Too often, when attempting to gather quotes and establish new supplier relationships, potential customers just flip an email through cyberspace without establishing any real connection.
In China sourcing, do not take for granted that your supplier knows your company and is eager to work on your behalf.
Just like you are “feeling out” your supplier, suppliers also “feel out” their customers.
Whereas, communication is the cornerstone of successful importing; here is a novel idea….
During the initial quote request, introduce yourself to new suppliers.
Don’t just send a simple email paragraph (although that is better than nothing!).
Try these 5 ways too…
Website and Relevant Explanation
Suppliers are busy and may not take time to research your website. Many clients email vendors from personal accounts or do not have details on their email signature. Suppliers are not necessarily ones to stop and do research on your background.
Send your website link to vendors AND also explain key points of interest concerning your company.
Instead of expecting the supplier to read your website word-for-word, go 1-step further, and give key detail in the body of the email that would interest your China supplier.
-Years in business.
-Brands you serve.
-Dollar value in imports (if a large number, this will encourage good service from the supplier).
-A brief history on your company.
If your website is boring or too comprehensive or not related to your China imports, send a PDF introduction to establish new supplier relationships.
Include the details listed above, but include some other China-import specific comments:
-What you particularly import from China.
-How long you have worked with China (this will let the supplier know you are experienced).
When asking a Chinese supplier to quote and to extend service, what information do you think helps in procuring favored pricing and service?
Brainstorm information that reflects your company’s image and integrity as shown to supply side.
Integrity is not just for buyer side but should extend throughout the supply chain, right?
Images of your merchandise
Send display images of your previous, relevant manufacturing.
This gives your supplier a picture of your China work history and as a bonus indication of your quality.
Images can speak louder than words when establishing new supplier relationships in China.
Provide technical mockups of your previous work. This is a chance to ask the supplier if they are confident they can provide such quality.
Ask the supplier to reciprocate by showing their own work.
Images of the merchandise in the public
This could be another website where your product is being sold; images of the item being used by the public.
Even a Youtube video or some kind of media showing the item. If you are manufacturing event and promotional product merchandise; imagine sending your vendor an image of the fan items in the stadium being waved?
This kind of insight, gives the supplier a sense of confidence and even pride to see their product in the market.
This gives the supplier a clearer understanding of the product’s “life-after-manufacturing”.
Initial, consistent communication pre-RFQ time
Before you even contact the supplier for a quote request (RFQ), contact the supplier at various times. Not super long emails, but small informative touches on a consistent basis.
Each touch could be sending bits of what’s mentioned above.
When it comes time to quote, the supplier has a point of reference.
They’ve been waiting on you and are not starting out cold.
Implementing initial, consistent communication, can actually help your first quotes be more accurate. For example, since many customers skip any kind of introduction phase, the suppliers use the initial quote more as a “feeling out” process to see if you, as a buyer, are serious. The problem is, those “feeling out” quotes are usually inaccurate and operations in futility.
Remember, the more detail you give your vendor, the better.
Consider it like this. If a company, from overseas, just flipped you an email, would you get to scrambling or are there other aspects you’d like to first know?
Other pieces of info that would make you feel like your time is well spent?
You want to provide key detail and evidence that says, this is potential business, we are not just fishing for fun but hoping to establish new supplier relationships.
Be a fruitful customer.