There’s a recurring line that I hear, during countless meetings, that goes something like, “we don’t want to be just another vendor . . . we want to be your partner!” Recently, after one of these meetings, I wondered what the difference is between a vendor and a partner. I came up with a few benchmarks that I believe show the difference. True partners:
Share a common goal. In my eyes this is the most critical differentiator. By setting out clear goals prior to engagement, both parties understand the other’s objectives and create a roadmap for success.
Commit. I evaluate the value of every partnership not when the going is good . . . everybody is satisfied when there are no problems. I judge the partnership when things are going bad. Does the other party run for the hills, start pointing fingers and blaming others, not return your calls . . . or do they roll up their sleeves and address the issue head on to solve the problem?
Demonstrate passion. Is the partner vested in my business? Do they understand what we do and how they can help? Are they being Proactive Advisors? A partner that shows me they understand my business and overall objective builds loyalty and trust.
Practice honesty. In a true partnership you need to be able to speak your mind—about the good and the bad. I appreciate a partner that is comfortable enough in the relationship to give me that input, whether it’s feedback regarding an employee, service related issue, things we can do better as a team, or how they can help.
These qualities establish trust and understanding, which become increasingly important as uncertainties encroach on your industry or business. I think these things contribute immensely to Microdynamics’ success, because we are committed to working with them.
What do you think makes a good partnership?