How many enterprises or organisations produce everything they need in order to do business? The answer today is very few, if any. Practically all companies rely on third party suppliers, somewhere, somehow. With this reliance comes risk, and the question of business continuity: what happens to our business if supplier X ceases to supply us? Many enterprises tackle the problem by using multiple suppliers, possibly in multiple locations, for the same supplies. However, in the interests of efficiency and lower overheads, there is also a case to be made for helping a supplier to become more resilient by “selling” its good practices in business continuity and disaster recovery.
Good selling techniques still need quality items to sell and relevant knowledge about those items. In other words, you should know enough about your own business continuity and disaster recovery management if you want to convince a supplier to go down the same path. Your own BC and DR practices should set an example. At the same time, while keeping your objectives firmly in mind (maximum four hour delivery from your supplier, for example), you will also need to be sensitive to your supplier’s situation. Think about the good things your company gets out of proper BC and DR planning, and put yourself “in the shoes” of your supplier to see what might be most attractive to it.
Much of the process of “selling” these practices to your suppliers revolves around common sense and a willingness to see things from their perspective. However, if you feel unsure about it, have a word with your sales director or a sales rep who has built up the loyalty and satisfaction of his or her own customers. Explain to them that you want to help your supplier to do better, because this will then benefit your own company, and ask them how they would “sell” good BC and DR practices. You might even go on a call to your supplier together: not to sell your own company’s products or services, but to help get your supplier into a position that will help everybody.