The Supplier – Customer Relationship – Good for Business?

This year for the first time we took the major step of exhibiting at a national event – the Farm Shop and Deli show at the NEC in Birmingham.
It was an amazing and inspiring event – retailers from all over the country under one roof. It was expensive to attend however it had the right demographic for us and overall, we believe worth the investment.

We make really good food and drink packaging for the retail industry. From the moment the show opened we were constantly approached by retail producers enquiring about packaging solutions for their food and drink products – from beer and biscuits to Yorkshire pudding and yogurt.

Not every enquiry turns into a sale. While we tried to get a feel for the degree of seriousness and urgency around each packaging enquiry it wasn’t always possible to assess them in that environment.

Two months later and we have quoted successfully in several instances as a result of packaging enquiries from the show. Others are on hold until a later date and there others still with whom we are in discussions regarding their specific packaging needs.

We have also had difficulty in connecting with some businesses who approached us. On more that one occasion I’ve experienced rudeness and aggression when I’ve followed up an enquiry or a quote for packaging. I know that it might be due to low levels of assertiveness – sometimes people don’t know how to say ‘N0’, so it comes out wrong – BUT most of us would not treat customers this way so why suppliers? This behaviour isn’t new – but having so many to follow up in a short time has made me realise that there’s a discernible pattern out there.

We don’t do ‘Cold Calling’ but if you ask us to get in touch to talk about your packaging we will be over-joyed to do just that. We don’t ask for much in return 😊Following up, providing quotes, checking requirements etc is a really important and necessary part of my job. However, chasing the same folk who don’t want to speak to you – about an enquiry that they have instigated – really is a waste of everyone’s time.
So, on behalf of all the small, busy suppliers out there, before you set hares running or creating rabbit holes for me to run down, consider the following:

  • If you ask for information or a packaging quote, please don’t be surprised when you get it. Responding does not mean committing – it’s ok to say ‘No’.
  • If you don’t want me to contact you just say so. GDPR means I will take you off my list if that’s what you want.
  • If you don’t want to go ahead NOW but may do in the future, say so. It’s cool!
  • If you’re too busy to talk about it, say so or delegate it to someone else.
  • If you have asked a company to engage with you – be polite when they do. It’s nice – and you’ll have a better rapport with them – and that’s GOT to be good for business??