Our view is that vendor inquiries are some of the most important events in the day-to-day routine of legendinc.com. They represent real opportunities for our clients and for us. So, even though we discourage nonproductive telephone, fax and e-mail inquiries, we still take our vendor relationships very seriously, and we will always respond if approached thoughtfully. So, here is the best way to get our attention:
1. No unsolicited information. Send a thoughtful e-mail with your ideas on how your services could benefit our clients. DO NOT mail large packages of preprinted brochures and pocket folders with innumerable inserts. DO NOT e-mail PDFs and other attachments. We know they save you time, but they are either thrown away without opening or, as a rule, our e-mail defense system strips them prior to the e-mail’s arrival in our database. This is also true of unsolicited faxes and voice mails, which all are part of our computer system as well.
We are much more interested in YOUR thoughts and ideas than in preprinted blurbs. Once we have you in our database, requested attachments will be accepted. But with over 2,000-plus incoming combined e-mails, phone calls, and faxes a day, all unsolicited documents are rejected.
2. Requested format. If you do not have a direct e-mail contact at legendinc.com, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and (if you use your own e-mail program rather than clicking on our link) include in the subject the words “Vendor inquiry” or “Media inquiry” PLUS the name of the client you think your services would be good for. [EXAMPLE: “Media Inquiry for XYZ Corporation.”] Our filters will remove things like: “Checking in,” or “Have we got something for you.” Without a subject-line client your e-mail will be caught in the spam filter.
3. Wait to hear back from us. It could be a few days, but more than likely, it will much quicker than you think.
4. Do not request meetings. If we feel a meeting is needed, we will request it. As a rule we do not do lunch. We do business the old-fashioned way: direct and on topic.
5. Business practices. All vendor services, are selected on the basis of pricing or competitive bidding, so even if one of our clients referred or recommended you, vendors will still be selected in the protocols of our normal bidding procedures. Price is a factor. So are knowledge and experience, and service is very important. We work hard at being easy to deal with: We do everything electronically. We will be either using your FTP site or ours; all purchase orders and invoicing should be done via e-mail. Technologically savvy vendors have a stronger sales pitch with us.
We budget annually for all clients during, or just before, the fourth quarter, so if you are coming in midyear, it can be tough. But, a thoughtful proposal, with introductory incentives (for the client), can make a difference. Comparative analysis of competitors can also be very helpful. But, your thoughtful e-mail is the most important communication. Always include website addresses and complete pricing information including shipping and taxes. Be sure to review client Internet sites for information to make your e-mail accurate and realistic.
6. We are happy to get to know new vendors. We use new vendors all the time. Annually, we deal with between 600 and 1,000 media and vendor resources for services. So, follow our procedures and we will have a mutual and productive relationship. Phone calls are only for our clients and for emergencies. We know you may have a list you are calling down, but if we are on your routine call list, take us off and follow the procedures above.
8. Once we initiate a relationship. Always remember that we are the agency for a disclosed client, and, as such, we act and purchase services on their behalf. All payment cycles are based on the client/agency relationship, not the vendor/agency relationship. Our bills are all due in 15 days of receipt. We bill when our project is complete. Sometimes, when a project stretches out too long, we do bill “in progress,” but not usually. So, once we bill a project and are paid, we disburse all vendor fees within a few days. So, depending on your billing cycle, when you came into the project, and the progress of the project, you may have to wait more than a normal 30-day cycle. We work hard to avoid this, but it does happen. Vendor charges are billed from our purchase orders so this reduces the time involved. But often vendor services involve delivery and other charges difficult to determine before everything is complete. On a first project this process may be a little different for you, but we have never lost a vendor relationship over payment issues.