Three reasons why you should be nice to your print suppliers

Setting up my own company was an exciting time.  It was my chance to put my dreams into practice.  Every day brought developments: new logos, new strategies and new clients.

But I had to be prepared for some crushing disappointments too.

The worst of these was the way that some suppliers treated me.  I had been in charge of a multi-million print spend.  Now I had no such print budget.  Some printers (including some I had thought good friends) suddenly didn’t want to know me.  If I had no work, they were not interested.

However, some suppliers really went out of their way to help me.  They encouraged and supported me in my new venture.

I was very grateful that these suppliers supported me.  Buyers should remember that the same holds true for suppliers:  they are grateful when their customers support them.

Buyers should go out of their way to be nice to their suppliers

Giving suppliers champagne has suprisingly beneficial side effects

Giving suppliers champagne has suprisingly beneficial side effects

Buyers who go out of their way to look after their suppliers will build better partnerships.  They will have suppliers who really value them as a customer.  That makes it much easier to control your projects.  Suppliers will make the extra effort to make sure things go right for you.  You end up achieving what you need to.

Buyers who treat their suppliers purely as production factories will find it harder to achieve what they want.  Their suppliers will not feel the same sense of loyalty.  So if things go wrong it may be difficult to stay in control of a project.  You won’t have that supplier partnership.

Here are three reasons why you should focus on building this partnership.  They show why you should go out of your way to be nice to your supplier.

Suppliers will want to work with you

It goes without saying that in the current market all print suppliers want to work with their customers.  However, that level of want can vary.  It is one thing to want to keep a press full.  It is quite another to have a genuine enthusiasm to be involved with a project.

Printers who have that genuine enthusiasm often have an active role at the planning stage.  No matter how experienced a buyer is, an engaged supplier will often bring new ideas to the table.  These can make a significant difference to the execution and results of a print project.

Print companies may also help you in other ways.

You bring the law of reciprocity into play

This may sound like a very complicated process.  But it simply means “what goes around comes around”.  If you treat you suppliers in the right way, they will treat you in the right way.  They often feel obligated to do this.

So if you go out of your way to be nice to them, they will go out of their way to be nice to you.

This also can help your own profile.

You build your personal reputation

This may seem like a self-serving thing to do.  Should you really care about your reputation?

Print companies often discuss clients.  It can be very useful to have a good reputation if you are speaking to a new supplier.  It can even make a difference to the price.

Here’s how being nice to suppliers worked for me

A while ago I sent a bottle of champagne to some of my best suppliers.  The bottle was sent to someone who was involved in actually getting our work done.  So I focused on account executives, paper controllers, schedulers and despatch departments.  Along with the champagne, a letter was sent thanking them for their work.

The response from this was phenomenal.  The goodwill generated by this gesture lasted for months.  The people involved couldn’t do enough for us.

Some told me that the champagne didn’t really matter (although it was much appreciated!).  It was the recognition that counted.

Here are three action points for you to take to recognise your supplier

  1. Pick a supplier you want to recognise
  2. Pick a specific person at that company
  3. Send them a thank you

I will write more in my next blog about how you can thank a supplier.

I have never forgotten those suppliers that supported me when I started my business

I go out of my way to try and help them.  I try and put work their way.  I send them introductions.  I am always ready to help them.

Buyers need suppliers like this.
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