3 Ways to Bring Value to Your Vendors
When we talk about the words value and vendor, we’re usually talking about how construction software vendors bring value to their potential clients, general contractors. Even when we move to broader concepts such as partnership, it’s still mostly in the context of how to choose the right partner as a general contractor.
But partnership implies a two-way street, not a one-sided relationship. A good vendor should be evaluating you as much as you evaluate them, and they should be passionate enough about their mission to be honest with prospective clients and tell them when it’s not going to be a good fit. Now, most of the time a bad fit is due to issues that are largely outside of the contractor’s control: company size or specialty—the vendor’s software is targeted to commercial construction and you only do heavy civil, for example—are two of the most common reasons. Sometimes, though, a vendor might turn you down because your values and goals don’t align with what they’re trying to accomplish in the industry.
So how do you ensure that you’ll be just as great of a cultural fit for the vendor you want to partner with as they are for you? Instead of speaking vaguely about vision and values, we want to share three practical ways to show vendors that you’re on the same page, and you’re ready to be an industry mover and shaker, too.
- Identify and showcase areas of innovation
- Have a detailed plan of action
- Get involved in industry events, especially conferences
Identify and Showcase Areas of Innovation
One trait that all good vendors are going to want to see from you is innovation. Innovation might sound intimidating, but it doesn’t mean that you use the flashiest technology or the latest tools. It really just means that you’ve come up with creative solutions for challenging problems, even if those problems might not seem like that big of a deal from the outside looking in. It also means that you have an attitude that is open to changing the way you’ve always done things.
The greatest obstacle most vendors run into is contractors who know what they’ve been doing isn’t working and they need to change something, but who aren’t that willing to embrace that change when it comes down to it. To combat that, make sure you’re being loud and proud about the issues you’ve tackled with collaboration and creativity—vendors can’t read minds (yet), so it’s up to you to market yourself as a pioneer who wants to partner with other pioneers.
Have a Detailed Plan of Action
The next step that will make any vendor jump for joy and see you as a valuable partner is to have a detailed plan of action before you even start negotiation. If you don’t know what you want to change about your current process, it’s going to be hard for vendors to determine if their software is truly a good fit for you. Even if it is a good fit, knowing what you want to keep and what you want to discard about your existing estimating efforts is extremely beneficial to developing a fully informed implementation plan.
Creating a plan of action will also help you find any blind spots you might have missed in your current system, and it will give you a greater idea of what you do want to make more time for. It’s all too easy to want to shake things up for the sake of it, so it’s critical to your success as a company to really understand what benefits you’re looking for when you make a change to your preconstruction efforts.
Get Involved in Industry Events, Especially Conferences
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make sure that you’re constantly putting your name out there and attending as many industry events as you possibly can. Even better, branch out from just attending and looking into submitting speaker applications or hosting workshops. Vendors want to work with contractors who are dedicated to improving not just their own company, but the entire industry as well. At Beck Technology, we actively look for DESTINI Estimator users who are willing to present on our behalf at nationwide and regional conferences. However, we don't just want a sales pitch. We want clients who have discovered truly innovative ways to use DESTINI Estimator and are excited to share their tips to help improve the industry as a whole.
A good vendor isn’t going to be interested in working with a general contractor who doesn’t have any ideas of their own that they want to try out. They’re also not going to be drawn to a contractor who remains isolated and disconnected from their peers—it's extremely difficult to remain creative and cutting-edge if you're off doing your own thing and never collaborating with others. By making sure you’re staying in touch with conferences and similar events, you’ll be able to find new opportunities for collaboration, inspiration, and even projects. You’ll also become an incredible value asset for any vendor that wants to work with you.