Sunday, February 8, 2009

The value of the relationship

Long-term relationships between print buyer and supplier have both good and bad aspects. Generally, the benefit is to the seller rather than the buyer, which is why long-term relationship building is worth the investment in time and energy. With a long-term relationship buyers lose their objectivity – personal and emotional factors can overwhelm objective decision-making. Also, as print buyers become dependent on the seller’s systems, they are less likely to seriously look at competitive offerings for fear of steep learning curves and/or compatibility with legacy work. Competing sellers find it harder and harder to effectively penetrate the print buyer’s organization and decision making structure and therefore they end up making fewer calls to buyers who they feel – rightly or wrongly – are “locked-in” to steady vendors. Buyers also become lethargic, waiting until the last minute to submit increasingly less specific requests for quotes based on the assumption that their printer intuitively knows what they really want. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for competing printers to respond with an effective, competitive proposal.

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