Sarah Breymeier
When it comes to browsing the exhibit hall, we have always encouraged you to take at least a couple of laps even if you’re not looking for anything specific. Nothing changes there, but that doesn’t mean you have to necessarily be on the lookout to replace your current vendors.
Sure, if someone has been consistently dropping the ball, it may be time to find something that works better for you. If the skies are not sunny and bright with one of your suppliers, however, use the time available in the exhibit hall to visit their booth and give them the opportunity to fix whatever issues may be present.
Yes, it can be awkward to tell someone you’re not happy with their performance, but it could benefit you to step out of your comfort zone and be honest with them, especially if you’ve had a long-term partnership. There is a strong amount of value in practice-vendor relationships that continue for years.
This has actually become very apparent to me as I have several vendor clients for my tiny marketing agency, Ten Toes Marketing Communications; and a couple of them have been with since I first started. Recently one of my clients – now a friend – make a remark that he feels my work has become more creative and effective in the last few months than it ever has before. It got me thinking.
Because I have been creating marketing campaigns for his product for over four years, I am able to recall various communication materials (ads, articles, testimonials, videos, etc.); almost like a marketing catalog inside my brain. The point, is that by having the vast familiarity with these materials, when he wants to feature a specific benefit for his product, I am met with thoughts like, “Oh! I know a testimonial that would fit perfectly with this feature because Dr. Johnson specifically mentions it!” If he were to start working with a new agency, there would be no history to draw upon that eliminates having to recreate the wheel. It made me realize how much content we actually have that we can continue to utilize and get value from versus spending a more money and time on new pieces.
Like any long-term relationship, you know your vendor and your vendor knows you. They know how you like things and they have the history to better understand how their products/services would more work best for you.
Think about the patients you’ve seen forever. Your protocols are likely much more effective when you know their medical history and their routines. Plus, they trust you just like you have created trust with your suppliers.
So before you decide to cut all ties, or let the relationship fizzle, give them the courtesy and do yourself a huge favor by chatting in the hall to determine if the relationship is salvageable.