• Vendors are transactional and replaceable, and partners are long-term relationships critical to your success.
  • Transforming vendors into partners can be a great benefit to your business and accelerate growth; it also generates more referrals.
  • Alignment of core values and clear communication are foundational to a solid partnership.

Real estate sometimes seems less of a business than a network — with the real estate agent, broker and listing at the center of it all. If a real estate transaction is a symphony, the real estate agent is the conductor making sure that each virtuoso is playing his or her part.

It might seem like the conductor is running the show. But really, the conductor’s role is to lead — to bring all of these talents together.

In real estate, we often refer to the people who serve all of the moving parts of a transaction as vendors, when in reality they are your partners.

The people you partner with to help execute your vision are not just doing their jobs, they are also delivering to the best of their ability and working toward a common goal. They are a direct reflection of you and your company.

Vendors simply perform a service — partners have skin in the game and know that your success is their success.

So how do you transform a vendor into a partner?

It starts with mutual respect.

Out of respect for the expertise of the people you surround yourself with, offer a selfless generosity in your appreciation of their time and schedules.

A few things to keep in mind in transforming your vendors into partners:

1. Ask, don’t order

We all have clients who are demanding, and it can be tempting to pass on that experience directly to your partners, but the more you can slow down and interact in a calm manner, the more everyone has the space they need to execute at a high level.

2. Partnerships are collaborations

Whether it’s an inspector or a stager, people want your respect and your buy-in; and the more you’re willing to give, the more they’re willing to share. This leads to great friendships, which opens their network and creates opportunities for you.

We all live and die by our referral sphere of influence, which is why having a partnership mindset benefits you and your client’s sphere.

3. Treat partners as resources

The interaction between partners and vendors can extend from the transactional into the truly relational. Many friends and clients are building internal referral networks and private mastermind groups to great success.

4. Communication is as important as competence

If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, the fact that your working styles align can be even more important than the vendor’s reputation.

You have to enjoy genuinely working together and be able to trust that the other person will communicate with you in the style and time frame that works best.

There are many people who can do the job, but only a few you will enjoy working with.

A partner will, over time, know as much about your business as you do and be able to make you aware of your blind spots. They’ll be able to support you in ways that a vendor can’t.

Turning a vendor relationship into a partnership has real power and magic — creating more energy that is focused on your success.

Audie Chamberlain is the founder of Lion & Orb. You can follow him on Instagram or LinkedIn.

Email Audie Chamberlain.

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