If you are responsible for selecting and contracting third party companies, you know that the process can be grueling, confusing and stressful. There are just so many people out there who provide the services that you need. And, the people you work for are counting on you to make the right decision.
When interviewing companies, it’s important to make sure that you ask the right questions. Keep in mind that they might look good on paper; but, you could find out later that there are surprises that ultimately make you look bad.
In addition to verifying the normal things . . . license, insurance, etc., here are some questions you can ask to ensure that you choose the right partner:
Ask questions about their business philosophies? Give them an ethical question to answer. “You make a mistake that will cost money to correct. How do you handle this?” A question such as this sets the tone for your relationship. Look for a partner who will first admit that they made a mistake and then do everything in their power to fix it.
Ask questions pertaining to their business experience. “Tell me your biggest success story.” When listening to their answer, listen carefully and read between the lines. There’s a difference between bragging and genuine pride. Look for passion, not a sales pitch.
Ask questions about their pricing structure. “What is your mark-up?” “Do you receive kickbacks from your suppliers?” These questions may be uncomfortable. But, they are perfectly valid questions. And, knowing your potential partner’s profit margin aids you in negotiation. If they are not up front about how they make their money. They are not transparent. And, that’s a warning sign. It means that they care more about you spending money than they do about saving you money.
Ask to meet the person or team you will work with. The sales person is not always your direct contact after you sign the contract. It’s important that you have a comfort level with your Account Manager and/or Account Team.
Ask about their communication style. When are they available to speak? Do they have set office hours? Will they provide a back-up contact if they are out of the office? Do they offer a weekly status call? What is their policy on responding to emails and phone calls?
Get a feel for their expertise level, but also the way that they “talk business.” In every industry, there are vernaculars that are specific to the industry. In order for you to have a successful working relationship, you need a partner who will not insult your intelligence or make you feel like they are speaking a foreign language.
Building relationships is key to a successful partnership. Nobody wants to have to go through the selection process over and over again. And, building a long-standing relationship has better potential for success. But, you have to trust your partners. In order to do that, be sure to choose transparency, not opacity. Partners who are transparent have your back, listen to you better, and are in it for the long run.
“. . . their management fee was 100% transparent – which is critical to me – there were no mark-ups on vendor services so there were no surprises, and their CEO, Robyn Davis, was a very savvy negotiator. She literally saved us between $100 and $120K by repeatedly requiring all of the vendors they negotiated with on our behalf, to sharpen their pencils.
Overall experience – a solid 10/10. Very highly recommend.”
A valued Global Eventures client November 2019 – can be found on Google Reviews