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It was a perfect time for such a visit…

A direct meeting with a supplier- what is it and what does it look like? Get to know the story of Regina, the owner of an online shop who is sharing her experience with us.

Where did the idea for a direct meeting with a supplier come from and what was its purpose?

I believe relationships are an important part of both business and everyday life. I had the idea of the personal meeting with my supplier for several months, but fears and limitations appeared in my mind. The conversation which I had with a mentor who supports me in business development reassured me that this was a right step, and all the fears that I had so far were unsubstantiated. As the supplier was nearly 600 kilometers away from me, I didn’t make a clear decision about the date of departure straightaway. A trip to a place that was more or less in the middle of the way turned out to be the impulse to organize the meeting. I decided to take that opportunity to get to know my supplier from the other end of the country.

Did you have a direct contact with him before your meeting?

We had only telephone contact. He was good and positive but it was really important for me to understand each other and deepen our relationship. I had no trade motivations involving the negotiation of discounts or rebates. I wanted to present myself as a business partner and to build a more permanent personal relationship. Initially, it seemed to me that I was too small contractor so that my visit could not be perceived as serious one. However, with the help of a mentor I was able to overcome this fear, and I saw that I limited myself with this belief.

Can you tell how you organized the meeting?

The organization stretched over a long period of time because the first thought of a direct meeting appeared in March and the meeting took place in July. For my part it was to contact by phone to make an appointment.

Can you describe what the meeting was like?

My impression from the meeting is very positive. I was treated like a partner from the moment of my arrival. When I reached the main office the sales representative, and at the same time my order supervisor, was already waiting for me. I was invited by her to the conference room where under the guidance of the sales director she introduced me to the current offer. I was positively surprised that the individual presentation of offer for the needs of my shop was prepared. After the presentation there was an opportunity to discuss concerns and questions. I discussed current issues and plans for the future with my order supervisor. Later the sales representative took me to a retail shop so I could see a product display. I got inspired by what I saw. It was a perfect time for such a visit because I am in a process of organizing my point of sale. I left the meeting with some concrete ideas. Although I am not a big company I was taken seriously and respectfully as a business partner. I saw people, not sales representatives of a large company among those who I met. I realized that there is always a human being who has his emotions on the other end of the line. After the formal part less formal one occurred when we were able to build an open relationship. After the visit I sent an email of appreciation for meeting.

Did the meeting meet your expectations?

Yes, it did. The strengthening of my relationship with my order supervisor was the most important for me and I managed to achieve it. At the same time I met the sales director and therefore, I have a contact to the other person who I can have the questions to. I have only had contact with a supervisor who oversees my ordering process so far. Now the door is open for me to have free contact in terms of our cooperation. I came back inspired, with a few ideas for my shop

On a scale from 1 to 10, how much are you satisfied with the meeting?

I rate my satisfaction on 9. Despite the attitude that I worked out I was a little bit short of confidence.

What are you pleased with and proud of?

First of all, I am proud of the fact I decided to have a direct meeting. I have ideas, inspirations and good contact. After the meeting I feel that I am a partner. I am recognized.

What did you do well and what would you have organized differently?

I had a good attitude to the meeting. I announced the target of my arrival in a good way. I said clearly why I was coming and it was regarded as obvious. I went to a meeting without business purpose. I just wanted to get to know each other and see. Next time I will pay more attention to sleep. I will get enough sleep and I will prepare quietly for the meeting, and what is the most importantly I won’t egg myself on disturbing thoughts.

Do you see any benefits from a direct meeting with the supplier?

I see the benefits which translate into the relationship with a business partner and personal benefits. These personal ones translate into the company’s activities. I have gained greater self- confidence and this affects the cooperation with new partners and I have gained experience how to present my company boldly. After the meeting my energy to take actions has also increased. I came back with inspiration and a greater appetite for doing other things. Currently, my contact with the supplier is less formal and more open. I use his support, advice and experience. I have been able to build a partner relationship, which I really wanted. I saw the main office of the company and I got inspired by the appearance and organization of the retail shop. I will share the important thought for me with you. I believe that work should be fun, and this is possible when you build a good, open communication both inside your own company and in contacts with the outside world.

Thank you for the interview and good luck in the implementation of your plans.

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