My Library and Courses
Last Update: Thursday October 1, 2020

Key Idea: Be The Source Not The Supplier

Building a partnership with clients helps Zubi Advertising become the source its clients turn to for Hispanic messaging.

Key Question:


A supplier responds to a specific request for goods or services. A source is a true partner, committed to the customer’s success and innovatively pro-active in bringing value to the customer. Teresa feels very strongly about this distinction.

If you listen to your customers, they’ll probably provide you with opportunities to be a source. Sources are problem solvers, not providers of goods or services. We all talk about our problems with little encouragement, for surely our problems are among the most significant in the world. Try this: Call your top customer, and say “I really appreciate your business and I’d like to take you to lunch, what day next week would be convenient? After you are seated at lunch, say “So, how’s business?” Then listen, really listen, to what your customer says. Congratulate your customer on the positives and be empathetic on the negatives. Look for synergies, areas where you had the same problem and share any solution you found. If you have a suggestion, make it. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to make a sale during this lunch. You are building a relationship, becoming closer to your customer, and empowering yourself to be that source you want to be. When you get back to the office, call your second best customer and repeat the process. Be sure to stay on top of the local and national economy issues that affect your customers’ industries. You can’t be a good partner if you have nothing to offer but your goods and services. Read, go to Chamber of Commerce meetings and talk to your own sources about trends they see. Savvy sources are the best sources.

Think about it

Are you a source or a supplier to your customers?

Clip from: Zubi Advertising

"Hispanic Business Is Big Business."

Miami:  This story begins back in Cuba in the 1960s, but we pick it up in 1976 when Tere Zubizarreta started an advertising agency that specialized in crafting messages to Hispanic markets. 

She was a very different kind of revolutionary.  Che Guervara would lust to do what Zubi has done.

Today Zubi Advertising is the largest independent buyer of advertising on Univision. Their success is based upon insight that comes from a deep, empathic understanding of people. You will learn that this advertising agency applies science to lights, cameras and plenty of action.  Plus, we look inside Cuba, marriage, and the dynamics of family business.  It is tough stuff.

Zubi Advertising is the largest privately-held, full-service Hispanic agency in the U.S. with offices in Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Antonio and over 100 employees.   Their work is to champion and empower other people's dreams. And, Tere Zubizarreta did it in rather extraordinary ways. Tere will always be remembered for trying to give the credit for her work to someone else.

Go to all the Key Ideas & Video...
Go to all the homepage for this episode...

Zubi Advertising

Joe Zubizaretta, CEO

355 Alhambra Cir., 10th Fl.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Visit our web site:

Office: 305-448-9824

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1976

Be The Source Not The Supplier

TERESA: We consider the clients our partners, because if not, then we only become--we're only a supplier and not a source.

HATTIE: And that's crucial.


HATTIE: OK. Do you want to stop there a minute? What's the difference between a supplier and a source?

TERESA: A supplier is somebody that you subcontract to do something for you based on the instructions that you give them. A source is somebody that partners with you, takes a particular problem or a particular situation and jointly tries to come up with a strategy to solve it. That's where the agency comes in. We sell ideas. We deal with getting your mind-set changed to buy a product or use a service that you hadn't thought of doing before.

So you need--more than textbook knowledge, you need to have that inner feeling, emotion, that you know what your customer needs and you know how to talk to him. But there have been clients where I have no chemistry, and I walk away from it.: Because I'm very perceptive of body language. I rely extremely on the way that people shake hands. And I rely extremely on the way that, when I meet somebody, do they look at me or do they shift their eyes?That person has nothing to do with me.

HATTIE: OK. So if we shake hands right're going to be able to tell something about me.


HATTIE: OK. OK. So let's just pretend I just met you. And, Tere, I'm Hattie Bryant.


HATTIE: I'm really thrilled to be in your building. In fact, we drove up, we loved the colors. We love the palm trees. OK, so what did you find from my handshake?

TERESA: First of all, you have a strong handshake, which means that you mean it. : Secondly, you always looked at me in the eye while we were shaking hands. Now let me show you how I don't--the person that I don't want to do business with.

HATTIE: OK. All right.

TERESA: Good to meet you. No, just let go.People will go, `Good to meet you,' and they take it away.

HATTIE: Oh, without shaking. OK. So if they don't want to have any of this physical contact--if they're afraid of that ..then you're saying, `This is not going to be a potential client for me.'

TERESA: It cannot be. Yep. And it's worked. And it also works in hiring people. : Because again, you know, we are like a big family. And we are--because we're a small business--even though we have grown, we're still a small business. And so we're like one big family, and we have to fight together and cheer together and rejoice and cry together. And so if the person does not show me this commitment to Zubi....because the first thing I tell somebody who's going to work for us is, `You work with me, not for me. I am the coach. You are part of the team. I am but one person. This is Zubi. Everything that you see here is Zubi. I am only the leader, the coach, because I founded it, because of the experience, but everybody is entitled to my own opinion as long as I agree with their opinion.'

HATTIE: Give us some tips. How do you best manage this generation X group?

JOE: Flexiblity is the key to today’s younger work force. You have to understand that priorities these days are more self-fulling goals than corporate goals. In a company of our size with 60 people you know everybody by name . Y ou know their kids and you know their hubands and wives. If somebody is sick or traveling for two days in a row, you cut them a break and understand there are other things in life other than being here. The agency business is not a 9-5 business. We will work ' til midnight and come in at 10 in the morning. Most of our creative department doesn't work on standard office hours. All we ask is we adjust ourselves to the time tables of our clients.

Not a member yet? Learn!  Be empowered! Join us!