One of my associates and I just got out of a meeting this afternoon with a new client that knows exactly what they want out of us and the project we are working on. This is so refreshing! We often spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what the client wants. For us it is important to know what a successful outcome is for the client. Although we can help develop this end result it is so much easier if the client can help us “paint that picture”. We can all learn from this – when the tables are turned are we being a good client?
1. Communicate Clearly
Ensure you have done your homework prior to meeting with a supplier. Clearly state what you want in terms of deliverables and don’t forget to establish timelines.
2. Don’t Micro-manage Your Supplier
If you are hiring experts then let them do the work! Keep an open mind about new ideas and don’t constantly second guess or pass judgment on the insignificant – as long as the “eye is on the ball” which is the pre-determined successful outcome then give some space to your supplier.
3. Have a Point Person Readily Available
It is always best that the supplier has one person – not a bevy of silo-builders – that is put in charge of managing the project from the client’s perspective. Questions and obstacles will arise. Your supplier is an independent expert yet they will still need to have someone that is available to them when the need arises.
4. Give Plenty of Time (if possible)
Although most suppliers understand that the odd “rush” job is inevitable it is always best to allow for a reasonable amount of time. This will ensure less mistakes and miscommunication and will save you money. Suppliers tend to increase fees for the rush jobs as the risk is far higher for them.
5. Be Fair on Fee Payment
Value is often directly related to price. Those suppliers that are less than the market rate tend to be less in terms of quality. AND pay on time – when the work is done and the terms of payment have not been adhered to (in other words the supplier has to beg for his owed money) then this hurts your reputation. Suppliers tend to talk to each other and you don’t want to be the one that is known as the “the client who does not pay on time.”
6. Recognize the Extra Effort
Most suppliers want to produce a high quality end result and often they will “burn the midnight oil” to ensure that your work is done. Notice this extra effort – a thank you is often enough!