WHAT IS A PARTNERSHIP?
- A venture created by contract, a co-operative relationship.......
- People or groups who agree to share responsibility for achieving some specific goal.....
- A contract / agreement between two or more persons who agree to pool talent and money and share profits or losses.......
WHAT THE CUSTOMER REALLY MEANS!
Many customers claim to want a partnership with their key suppliers but this is often no more than "customer speak" for better pricing.
Never be concerned about challenging a customer, reseller, dealer, channel partner about what they mean by a partnership.
In any partnership there are 4 elements all of which should be shared by both parties.
The customer gets lots of attention, dedicated support, favourable pricing, they commit to work only with you or certainly with fewer suppliers. The vendor gets a fair profit on sales, has a closer relationship with, and access to, the customer which lowers the cost of sale. The customer probably purchases in bulk and so admin costs are lowered too.
Of course you are asking the customer to become more dependent upon you, they may consider it a risk to commit to using less suppliers. You may not always have what they want, when they want it. You will be putting in a lot of effort for a single customer, this will reduce your ability and options of finding new customers, suppose you put in a lot of effort and they don't purchase?
Things will go wrong that's life! When they do you do not expect the customer to be on the telephone screaming, you will not be going into hiding or passing the buck, blaming others. You and the customer will be sitting around the table discussing options and working together on solutions.
PHILOSOPHY (GUIDING BELIEFS)
Of course if the customer just wants a big discount, if they think these are not the components in a partnership then its never going to work.
Develop a "what we mean by a partnership" presentation that you are comfortable with and means something to you, your prospects, your markets. You need to own the presentation, you need to deliver it so that the other party sees you really mean and believe it