9 Key Signs to Look for When Determining Vendor Interest

Nine Key Signs to Look for When Determining Vendor Interest

As experienced entrepreneurs know, not every deal works out. Vendors may lose interest or not have the money or the time to make a deal happen. It is important to know which signs may indicate the vendor’s focus is shifting elsewhere. That way, you don’t need to waste time pursuing a deal that’s unlikely to come to fruition. To help, we have asked 13 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

“Not every proposed business deal works out: Not everyone is interested, or has the setup or time needed to pursue the idea. When talking to a vendor, what is the key sign you look for when trying to discover whether they’re going to want to agree to the deal? Why is that sign so important?”

Determining Vendor Interest

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Economic Alignment

“If both parties have a collectively held end outcome and understand how each party contributes to that outcome, then both parties will grow. In this way economic outcomes are perfectly aligned. If your vendors do not care about your customer outcomes and strictly view you as the end customer, things will fall apart quickly. If your vendors believe they win when you win, then that’s a great sign.” ~ Eric Mathews, Start Co.

2. Follow-Ups

“When gauging someone’s interest in a deal, I look for follow-ups. Do they have follow-up questions? Do they contact me to follow up on this idea? You don’t ever want to beg someone to be involved in your idea; you want them to want to be there. If you pitch your proposed deal to someone and they follow up, odds are they are interested.” ~ Ben Landis, Fanbase

3. Interest Beyond Pricing

“When vendors are interested in no more than the pricing aspect of a project, it’s best to be a little wary. When a prospect is interested in facets such as research, development and implementation, then you know you’re dealing with someone who is not out there to waste your time. The more questions I get asked, the more confident I feel about landing a deal.” ~ Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns

4. What Else Is on Their Plate

“Asking a potential partner about what they’re already working on is crucial. If you get even a hint of them being overextended, you can assess their availability. It doesn’t matter how dedicated a potential partner is to the idea if they don’t have hours in the day to spend on it.” ~ Thursday Bram, The Responsible Communication Style Guide

5. Interest in Discussing Specifics

“I never fully trust that anything is done until a contract is signed. However, when a vendor I am pitching to begins talking in specifics, it’s usually a good sign they are onboard. When I hear them speaking specifically about numbers and ideas, that’s usually a good sign.” ~ Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution

6. Interest in the ‘Small Print’

“I look for signs that prospects are interested in the “small print” of a deal such as delivery date, specifications, warranty or other specifications on the contract. When they’re too focused on the big picture, then it suggests that they’re still shopping around. When they want to know the finer points, it means they’re ready to move forward.” ~ Shawn Porat, Scorely

7. Transparency

“We’ve all had the experience of asking someone to explain what they are thinking, and then they break eye contact. They throw up obstacles. They can tell you haven’t assumed their authority, so they start smoke screening. I’m out the door at the first sign of a lack of transparency. By contrast, I feel great when they explain their reasoning and they make perfect sense.” ~ Zev Herman, Superior Lighting

8. Ability to Offer Solutions

“One sign to look for is that the vendor offers solutions when you ask for any sort of personalization for your business, which is almost always needed in some way, shape or form. If they don’t respond at all or do not propose something that sounds like it will specifically work, you may want to move on.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

9. Genuine Passion

“Most importantly, I gauge their passion. We only work on projects we are passionate about, and I expect those we work with to share that feeling. It’s easy to tell when someone is just going through the motions. Without both sides on the same page, it’s impossible have a successful and long-lasting working relationship. ” ~ Justin Lefkovitch, Mirrored Media

Photo via Shutterstock

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.