How do you negotiate with your printing suppliers?
Kia was looking for funny stories but ended up with a rather frustrated group of printers and print producers. Her take on the conversation was meant to be satirical, but satire can be offensive to some people. Satire is risky in that, if it makes you uncomfortable, there might be a smidgen of truth to the story.
I’m careful in printstories to try to relate stories that don’t offend. During my 30 years of printing there are many conversations that I’d rather not repeat. Sometimes the misinformation a novice brings to the table does make you want to smack your head against the wall. But that is actually an opportunity if you’re up for the challenge. And, there it is, sometimes as sales people we are not. We sometimes get tired of the people who are in positions where you think their knowledge base would allow them to at least spec a job. Lately, I’ve worked with designers who can’t even tell me how many pages are in their catalog. Or, a print buyer who comes to look at a job on press and states, “when will you people learn to print in RGB?”
As a seasoned rep, I ask questions to determine the production knowledge level of the person I’m working with. Long ago, I gave up believing in the title of the person. I just can’t trust those words. I need to know going into a negotiation how much of my time and effort is required to work on a project with this person and the level of difficulty in the job itself.
The art of negotiating? It is, at its best, when the buyer and the seller respect each other and have empathy for each person’s position. Management is putting pressure on the buyer to bring in the best price. The seller is trying to make a fair living and a fair profit to stay in business. The problems in negotiating occur when respect or empathy are missing…on either side of that table.