What to do if you’re stuck with a difficult supplier

A difficult supplier can quickly become the stuff of nightmares, so here’s some tips that we think should ease up any issues should they arise.


Communication is key! Such a cliché, right? That may be so but it’s very true. Have you taken the time to really communicate with you supplier? By that we don’t mean sending blunt, abrasive emails or texts. Have you picked up the phone? Even better, arranged a face to face meeting in a neutral location?


When you do finally get round to meeting face to face or talking on the phone, try to bring yourself on to the same level as your supplier. Try to dispel any bias you have or pre conceived notions about what the problem is, and don’t go in to the meeting annoyed or with an aggressive tone. Try and start from a neutral position.


You may think that they are being difficult, but the supplier may see it totally differently. Who’s to say that you’re not the one actually causing them a problem? To turn the tables and try to see the concern form their point of view  takes a lot of humility and emotional intelligence. It’s a hard skill to learn but trust us, it pays off and can save you countless problems not just with suppliers but with staff and customers too. 


Instead of ranting at them about your problem, ask them what the hold up or concern is on their end. It may be something you had been totally oblivious to until now, and could also be a great chance for you to get some outside input on an area you could improve in your business.


Politely and calmly terminate your contract, but make sure you have the backup already in place. If you’re hasty and want to sever ties too quickly, you, your business and your customers could suffer. It’s not worth risking your reputation for a moment of hurried decision making. 

Have you ever had to work things out with a difficult supplier? We would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.  

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