Prospective suppliers: which ones should I see?

Answered by Dick Gorelick

I receive several calls a week from would-be suppliers. I've never heard of most of them. How do I decide which ones to see? My time is valuable.

It's unlikely that you have the time, patience, or inclination to grant an audience with every prospective supplier that asks for an appointment. On the other hand, meetings with suppliers and prospective suppliers can be a valuable source of information.

Begin by identifying prospective suppliers that have no respect for your time and present no good reason for calling you other than your generating sales volume for them. This includes sales reps that simply appear in your office lobby without an appointment.

Avoid anyone that adopts a selling posture when calling you to request an appointment. Such an approach demonstrates little or no concern about your organization's needs. Do respond positively to a salesperson who knows something about your organization and industry, offers a sensible reason for requesting an appointment, and wants to learn more about your organization's operations, objectives, and challenges.
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