Often when meeting new people, whether it be at a networking event or with someone who wants to do business with us, we get asked, “Who would be your ideal client?” Everything Warehouse loves its clients and we know that each one is individual and quirky. But wouldn’t it be nice to choose the best qualities of each one of them and create the epitome of clients? Whose day wouldn’t be easier and more pleasant? Who wouldn’t want to strive for excellence with the ideal client on every call? Here are some ways we’ve learned to foster the client/supplier relationship so that everyone is on the same page and everyone is happy at the end of the day. The ideal client is…
Knowledgeable: The ideal client knows his or her industry. He knows how the product is packaged and shipped, what the product weighs and the capacity for inventory, or he at least has this information at his fingertips. He also knows what he needs in terms of quantity, specifications and capacities. He is on-point for his company’s requirements. This client is prepared to meet with us and share his knowledge, whether that’s admitting that he doesn’t know what is needed and would like to rely on our design services, or having a list of the racking systems he intends to purchase.
Curious: The ideal client isn’t afraid to ask questions. No question is silly. The more you ask questions, the better the chance that you will end up with product that is the right fit for you. A good client asks questions at the right time, in the right atmosphere. She doesn’t incessantly call or e-mail questions, but gathers everything in one correspondence, having respect for the supplier’s time. She asks questions to get answers, not to put anyone on the spot or to prove a point.
Informative: Good clients realize that suppliers and vendors will have questions. They are ready to answer them in simple language that the average person can understand. No question is silly. (You’ve heard that before, right?) They are patient and share as much information as possible to help the supplier provide the right product. They also return phone calls, e-mails or texts from the supplier or vendor in a timely manner.
Reliable: A good client always makes a meeting on time and is focused throughout it. He doesn’t cancel at the last minute or try to pawn you off to someone who has no decision-making power. He says what he’s going to order and he places the order. If he says he wants to receive monthly shipments, he prepares his warehouse to receive them and the supplier can count on the delivery location being ready to intake the goods.
Realistic: The best clients are those who are grounded in reality. They have high expectations, but not fantasies. They understand the shipping time or the installment needs. They don’t ask for it “yesterday.” If they want a rush order, they say so, and they expect us to do our best. Everything Warehouse clients can trust that we will do our best 100 percent of the time. We are not magicians, but we’ve pulled off some pretty fantastic jobs when our clients are realistic about what can be achieved and confident in our ability to achieve it.
Prepared: When we deliver warehousing equipment to your location, we expect that location to be easily accessible and ready for the delivery. That means the loading dock is cleared to receive the boxes, the workers are informed of our arrival, any storage space is convenient and clean. If we are setting up the warehouse equipment, the area should be prepared for that activity. That includes clearing any and all debris from the area, making sure employees are aware of the set-up and having the right tools available.
Open-minded: The best clients are those who are open-minded enough to see potential in their warehousing products. Coincidentally, these also turn out to be the clients who are the most successful in their warehouse upgrades or ROIs. Why? They’re successful because they take into account the viewpoints and advice of others, including experts in the industry. They get the right equipment not because they choose it on a whim, but because they research it and take the feedback from the people who know warehousing best. Good clients are always open to suggestions.
On-time: Good clients are aware of timing. Not only are they on time for meetings and place their orders in a timely fashion, they also pay on time. They realize that they’re not the only ones running a business. If you’re having trouble paying an invoice, let someone know. Most vendors are willing to work with you to give you terms or payment installments if you have a good credit history with them. Everything Warehouse wants you to be successful, and we may be able to give you terms and work with you to get your product during a tight budget time.
Follow the Golden Rule: The ideal client follows the rule – the Golden Rule, that is. We know nobody’s perfect, but if we simply make an effort to be nice to people, we can foster great relationships. Whether it’s the janitor, the order-taker, the warehouse supervisor or the dock hand, be pleasant and kind, treating everyone in the supply chain as you would like to be treated, even if you’re having a bad day. If only it were that easy, every client would be ideal!