NMP - April 2017 - 99

Take Note:
Vendor Strategy
By Bill Sullivan

99

dialogue, and listens to its
partners. Your supply chain
can and should be your eyes
and ears in the market place to
help you keep pace with the
latest trends and best practices
in the marketplace.

1. Leverage technology platforms
at your disposal. With the rising
generation of first-time
Millennial homebuyers, it's
critical to take note of the role
technology plays in the
homebuying experience from
discovery to close.
2. Look for ways to expand your
partnership through
integrations and workflow
collaboration. Often vendors
can provide best practices
from other lenders they may
work with. Consider the
resources that a vendor can
provide to you as well.
3. Choose vendors and utilize

their supply chain primarily or
exclusively in a rigid
procurement process focused
on minimizing price. By not
engaging suppliers to fully
understand the business
problem lenders often deprive
themselves of tremendous
subject matter expertise and
industry experience that could
yield an even better solution
than the best price model.
The best way to work with
vendors is to utilize them as
partners. Not only will this help to
reduce costs, it also provides a
better and more transparent
experience for customers. The
strength of a long-term
partnership helps lenders deliver
the best results for their
customers.

Bill Sullivan is Stewart's executive vice president of the
Enterprise Revenue Group-Lender Sales. Connect with him
on LinkedIn.

n National Mortgage Professional Magazine n APRIL 2017

Just as critical as choosing the
right business partner for your
company is how you work with
them. It's up to you to get the
most out of these relationships:

them as partners for a mutually
successful relationship. Often
vendors are selected based on
a single need or single price.
Look at your vendors
holistically and as enterprise
partners, not simply for one
immediate need.
4. Rather than asking "what does
it cost?" consider asking "how
can we solve for this business
need?" Often a good supplier
has encountered the same
critical business issue that you
are trying to solve. Your
business partners will be
grateful for this approach too.
By engaging them
collaboratively you help them
"up their game" and improve
their understanding of current
business issues. Unfortunately
lenders too often engage with

NationalMortgageProfessional.com

experience of the partner and
expect more from them. What
approach do they take to solving
issues? The first answer should
never be "no." Partners should
be open-minded and willing to
invest time and energy to explore
remedies and options.
3. Work with vendors that have
scale and breadth and can
execute at a local level. As the
market gets more competitive,
the borrower experience
becomes a critical competitive
issue. Finding the right mix of
cost-efficient and customercentric can be a challenge.
Suppliers with large scale and
robust compliance discipline can
seem attractive from a price
perspective, but often the
borrower experience suffers at
the hands of such large
companies.
4. Relationships are key. Partner
with a vendor, leverage that
vendor's knowledge, expertise
and market reach to help grow
your business and make
connections for you. Choose
partners that allow for access to
leadership and responsive, open


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