Three negotiation strategies that stop print buyers landing in trouble

Print buyers have an easy job at the moment.  All they need to do is to push on price and the printer will give way.  And if a print company doesn’t do this it’s no problem.  All the buyer has to do is to find another printing company.

But sometimes this strategy can land a print buyer in trouble

Printer client argument

The wrong negotiation agreement can cause a printer and their client to split

I came across this when I was researching The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook.  There was a much talked about incident in the UK.  In this instance a print company chose to walk away from a client.  The client had pushed and pushed.  And the printing company could take no more.  So they got up and walked away from the table.

The print work involved was a major magazine contract.  So the print buyer was forced to have to find a new solution.  And they had to do that quickly.  They had to spend a lot of time sorting out a new agreement.  And they had to change their financial forecasts.

If only the print buyer had created a win-win situation they would have saved themselves a lot of trouble.

Print buyers who create win-win negotiations create better agreements

They create agreements that are long lasting.  They create agreements which cost less in terms of effort to run.  And they create partnerships with their printers.  They also keep control over their budgets.  And achieve their print buying goals.

Print buyers who do not practise win-win negotiation fail to achieve their print buying goals.  Sometimes it seems that they have no control over their print suppliers.  This is because they do not create partnerships.  And they do not create long-lasting agreements.

Here are three negotiation strategies that will create long-lasting agreements.  They will be worthwhile for both buyer and supplier.  And buyers who practise these strategies will find that they have an easier job in negotiating.

So what’s the first strategy?

Set flexible goals

Many print buyers think they can negotiate on price alone.  But if a printer puts their foot down, this can leave a print buyer in big trouble.  They are left with nowhere to go.  They have to back down or walk away from the table.

Print buyers who set flexible goals will find their job much easier.  I use a goal setting system called NICE.  And you can find out more about it in the Print Industry Negotiation Handbook.

But flexible goals are not the only strategy that needs to be used to negotiate effectively.  And my next strategy will also save the print buyer a lot of time.

Use Pareto agreement

Pareto agreement applies the 80-20 rule.  This states that you achieve 80% of a job in 20% of the time.

Many print buyers try to achieve 100% results from a negotiation.  But this means that they can spend a long, long time negotiating over tiny details.  Often this just creates frustration and bad feeling on both sides.

And all the time the buyer could have achieved more.  All they had to do was finish the negotiation and move on to the next one more quickly.

And sometimes the next negotiation opportunity is where you’re least expecting it.  It’s not in a new negotiation.

Look for opportunities to improve current agreements

Sometimes great negotiations can happen because both sides revisit a negotiation.  Here’s an example.

A printer was working with a client of mine on the production of voucher booklets. As they monitored and reviewed the agreement they were able to get to know the client much better. And they began to realise just how much other work could be available to them.

The client was open with them about the other work that they placed. This included a lot of direct mail. The printer went away and came up with a new proposal for the client. If the client placed direct mail work with them, the printer could reduce postal rates. This was possible because the total volume of mail became interesting to a different postal provider.

So the printer gained more work. And the client benefitted from reduced postal rates.  It’s a great example of how win-win negotiation benefitted both the print buyer and the printing company.

Here are action points to help you on the way to win-win negotiation

  • Work out some other issues on which you negotiate, apart from price.
  • Review how much time you spend on each negotiation.  Do you have opportunities to make your print negotiations shorter?
  • Look at you current print agreements.  Are there any opportunities to go back to the table with any of them?
  • Read up about negotiation.  Invest in a copy of The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook.  It’s a great place to find out more about negotiation skills that are really relevant to the print industry.

Do you want to risk your printer walking away from you?

Of course you don’t!  So make sure you put these strategies into action.  That way you’ll achieve win-win negotiation.

P.S. Make sure you invest in The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook.  It’s a great place to find out more about negotiation skills that are really relevant to the print industry.  And, right now, there’s a special launch price.  But this is only for a limited time.  So make sure you purchase your copy right now.

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