There’s no such thing as vendorship

Reflections on forging solid credit union-supplier partnerships and how that applies to marketing to your members.

At Edge, we refer to our clients as “client-partners.” We refer to our employees as our “team.” These terms make a difference in how we see and treat each other as well as how each individual involved in making the relationship successful views themselves and their own influence.

To market from the heart without losing your soul, you must treat your “vendors” like partners. A vendor relationship feels like something you can easily trade out or throw away. A partnership, in contrast, is a long-term relationship that gets refined over time, often over periods of conflict or obstacles that are overcome. Likewise, we’ve learned to behave as a partner, not a vendor, so we can play a part in the big picture of our clients’ stories.

A vendor says “yes” and “thank you.” A partner comes alongside the customer with empathy for current circumstances and keeps the interests of the customer in mind. A partner will push back and engage in thought processes and conversation to attain better understanding. A partner may say “no” and “I don’t think that’s a good idea and here’s why…”


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