Do you fear your vendors?

Quite often when we meet with a potential new client, the discussion will come around to analyzing the performance and pricing of one of their vendors.  Surprisingly we will get the response from the potential client that goes along these lines – “Oh – I can’t do that, that may get XYZ vendor upset” or “Geez – that may upset Bobby (who works for the vendor)”

Typically when I hear these comments, two thoughts come immediately to mind – 1) Who is working for who here and 2) what would the managing partner think if heard these comments? I am also thinking we have no chance here but that is secondary.

Vendors sometimes get in position, and the firms let them, of running the show. I am all for partnerships but when you feel threatened by a vendor or held hostage, it is time to put them in their place. No vendor is irreplaceable. There have been many times that clients we have worked with have replaced supposedly “irreplaceable” vendors with new vendors who offered the promise of better performance, in addition to improved pricing and terms. No one or vendor is irreplaceable. Remember that the next time you feel trapped.