Stand Out From Other Buyers in Your China Sourcing

  • A few techniques to stand out from other buyers and gain the supplier's eyes and ears.

You know your supplier has other buyers, right? It’s true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s also true that you don’t have to be the biggest and most important buyer to get favored treatment from a China supplier. 

  • During busy times or holiday seasons, there are other buyers that take your supplier’s priorities and resources? Why have they not answered you? They’re handling other buyers.
  • Also, WHY should the supplier prioritize you over their other customers?  After all, there’s only 24 hours in a day.
  • You see, your competition is not just people in your industry, but it can also be people who work with the same supplier. Here’s a few ways to stand out from other buyers.

    Straight forward to quote / straightforward to handle:

    If your RFQ is straightforward and something that is in your supplier’s wheelhouse, they’re more willing to jump on.

    This could be less customization, less requirements and something the supplier already handles.

    Clarity and you have your specs together:

    Perhaps you’re not quoting something already existing and some development and customization are involved. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re prioritized to the bottom of the pile. Especially if you incorporate a few techniques:

  • Don’t let the supplier think you’re asking them to work for free. Show business is possible.
  • Have your specs together. Clarity should be the rule of the RFQ. Everything compact, concise and all evidence is there for your factory to consider.
  • Recognition that you are doing some development and customization and you’re requesting the factory to grant you some extra thought and apply their expertise.
  • On-time payment:

    You may not be the biggest buyer and you may not frequently order, but a buyer that pays on time, is a buyer that gets the factory’s attention.

    A buyer that is ready to make a deposit, has a bit more of the supplier’s ear.

    A buyer that is faithful with their balance payments is a buyer that suppliers are ready to work with again.

    Of course no payment action should take precedence over quality assurance.

    To stand out from other buyers may take persistence:

    It seems one reason that buyers do not follow-up more, especially highfalutin buyers is based on…pride.

    They think, “I’m the buyer, I shouldn’t ask for updates…this info should come to me on a silver platter.”

    Yes, the info SHOULD come to you. But SHOULD and reality are not always intersecting on the highway of China business.

    You may have to swallow your pride and ask for updates. You may have put down the smart phone and sit down at an actual laptop or desktop and compose and email asking thoughtful questions.

    I didn’t include “persistence” but go ahead and toss it in to your tool kit, buyers:

    7 Soft Skills Needed for Sourcing China Suppliers

    China really has a way of humbling a person. Don’t think of yourself as having to beg for information that should be provided you. Think of it more along the lines of managing your overseas production staff.

    Has a better ring to it, right?

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    • Nice post, Jacob.

      Yes, it is surprising how people don’t realize that we have to actually ‘sell’ to the factory we wish to work with. The factories (like most businesses) cherry pick the nicest and most profitable clients — so we need to show them we’re in this category.

      Here’s a small gesture of appreciation we recently did: we bought Starbucks gift cards to over a dozen of our contacts at the various factories and logistics companies we work with. We then handwritten a personal note to each (‘thank you for being such a great partner.. wish you a warm and sweet spring season..’), and we posted each in an envelop to each person.

      We got responses that ‘it’s the best gift ever’ and that ‘nobody ever did something like that for them’.. 🙂

      Here’s the essence of it — care about your China partner (factories, etc.), think about what it’s like to be in their shoes, appreciate their hard work and efforts, understand that they have years long background different from your culture which affect their decision making, and, most important, any time you have a chance show them you care about them personally, and show them you appreciate what they do — with words, and also with your actions.

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