Tackle and outdoor retailers are constantly at odds with their vendors over a cornucopia of issues such as pricing, payment terms, sales to the competition, co-op and etc. It seems that there is an ongoing flow of problems, negotiations, requests with your vendors. You need them and they need you.

But what happens when the vendors stop talking and just say, “No, we can’t or won’t do it!” That is tantamount to “take it or leave it!” While you may be tempted to tell the vendor to go stick their heads in a bucket, doing so will not solve your problem nor solicit the solution your desire. You have a need, but the vendor’s cooperation is not forthcoming.

The solution is obvious… just keep asking, but in a different format. For example, you might say to the vendor that, “We both have a valid need so let’s work together to find a solution that address both our requirements.”

Sounds too “Alice in Wonderland,” too easy. Trust me, the system works. I have negotiated with hundreds of vendors over the issues of price, terms, freight, and advertising support. When they said they just couldn’t do it, I said then let’s find a way that fulfils both our needs. Did it work 100% of the time? No, but it worked solidly 80% of the time and that’s a lot better than not having tried.

If you are asking the vendor for something outside of their normal package, be willing to provide or suggest some gain for the vendor. This form of “quid pro quo” usually works and forms a foundation for further cooperation and profit generating endeavors. Just because a request from you might be outside the normal discourse, that doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t be considered.

Don’t ever take the position that a vendor won’t do something; you’ll never know unless you ask. Even if the answer is “no,” then your response should be, “then let’s find a way that addresses both our needs and facilitates greater growth and profitability for both of us.”

If you have a clear vision of what you need and express your wiliness to work with the vendor to achieve mutual benefit for the both of you, then you will likely meet with ongoing successes.

My father used to illustrate this fact by telling me, “Robbie when I was a young man, every time I met a beautiful girl, I asked her for a kiss. As you might expect, I often got my face slapped, but I also got kissed a lot!”

This little anecdote illustrates the potential of asking versus assuming. My father also used to say, “If you don’t ask, then surely you won’t get!”