To build and maintain trust with your clients it’s vital to recommend vendors you can know will deliver strong service and results. I’ve worked on the consultant, employer and now vendor-side of employee benefits and from every perspective the critical success factor is the consultant-vendor relationship.

When the vendors you recommend fall short or fail due to weak service, low utilization or poor outcomes everyone loses and your reputation suffers. 

Here are three keys to keep in mind for successful vendor programs:

  1. Be flexible: Everyone likes to win during negotiations. While some things are non-negotiable, avoid derailing the relationship by making everything non-negotiable. Your client must live with the vendor relationship and fostering a trust is important. 
  2. Be collaborative: You're often the gatekeeper for the client. When you support your client as a full partner with the vendor it ensures the program will be well aligned and set up for success.
  3. Be generous with data: Data must flow both ways for a successful program and partnership. When data and performance discussions only happen annually they may not allow needed time to course-correct which reduces outcomes and ROI for your client.

A high performing vendor that delivers positive ROI to the benefit trend pleases your client and positions you as a valued partner. Learn how the broker for the City of Kirkland in Washington built a trusted vendor partnership that continues to deliver strong ROI.        

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