When considering doing business with a prospective supplier, many times those of us with procurement decision-making authority have certain impressions of that supplier.

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Maybe we think they’re big. Maybe we think they’re good. Maybe we think they’re expensive. There are almost an infinite number of adjectives to describe how we may perceive a supplier.

But have you ever stopped to think why you think what you think?

Collectively, suppliers spend a gargantuan amount of time and money to influence their prospective customers’ perception of them. Many of them work with ad agencies who know all of the psychological triggers associated with creating the desired perception. That’s called branding.

So, does it work?

Do you think in a way that the supplier has tried to make you think?

How much of your perception is based on what the supplier communicates vs. what you find independently?

Is your perception accurate?

What makes you think that a supplier is big?

What makes you think that one supplier is more trustworthy than another?

Think about some well-known suppliers that you are not currently doing business with. I’ll list a few to get your brain started, although you may be doing business with some of them:

  • Ariba
  • Grainger
  • Dell
  • IBM
  • AT Kearney
  • Staples
  • Apple
  • Waste Management
  • Xerox

What’s your impression of each company you’re NOT doing business with? That’s a rhetorical question, you don’t have to post an answer (although you’re welcome to if you want).

Isn’t it interesting that you have certain perceptions of these companies. Now, where does that perception come from? Does it come from:

  • Advertising?
  • Word of mouth?
  • The press?
  • Past experience?
  • Your research?
  • Something else?
  • A combination of things?

Or do you really not know why you have the perception that you have?

It’s interesting to ponder, isn’t it?

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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