How do I keep my customers and my suppliers from doing business...

How do I keep my customers and my suppliers from doing business directly?

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Currently I am turning some customers away, not being able to assist them, as I do not custom make certain products myself. I have found someone who can manufacture these items but want to make sure that my customers come through me to purchase them instead of going directly to the manufacturer. 

In a case like this I would keep the customer for myself and ask the supplier to supply to me, then I would supply the customer. That way you will never be excluded from future deals. You don’t mention what the products are so here are general answers.

In order to do this you will probably need a new process. The following need to be considered:

  • Financing – negotiate a deal where you pay 30 days after delivery from the supplier, and then ensure that your customer pays you on order or cash on delivery.
  • The design of the item needs to be done with yourself and a document completed between you and your customer so that they agree to the design, this is then passed to the manufacturer. This provides you with a comeback if the customer says that is not what they wanted (they will have paid you anyway).
  • Negotiate the lowest possible price from the supplier and then take into account your time with the customer before you determine the selling price. The supplier does not have to know what you are selling at. That is between you and your customer.
  • The supplier should not know who your customers are.
  • Find a backup supplier and on a regular basis get a quote from them too to check that your prices are still good from the initial supplier.
  • Delivery – needs to be done by the supplier to you. Then the customer can collect from you or pay for delivery to themselves.

Lorna Powe
Lorna Powe has worked as an executive level business professional for over 15 years. She is experienced in leading business and technology change to ultimately meet strategies, and improve business performance. She is the Founder of SalesPartners RoseBankTM, a global sales and business development company that helps entrepreneurs and organisations increase sales and leadership, improve profitability, and build championship teams. Visit the Sales Partners Rosebank website for more information