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  • How to Become the Preferred Vendor

    Work to serve your clients

    There is nothing magical about the answer but there are a number of steps to adhere to so that your clientele knows you have their best interests in mind. The principal is key to building business but unfortunately most often these steps are ignored.

    Take the time on appointments and initial calls to establish the goals your intended clientele has established and why they need help achieving these. Should your offering be a singular item, then find out why they contacted you and how they learned about you. Something is apparently working and you need to know what that something is so you may repeat.

    On the complex sale side, once goals are revealed, determine all the possibilities you have to offer that may be of interest. Avoid the stereo-typical telling-selling. Instead, ask questions – lots of them. Find out where interest lies and why other areas are of no interest. The more you can understand the “why” the more insight you will gain and stand on a butter footing.

    Should this be a bigger company with a complex sale, attempt to meet all of the people involved with decision-making process. Work to get everyone on the same page. For example, years ago I was the new salesperson selling an unknown brand to a large company. Their in-house provider sold a competitive brand known worldwide. But, upon attempting to make friends with as many as possible inside the company, I soon replaced the in-house vendor.

    As you unveil multiple possibilities, avoid coming across as a salesperson whose sole purpose is to make a huge sale. Instead, relay that all of these services are available but advise that to begin, your prospective client may wish to test the waters with one or two items before expanding into your entire program. They will be forever appreciative.

    Questions will arise throughout the sale cycle. Before you answer, clarify any possible misunderstanding. Use your own words to re-state the question. Then provide a complete answer and ask if it were understood. Follow this by asking if they are in agreement and ready to move forward.

    As you begin to implement installment of your services, should problems arise, do your best to take care of them behind the scenes. Try to make the transition transparent. After the sale, check in for satisfaction level. Take care of any annoyances that might have arisen. By offering upfront to do this, you stop negative comments and instead turn attention to your outstanding customer service. This is what builds your personal brand and what will dynamically build your business.

    Added final touches to confirm how terrific you are include:

    – Asking for input on areas for improvement
    – Remaining in touch to be certain everything is functioning well
    – Providing a handwritten thank you card and possibly a small gift of thanks for the business

    Everyone likes to be appreciated and those final touches will be the icing on the cake. The end result is you will encourage larger sales, repeat business, referrals and testimonials – all of which will put you on the wave of the Smooth Sale!


    Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, (800) 704-1499; was designated as a “Top 25 Sales Influencer for 2012.” Elinor authored the International Best-Selling book, “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results”, Sourcebooks and best selling, “HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews”, Career Press.


    Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, delivers inspirational keynotes at conferences and authored three books: The International Best-Selling book, “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results”, and her second best-selling book, “HIRED!” stems from community service. Stutz' newest book, "The Wish: A 360 Business Development Process to Fuel Sales" provides readers with a comprehensive plan for building a global audience. Kred ranks Stutz as a Top 1% influencer; CEO World Magazine named Stutz as one of “The brightest sales minds to follow on Twitter”. She speaks and consults worldwide.

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    2 comments on “How to Become the Preferred Vendor
    1. avatar
      Raj says:

      Dear Elinor,

      I really enjoyed reading your article in how to influence people to be a preferred vendor, I have been into Inside sales business for almost 8 years now and I have cracked several large accounts who opened up their discussion with me on their upcoming Projects and in most cases no one will turn up after they receive a proposal from us, they were not able to reach over the phone neither on their email, I really wanted to know where I am making a mistake here, because not all the opportunities end up in the same way, Here is what i do, i do heavy cold calling and probe about my solution and services to the prospects and ask them if they have any need in these areas, they will provide information on their upcoming projects and i engage my technical team to explore the opportunity further and When we ask for next steps few says lets have a follow up call later two weeks from now, few says they will get in touch with us when the opportunity nears and very few says lets have a quote, but even after sending this quote, people do not turn up. I do these type of work sitting from offshore center. can you advise where i am making a mistake and if you could help me correcting it, you are just saving my passion on sticking with sales job again,….

    2. avatar


      I find that freelance writing clients that are a fit, do call me back and use me as their preferred vendor.

      What steps are common to get preferred vendor status for supplying a produce?

      In particular, what is a buyer looking for from a preferred vendor supplying a semi-consumable product that is ordered every few months or prior to staffing a project?

      I’ve recently provided some business writing support to a workwear manufacturer and am perplexed at how procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and becoming a preferred vendor starts. I’ve successfully written sections of proposals for service contracts, but am struggling with the transition to tangible goods.

      My recent experience in Perth – Australia – becoming a preferred vendor requires more than a professional connection with the department (OH&S) needing the goods. There’s a series of tests – ranging from financial, to past clients that have to be cleared.

      It’s not always clear if filling out the forms will lead to the buyer choosing your company to supply equipment and workwear.

      What advice is out there for people transitioning from providing an service to supplying a tangible product?

      Grateful for the input from both fellow readers, and Elinor!

      – Shauna

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