As a retailer, you’re most likely familiar with how to build a relationship with your customers.

Being able to develop those personal kinds of relationships is one of the big draws of small businesses and why they’re still appreciated in a world where convenience and mass consumerism have taken hold. There isn’t much that can replicate that wholesome experience.

However, you can’t neglect to build a rapport with your wholesale distributor.

While they might not be the source of your profits, they’re still a critical part of your business plan and having a favorable relationship with them can go a long way.

So, what can you be doing to be improving your relationship?

Paying Your Dues

This might seem obvious, but it’s important and bears repeating.

Pay. On. Time.

You can be the friendliest, most helpful person in the world and a distributor won’t care if you have a reputation of avoiding payments and generally being a hassle. Distributors tend to work on very tight budgets, which means a single ruined payment can have serious repercussion.

If they decide that you’re not holding up your end of the bargain and that you’re not a good investment, then why should they do business with you? They aren’t going to accept platitudes in the face of your poor responsibility and lack of commitment.

The best thing that you can do is hold up your obligations, pay on time and show that you’re a business that’s respectable and dependable.

Develop Friendships

There’s a lot that friends are willing to do for each other.

Now, you might be wondering how you’re supposed to develop a friendship with a company that’s composed of dozens if not hundreds of people.

That’s the key though, people.

Even when on the job, people are incredibly social. Developing connections and rapports with each other is a natural reaction and something that you can easily exploit with a little time and friendliness. Creating that sort of friendship can be a simple as showing interest in how their day is going; it doesn’t take that much.

While building a friendship might not seem like that big of a deal, having someone on the inside who’s positively prepositioned towards you can go a long way. They can open doors that would have remained closed otherwise, inform you of changes in the company, possibly even offer deals that benefit you.

It’s all about whom you know.

Things Happen

As much as we try to avoid it, eventually something will go wrong eventually.

Perhaps the order was damaged during transport, or maybe they ran out of stock.

Regardless of whatever the reason behind the issue is, it’s important to remember when things go wrong that you don’t take your frustration out on your distributor. It’s a natural reaction to be upset but screaming at your distributors isn’t going to get the issue resolved.

If anything, it’s just as likely to cement your reputation as a bad customer. Instead of shouting and screaming, you should be taking the time to work through the issue with your distributor. Not only will you get the chance to resolve the issue, but you’re also presenting yourself as a well-mannered customer even in an extremely stressful situation.

In other words, someone that they’re going to want to work with again.

As with any relationship, this is going to take a significant about of time and effort on your part.

There is far more than you’ll need to consider doing other than these suggestions, but the most important thing of all is to ensure that this attitude is consistent. Don’t come across as someone who is only willing to perform these tasks while it benefits them, show your distributors that this is who you are.

It will take time, but once that foundation is built and you realize how much it benefits your business, you’ll never want to let it go.