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About Matthew

Many printing companies are frustrated how hard it is to engage buyers in today’s world. That’s where Matthew Parker can help. He is a gamekeeper turned poacher. Parker has bought print for more than 20 years and received over 1,400 print sales pitches. He now uses his buyer’s point of view to give practical advice to printers. He helps them engage with prospects and customers to create profitable relationships.

Download his free e-book, “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them

How the Seesaw Effect Can Kill Successful Customer Relationships


I was playing with my daughter in the Park recently. She likes to play on the seesaw. Unfortunately, on this occasion there were no other children for her to play with. Naturally, Daddy came to the rescue!

But things didn't quite work out as planned.

I'm far too heavy to be able to balance my daughter on the seesaw. She spent all her time high up in the air. I spent all my time near the ground.

Some printer client relationships can be like this too
Printers who establish balanced relationships will also achieve more powerful partnerships. This is because they will be respected by their customers rather than being treated as a commodity supplier.

Printers who fail to establish balanced relationships are likely to suffer problems. They will fail to achieve a true partnership with their customers. So their customers will see less value in the as a supplier. They are less likely to be loyal.

However, sometimes it's difficult to remember you have the right to a balanced relationship
Here's an exercise I run when I train clients. One group lists what a client should expect from a supplier. The other group lists what a supplier should expect from a client.

When the two lists are compared the results are usually very similar. It is a good way for print companies to remember that their clients have a duty to their suppliers.

Let’s look at this in a little bit more detail.

What happens if a client is too powerful?
If a client fails to practice a balanced relationship, they may cause themselves problems. In simple terms, the failure to communicate in an appropriate way can lead to costly mistakes.

In the worst case, a customer may alienate a supplier so much that they will no longer work for the customer.

However, a relationship that is unbalanced in the printer's favor can be just as dangerous.

What happens if the printer is too powerful?
A printer that feels they are in a strong place with the customer can abuse this privilege. They may find that situations change. They may find that their customer is eager to adopt a new solution that does not involve the printer.

It is important that both sides are valued in a supplier client relationship.

How do you make balanced relationships happen?
The best ways to create balanced relationships is to establish some form of service level agreement. Many people are worried that this involves a long, legal-style document. However, a way of working document can be just as effective.

A way of working document need be no more than a single sheet of A4 paper. It simply outlines the supplier's and the client's responsibilities in plain English.

What should you do next?
Here are three quick action points for you:

  • Carry out the exercise that I outlined earlier in this article. You may be surprised at the effect it has on your team.
  • Highlight any ways in which you feel that your team is giving away too much to customers.
  • Draft a way of working document and start distributing it to your customers.

Do you ever feel like I did on the seesaw?
You will find that these action points will help you get things more balanced.

P.S. Download Matthew’s free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them” at

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