As I mentioned in a post last week, I had just finished reading a book entitled “Treat Your Customers” by Bob Migliani and was surprised to find many purchasing lessons, primarily directed at small businesses.

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In that post, I shared the author’s lessons learned on the subject of paying suppliers on time. In today’s post, I wanted to share the author’s purchasing principles discussed in a chapter entitled “Always Offer Your Delivery Guys A Milkshake.”

In that chapter, the author describes how he and his family, who owned a Dairy Queen store, would, on every hot day, offer something cold to drink to their supplier’s delivery men. Not only did this receive appreciation from these supplier employees, but the author explains that “this professional kindness has helped us to weather many storms known as inventory shortages.”

The author goes on to explain that holiday weekends are the worst time to run out of inventory. This is because the suppliers’ delivery truck drivers are usually off those days.

However, the author writes, “if the supplier finds a driver willing to do it, they OK it. Our delivery guys have gone out of their way for us because they know important it is to our business. They’ve come through because we’ve treated them well – like more than just inventory suppliers; like friends…Anything is possible when you have a good relationship with your suppliers.”

Now, it is unlikely that you have a soda dispenser at your desk. And most of your interaction with supplier employees is likely by phone or email. But, after reading this, I am hoping that you can acknowledge that sometimes you need your suppliers’ employees to go above-and-beyond the call of duty for you.

Are you inspiring your suppliers’ employees to go out of their way to help you the next time you’re in a jam?

The seeds of a good relationship you plant today can pay you back many times over when supplier employees can give you assistance that they normally wouldn’t give to “the average customer.” So treat your supplier contacts well!

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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