Law firm owners can’t function without good vendors. It’s critical to assess your needs, select quality vendors, and monitor your relationship. But how are you supposed to manage your vendors successfully? Read 8 Figure Firm’s blog to learn more.
What is a vendor?
A vendor provides goods or services for your law firm internally. Vendors are essential to your growth because they fill critical roles without forcing you to hire a team you can’t afford.
There are many types of vendors, and each fills a specific purpose. Call tracking services, translators, customer relationship management, and technology are all excellent examples of vendors that may be necessary for your firm.
To scale your practice, you must manage your vendors. Cultivating a healthy relationship with fellow business owners will give you a support network of people you can rely on and increase your brand authority.
How do you find vendors?
Before managing your vendors, you must find businesses that you want to work with! We will work through the three things you need to do before hiring vendors before discussing how to cultivate your relationships.
Define the Need
A healthy relationship with another business begins with recognizing the need for assistance. Take a look at what your clients need, what your business needs, and what your employees need. Each will require a different type of vendor.
Try making a list of what you lack – whether that is software to help you control your customer journey or a business to provide food and drink to your employees. You must define what you need before you ask someone to fill it.
No matter what type of vendor you need, you will likely discover dozens of businesses with the same kinds of services. You shouldn’t pick the first option on your Google search but instead compare their services.
You will need to research the best prices and services and compare their customer service, service standards, and technology. You should also see how efficient they are and ensure that their location is compatible with yours.
Networking is an integral part of growing your business, especially when managing your vendors. Making connections with other lawyers, businesses, and professionals will give you more insight into what could potentially work for your firm.
Attend networking events and seek out those who align with your values. You could also ask other attorneys about their vendors and then research yourself. Networking with other professionals gives you a place to start from.
How do you manage your vendors?
Once you’ve found the vendors that will best suit your needs, it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to work with them. Let’s look at five ways to manage your vendors successfully.
Assign a DRI
DRI stands for directly responsible individual, and it’s the best place to start implementing tools that will help you manage your vendors. Assigning one person or department to communicate with your vendors will streamline the process.
Hopefully, you and your vendor will have one person on each team to communicate with each other directly. Having a DRI eliminates any confusion between you and prevents miscommunication. It’s also helpful to have all the knowledge in one place or person.
Speaking of communication, another important aspect of managing your vendors is frequent and open communication. Both you and your vendors should feel comfortable reaching out whenever there are questions or concerns.
Deciding the frequency level will look different for every firm and vendor within your firm. You may need to communicate with some vendors every week, while others every quarter. Regardless, frequent communication is vital to a successful relationship with vendors.
Each vendor you hire will provide a different service, whether that’s an IT firm, printing company, or shipping service. For each vendor, you will need to define the deliverables they will provide to your firm.
Setting clear expectations of what you expect from your vendors will create a straightforward relationship. Be sure to discuss the service they provide and what they expect from you and your firm.
KPIs, or key performance indicators, are an excellent way to monitor your relationship with your vendors before your annual contract review. They can be internal or external, but it’s helpful to have them on hand in case of any miscommunication.
You may need to think about what KPIs work best for the relationships between your firm and your vendors. Implementing KPIs for efficiency, cost, and accuracy are easy places to start, but you may also benefit from more specific ones.
Contracts are the foundation of a successful partnership, so reviewing them yearly is crucial. Annually studying your contract with your vendors allows you to discuss what has been working, ways to improve, and any other general business.
Every year, you and your DRI should schedule a time to meet with your vendor and review the contract. The annual review should be a time for open and honest communication, so be sure to talk about any updated expectations or deliverables.
Speak to an Expert
Before hiring vendors, define your needs, research your options, and constantly network. To successfully manage your vendors, you may benefit from assigning a DRI, frequently communicating, defining your deliverables, implementing KPIs, and reviewing your contract.
Managing your vendors is crucial to your firm’s success, but it can quickly become challenging. With programs like ONE.Coach, Leadership.ONE, and Management.ONE, we will support you on your journey to eight figures in predictable yearly revenue.If you’re ready to take your law firm to the next level, register for ONE.Coach today. We’ll help you turn your law firm into a law business.