Reputation, Results & References Key Motivators in Selecting Business Vendors and Partners

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Richmond, Va. — April 15
In the 2008 Key Motivators Business Survey, 93.4 percent of respondents report that a company’s reputation is “very important” when choosing a vendor or business partner, 65.2 percent cite references as “very important” and 41.5 percent say proof of results are “very important.”

Conducted by Porter Positioning in April 2008, the survey of U.S. business professionals was completed by 214 people in a variety of industries and professions. Survey details are available at

Gaps Expose Opportunities
Surprisingly, while 95.3 percent of respondents say proven results are “very important” or “preferred,” only 30.8 percent say they actually ask for proof of results. Similarly, while 99.1 percent say references are “very important” or “preferred,” only 66.4 percent say they usually ask for references.

“This gap represents a huge opportunity for companies that want to distinguish themselves in competitive markets,” said Emily Porter, principal of Porter Positioning, which conducted the survey. “It also reveals that professionals can do more to ensure success with their vendors.

“Reputation, references and results are clear ways companies can differentiate themselves from competitors,” she said. “Case studies and testimonials are powerful indicators of success that can make or break a decision when choosing a vendor. Even if these items aren’t requested, companies should proactively provide them. Case studies are particularly good, contextual multiuse vehicles, providing valuable proposal information, Web content and presentation substance.”

Porter also advocates companies to strive for industry awards and recognition. “Awards for service, product excellence and innovation reinforce the overall brand and help inform individual choices,” she noted. In fact, the survey showed that nearly half (49.8 percent) of respondents said award-winning customer service is “very important” and 38.8 percent said award-winning products and services are “very important.”

When asked to rank a list of the most important elements when choosing a vendor or partner:

• 46.6 percent say good company reputation is most important.
• 39.2 percent say proven results is most important.
• 7.8 percent say award-winning products and services are most important. 

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