Partner or supplier - what are the differences?
Many suppliers position themselves as partners, but are they really, or are they just getting carried away with their marketing spiel?
In this blog, we explore what makes a genuine partnership versus a transactional ‘supplier’ relationship.
What's the difference between a supplier and a partner?
A supplier can be characterised as a company or organisation that provides goods or services for a specific period of time. When the transactions end, the business relationship ends.
A partner, on the other hand, is a tailored business relationship based on mutual trust, openness and a shared sense of risk and reward that yields a competitive advantage.
How does this translate into the world of the motor dealer?
The difference is best illustrated by looking at the approaches taken by wholesale finance vendors – a group of companies being used more and more by motor dealers.
For the supplier, landing the deal, setting up the account and agreeing on a credit line is where the relationship pretty much begins and ends.
For some dealers, that is all that’s needed – or even wanted. But it’s a transactional relationship that potentially cheats the dealer of value that stretches beyond the core product purchased.
Such value can be had by simply being on hand to provide advice and support that goes beyond the product offer. So, when a dealer picks up the phone and ask ‘Can I pick your brains on this…?’ or ‘Have you got a minute to help me with something…?’, the answer is always yes - a surefire sign of a strong partnership.
For a vendor with a partnership mentality, a heightened interest in the dealer’s business - their stock profile, turn ratios, competitive set and ambition etc - will be apparent, along with a desire to utilise the insight gained to help develop the customer’s business.
For instance, the partner may recognise that sometimes their product is not always right and will proactively help them evaluate their options. The partner may use market insight software such as the Wave Dealer Dashboard to identify more suitable and faster-selling stock options than the dealer’s current stock and recommend suitable auctions to source those vehicles and help the dealer make a quick sale.
Being proactive is also just important as offering reactive support
Conducting a review of a dealer’s website and suggesting ways to improve the site’s performance and drive traffic is one example of how being proactive can also be productive.
These are all approaches taken by our account management teams and as a supplier that prides itself on offering a ‘total funding solution’, are integral to how they provide genuine partnership to their dealer customers.
Ultimately it’s about going beyond the marketing hype and demonstrating that actions count louder than words. Offering tangible business support, advice, insight and practical help are all the hallmarks of the genuine partner and key to a long term and beneficial partnership.