Sometimes choosing a supplier or service provider is as simple as asking a friend who they used when they needed a similar service. Referrals are a great option as you would have heard first hand what the experience was like working with the vendor - something that cannot be communicated via pricing information.
Other times you need to go through a formal selection process. To make sure the vendor you choose is the best one to provide the service or product you need, we suggest these six steps.
Step 1 – Document Your Needs
It is important to know exactly what you will like from the vendor to help them provide you with as accurate pricing as possible. Try to have an idea also of how much you can spend on said service. Is it unchartered territory and you have no idea how much it will cost? Get a budget template you can download for free which gives you an idea of the percentage each line item can be of your total budget.
Step 2 – Research and Identify the Potential Vendor Options
Based on what you would have identified in step one, it gives you a criteria to do your search. Look at your options, ask for referrals. Read the vendors reviews and testimonials.
Step 3 – Initiate Vendor Discussions with those identified
Contact the vendors, request quotations, have a conversation with them. Remember it is important to not only know what you're getting but who you're getting it from. Your interaction with the vendor goes a long way. Be sure to understand their payment terms and conditions as this may also guide if and how you can move forward.
Step 4 – Weed Out Vendors that don't resonate with you or meet your needs.
This will also include looking at reviews and testimonials from their clients. It may sound strange but sometimes your 'vibe' in interacting with them in Step 3 often helps in your decision. That 'gut' feeling rarely fails us.
Step 5 – Review the remaining options
Weigh the pros and cons of each.
You have all the info you need now, examine, compare, negotiate if you need to.
Step 6 - Make a decision and stick with it!
Decide who you're moving forward with and have a written agreement on the details . This ensures both parties are on the same page and protects you in the event of any fall out. It can be as:
- Formal agreement / contract
- Signed quotations detailing services to be provided
- An email detailing the offer and a response from the recepient as acceptance
We explain these three options here in our blog: Put it In Writing
Do you need some more guidance on this? Comment below and we will be happy to help.
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