You can learn a great deal from vendors about the reputation of your department and your job responsibilities, especially when you are new and don’t have anything to defend. Be open, willing to listen, and not at all defensive and you will receive the benefit of uncensored advice.
Keep the following in mind:
- Begin to build a relationship that can prove beneficial in the short and long-term
- Listen for strengths and weaknesses relative to the competition
- Discover the large or small issues that the outsiders feel in dealing with your company
- Detect where you can attain some quick wins in improving the relationship
- Understand the frustrations of insiders in dealing with your area and begin the process of being a better partner