Last week, a marketing executive told me his company decided not to use our writing and media outreach services because the firm preferred to do business locally. I scratched my head when I heard this comment, knowing that my prospect sells its software internationally. Imagine what it would be like for their salespeople to encounter such provincial thinking?
That being said, there are some benefits to buying locally. In many cases, it’s good for the economy. Building local relationships contributes to the sense of community and character of a geographic area. It adds to a personal flavor too. People who live in a community and work and play together are likely to value loyalty and will generally do whatever they can to help a neighbor. While this type of business relationship works for local retailers—grocery stores, drug stores, movie theaters, restaurants, flower shops, boutiques and clothing stores, jewelers and others, it isn’t always the best decision for other types of business products and services.
For example, when companies serve national and/or international markets, they may have more complex needs than any local supplier can provide. They might need a business partner that has the ability to serve multiple locations at the same time. Just because a business is headquartered in your geographic area doesn’t mean they are a good fit for you.
Today, the best choice for doing business should be based not solely on geographical location, but rather on other criteria such as:
- Does a prospective vendor or business partner has a solid reputation, sound references, and have they demonstrated shared values with you?
- Has the prospective company shown a sincere interest in earning your business, indicated an understanding of your needs, and revealed a commitment to the business relationship?
- Does the prospective company have a corporate distinction in the marketplace—something that represents a meaningful advantage to you?
- Does the company offer product or service guarantees that take the risk out of doing business?
- Are the terms of purchase and post-purchase support favorable?
Consider these criteria before making a buying decision to do business locally or opt for another service provider. The choice you make can have a significant impact on your level of satisfaction, the ease of doing business, and on your company’s future growth.