As a supplier, you know that one-time buyers won’t keep you in business. You need a steady stream of loyal customers who come only to you for the goods and services you specialize in. Developing relationships with customers is simple if you’re focusing on what your buyers want. However, all too many suppliers make rookie mistakes that sever those strong relationships. If your supply company is guilty of making any of the following mistakes, it’s past time to make some changes.

  1. Unclear Strategy

Too many supply companies have an unclear or confusing strategy regarding dealings between customers. Generally, the business plan focuses too much attention on the business side of things and not enough on building customer relationships, leaving buyers confused and frustrated.

As a B2B company, your business is your buyers, and developing relationships is your purpose. In order to make lasting relationships a reality for your customers, you need to write a solid business plan or strategy that focuses on improving the buyer experience while growing your overall business.

The best way to do this is to consider your main audience and how they like to do business. For example, consider the importance of building relationships with China through trade. An article regarding trade with China featured on Forbes stresses: “When sourcing goods in China, you must have a well-defined sourcing strategy or ‘road map,’ including locating the best supplier for your particular needs.” This is just one example of many where a durable plan is necessary for boosting relationships with a specific audience.

  1. Lack of Supplier-Buyer Communication

No customer likes to be left in the dark about what’s going on with their supply order, yet it happens often with underprepared suppliers. You can’t have strong relationships without strong communication, which is one of the biggest things that affects your reputation and buyer retention. And there’s no excuse for poor supplier-buyer interaction. With the hundreds of forms of communication available today, suppliers should have no problem keeping their buyers abreast of their current order status and strategies.

If you want to build relationships with buyers, achieve more buyer referrals, and boost your ratings on local review sites, you’ll keep up a steady stream of communication with buyers. Your company should communicate clearly regarding each order and other resources that can help the buyer’s business strategy. Strong relationships are about going above and beyond.

  1. Legal Issues

Another major mistake suppliers make is to get wrapped up in entirely avoidable legal issues. With poorly written contracts, inadequate payment securities, and insufficient legal consults, many supply companies find themselves entangled in legal situations that can cost millions, and even lose them their business.

Putting the legalities of business in writing is one of the most important steps to take in ensuring a safe and secure relationship buyers can count on. Your contract should be well written and outline all of your company’s particular stipulations before doing business. It should be written by a professional writer and read over thoroughly by a trusted lawyer who can offer legal advice and correct any legal errors.

Furthermore, considering payment protection for both parties is extremely important. According to the Forbes article mentioned previously, “Before you make a payment, you need to think about how you are going to get your money back if there is any dispute over product quality or delivery.” It also suggests several ways to protect both yourself and your buyers, including choosing safe payment methods and defining the quality of the product beforehand. Each of these tips will get you out of the kind of legal trouble that could potentially put your company out of business.

  1. Treating Buyers Unequally

As a supplier, you often depend on customer referrals to grow your business, and it’s a sign of success when this occurs. However, be aware that customers talk about your services and how they’ve been treated. If you treat one customer different than another, customers will talk amongst themselves. You must make up for this difference or you might risk losing a customer in the end.

This means enacting specific policies that mandate equal service across the board. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t offer perks for your most loyal of customers. In fact, offering incentives for customers who have been with you for years is an excellent way to increase buyer loyalty. But if you treat your new customers and your long-term customers too differently, and without just cause, you’ll suffer the repercussions.

  1. High Employee Turnover

You probably like to think that your exceptional marketing strategy, catchy slogan, and trusted logo are what sell your business. In reality, those things play a major part, but it’s actually your employees that keep your buyers coming back, especially in the supplier-buyer world. Your employees are the ones who forge bonds with the businesses seeking your goods and services. People like to do business with the same people who know what they like and who care about them as human beings.

You hope that this bond will last, but if you have a high turnover rate with employees, it will be very difficult to make bonds that last. Entice your employees to stick around by investing in them. Recognize their success, celebrate birthdays, offer perks, pay employees what they’re worth, include great benefits, make the office a fun place to work—each of these ideas will have an initial cost attached, but will keep your employees around much longer.

There is always a cost that comes with engaging buyers that will last. However, if your company is willing to make the initial investment, the positive consequences will quickly follow.