you can take the following tips to get a better relationship with your supplier, and in turn, you are going to make more profit for your business.
When we’re in a challenging situation, we tend to reply to supplier with strong emotions. If you encounter the following situations, how do you deal with them in order to maintain a good relationship with the supplier and solve the problem?
Example：You asked your supplier to send you 50 blue mesh and 10 red mesh, so that yu can launch the new product. You guys have struggled through this product development process, and this is the last piece to be installed on the new product. Everything depends on your supplier’s product to arrive on time. However, after two weeks, you got 50 red mesh instead of 10 and 10 blue mesh instead of 50. Your supplier completely mixed up the color and quantity and sent you the wrong products.
Should you just complain angrily to your supplier and blame them that it was their fault for delaying your product launch and require them to send you additional 40 blue mesh?
Well, although this is indeed your supplier’s problem, blindly blaming will only worsen your relationship, which is not conducive to follow-up communication and the solution of the problem.
At this time, it is recommended to communicate with your supplier calmly, which can contribute to the supplier’s cooperation with you to make up for the mistake.
For example, you can say: we got a big problem now, maybe your shipping department made a mistake. Do you have an additional 40 blue mesh. If you don’t, can you work with your production department and make 40 today. I know this is difficult, but we can’t afford to delay the product launch, and you are the only one who can save the situation for us. Please send me the tracking number when you deliver the goods today.
Don’t Do Any Assumptions
Never assume that the supplier will do what you think they should do, otherwise there will be a gap and you have to face reality.
For example, you have a very detailed instruction and the specification instructing your supplier what to do in terms of product quality, but you can’t assume they will deliver to your expect, so you have to arrange quality inspection before you make the down payment. If you rely on your assumptions and don’t check the goods based on your requirements, you may incur unnecessary losses and damage your relationship with your supplier. You can respect your suppliers but you can’t trust blindly.
Know Your Supplier
The premise of establishing a good relationship with the supplier is that the supplier is trustworthy. Conduct a background check before you communicate with your supplier to make sure you’re not dealing with a scammer. Also, a better understanding of your suppliers will also help you negotiate with them and achieve good cooperation.
Communicate Through A Third-party Agent
If negotiations with an important supplier have failed and stalled on a key issue, it is wise to use an intermediary such as a sourcing agent to continue negotiations, especially if your relationship with the supplier becomes strained in the process.
As I have mentioned above, it is almost never a good idea to confront your Chinese supplier directly with strong or emotional language. Staying calm is crucial and an outburst can erase months of relationship-building.
At this time, a third party to break the deadlock is conducive to promoting your cooperation with the supplier, which is convenient to maintain the relationship with the supplier in the future.
Strong supplier relationships will help you resolve differences and issues, which will make it easier to negotiate a better deal for you and benefit you a lot.