Can anyone tell me how to get on preferred supplier lists?

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Freelance Consultant


Can anyone tell me how to get on preferred supplier lists?
As a freelance consultant, I'd like to be able to grow my business and perhaps employ an assistant, and turn my little freelance outfit into something a bit more like a small consultancy.

I understand that a lot of the 'major players' use lists of 'preferred suppliers', and I wondered how a new company gets into such a list - is it a function of recommendation, track-record, who-you-know, or something else?

I ask because if my outfit turns into a consultancy, I will be competing on a different arena than I do as an individual, and need to plan accordingly.

Can anyone post me some tips?



Account Director

Voice & Screen Recording

Supplier Lists

Corporate Market

It all depends on which markets you are trying to target. The best and most obvious way is to demonstrate a successful track record using innovative solutions or approaches. The rest is then down to YOU or your sales team to build relationships.


Target the major central government agencies they all advertise framework contracts etc for just about everything they buy.

Good luck


Freelance Consultant


still no further ahead!
Can anyone help? Stuarts advice was useful but I am still not sure how to go about this: it's getting the reputation in the first place that I am finding tough.


Account Director

Voice & Screen Recording

Keep plugging away
Hi Bob

Have you thought about writing a case study around some of the projects you've worked on previously? This will help you focus on your core offerings as a consultant. After that, the next step is to hawk yourself around as many as your target companies as possible. It's the sales mantra....the more calls..etc



Sales Engineer

Macomber Computer & Communicatio

Can anyone tell me how to get on preferred supplier lists?
I don't see preferred supplier lists with good eyes, for many reasons.
Most of them cost you money you can't measure in terms of return on investment.
Also the Preferred Vendor's Programs around are by my experience, grounds for kickbacks.

Target your market, sell direct and in due time, pay your dues to your member association.

You will be seen with better eyes from your peers, and will be invited into a lot more projects.

Also find vendors with good track record in execution and offer to swap leads.

It works.

Always look for keepers.

Managing Director

The i Group of Consultants Ltd

Can anyone tell me how to get on preferred supplier lists?
As the MD of a management consultancy, I can tell you from personal experience, as I started as a 'one man band' consultancy.

It's damn hard work!.. Basically the previous advice is correct - get your previous successes written up and sell yourself. Personally I'd recommend funding a full time sales person to do it for you - consultants don't always make good sales people and vice versa - let the salesman do what he does best and that will allow you to do what you do best.

If you need any more advice, please don't hesitate to contact me

Glen Smeaton
Managing Director
The i Group of Consultants Ltd


On Focus Group

By Asking a Completely Different Question ???
Bob asks: "I understand that a lot of the 'major players' use lists of 'preferred suppliers', and I wondered how a new company gets into such a list".

There might be an easier way !!!

How about a different question ...

"How canI get preferred suppliers (who are already on the lists of the major players I am interested in) to offer my service/product?"

Tying up with another business can have major advantages for a start-up provided that you are compatable and can convince them of the benefits.

Alan ............

Account Executive


Re: Can anyone tell me how to get on preferred supplier lists?


Cheyenne Kavanagh here from SR Teleperformance(

Hmmm... that's hard one.

I guess just in response to your querie, and to give you a bit of feedback from my own personal experience (in... say in the last 6 mths or so), I'll give you the lowdown in reference to a tender process and RFP (that I am currently awaiting a response for) for THE biggest company in Australia --- a company called 'TELSTRA'. They specialise in Telecommunications - both Residential and Corporate, and are half owned by the Australian Government.

A few examples of the protocols and expectations we had to endure through, or at least 'consider':

- A vibrant and stimulating approach to Equal Opportunity Employment -
in disregard to past legislations towards the 'mentally challenged', for

- Local and Global Experience through Case Studies and Referees.

- Creativity and Exclusivity through unique methodologies and models...

E.g. SR Teleperformance provides CVM = 'Customer Value Management' - an
elaboration of CRM. (By the way, we're not a CRM system provider, but
rather a global network of call centre's who provide CRM solutions on
the human aspect of things... Just to clarify:))

- Annual Financial Reports - For all subsidiaries of our institution globally.

- Objectives and personal goals of the institution, within the next 5 years.

- Enviromental Consideration (which I thought was rather picky of 'em, but
interesting in the Evaluation and the Brief, all the same... hmmmm...;))

For Example: 1.Whether or not our Customer Service Representatives used paper
cups in the staff kitchens or polystirene cups, 2. Whether or not we turned
the lights off after hours, 3. whether or not we were polluting the
environment in any shape or form with other campaigns or fulfillment...
AND 4. the proposal had to be printed on 100% 'Recycled Paper'.

I guess in conclusion Bob, there is no black and white way about getting onto a preferred supplier list as such, besides keeping alert and flexible, as well as patient, and most of all keeping with the flow of things - It's a little difficult to explain what I mean.

Just a little pro-activity and re-search, and finding out 'what the client really wants' before being creative might be a better way of explaining it.

Talk to others in the league, network and get the inside view. That's the best answer I can give in the matter at hand Im afraid, as I'm guessing TELSTRA's wants and needs, for example, will most probably change 5 years from now, and I'll have to pour the same amount of blood, sweat and tears in to another proposal for TELSTRA, or for any other insititution of the same calibar as I did initially... because each is different. Technique and Formulae do not apply.

If you have any feedback, email me, and expect a prompt reply.

Kindest Regards,

Cheyenne D. Kavanagh
Account Executive
Teleperformance Australia.

Market Development

K2 Solutions

Dealing with TELSTRA
In response to Ms. Kavanagh's comment, about "protocols and expectations" in the tendering process, and dealing with Telstra: The answer to your problem is called "Mallesons Stephen Jaques". I suspect you have probably heard *of* them, but if you have not, Mallesons are the law firm that handles *by far* the lion's share of Telstra's legal work.

It's an 'open secret' that Telstra's own in-house legal department is so heavily staffed with Mallesons' alumni that they literally had to bring in outside people to oversee their tendering process for legal work, because the situation has become *that* obvious.

At any rate, you can rest assured that every bureaucratic detail of Telstra's tendering process first saw the light of day in the mind of one of Mallesons' crew (alumnus or not). They designed the process you are coping with, and approached properly, they can probably enable you to reverse-engineer it. Given as you anticipate dealing with a totally novel set of headaches the next time around, you could probably get a heads-up on upcoming issues by 'doing lunch' with Mallesons' on a regular basis. They would never consider violating a client's confidences (naturally) but where passing on information is colourably in the interests of a client...

And Mr. Stumbles and company are witty lunchtime conversationalists, too. If you do decide to go and see them, do tell Mr. Stumbles "the man from McGill says hi." Best of luck.


Sai E Seva Dot Com Pvt Ltd

Preferred Supplier list
Hi Bob
I appreciate and understand the importance of both Supplier as well as Buyer lists.

As far as I understand such lists are rare to be found. But a few ways are established by Virtual marketplace sites like where they give ratings on service providers and suppliers based purely on performance,long standing association, and service delivery experiences.

But you need to do a bit of benchmarking on whatever sort of projects you work on.

Thanks & regards
K Narayanan


Sai E Seva Dot Com Pvt Ltd

Preferred Suppliers
Hi Bob

I know of an organization called "Better Business Bureau" operating in North America which could gove details about some company you would like to deal with there.

Apart, from these, in other countries there are regulatory organizations like NASSCOM (India) which could help.


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