Make them tell! This episode is to give you some insider’s tip on how to spot a bad or a good supplier with 3 “simple” questions.
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How are you today? I hope your day is going well. I want you to sit back and relax because this is a fun episode of sizing them up.
What we’re going to do is to ask very casual questions to quickly size up your supplier’s sales rep, the supplier themself and the trading companies. So you don’t waste too much time engaging with them and talking to them and then later find out that they are not a good supplier. This is not like inventory planning training videos. Is so serious. It’s all about cash. This series is going to be fun. So, sit back and relax. Let’s get started.
Okay. Let’s begin by sizing up the supplier sales rep. The sales rep on the supplier side, most likely it’s going to be your one and only, the single point of connection between you and your supplier because nobody else within that company is going to speak English to you. The sales reps communication skill, their attention to detail, their product knowledge, it’s going to make it easier or more difficult for you.
As an entrepreneur, you’re starting out to build the business. To deal with a sloppy sales rep is such a headache. And in the long term, you know what? They’re going to become your indirect employee. You have to manage them. So, right off the bat, right after you get the initial RFQ before you even officially qualified the supplier, let’s size up this sales rep and find out if it’s a good one. Let’s ask her some casual questions.
You can ask as many questions as you want to, but we don’t want it to sound like we are investigating. So, here are the first three questions I would like you to ask. The first question is, “I am so excited to work with you. How long have you worked for this company?”
The reason you’re wanting to ask this question is not that you care about their employment stability. You’re wanting to ask this question because you want to know if they have any good product knowledge. The longer they have been working for the same company, the more product knowledge they have.
If you give them your competitor’s product image, they can tell you whether they made it or not. They have seen a lot of different ways to try to customize this product. If you have some ideas, you ask your salesperson, they can probably tell you what works, what doesn’t. So, their degree of product knowledge is tied to the number of years they have worked for this company. The longer they have worked for the same company, the more knowledge they have accumulated over the years.
Because of this, sometimes you can even overlook some of the areas you’re not that happy. Like their English skill is just not that good. It’s broken English. But so what? If they have such a deep knowledge of the product, they have worked there for so many years, they can help you launch your product. That is the most important result you want.
So, what is the threshold in terms of the number of years we prefer the sales rep to have worked for this company? I think two years. Anything less than that, she’s still learning. So when I ask the sales rep, “How long you have worked for this company?” If I hear, “Oh, I have worked here for six months, a year or even two years,” I just feel like, “Oh boy. She’s still learning. I have to pay for the tuition. I have to babysit with her. Not good.”
But if I hear someone worked there, “Oh, three years, or four years, or five years,” I am excited. Because not only they have the product knowledge, the person who worked for a company for many years has a certain degree of power and authority that will make the negotiation faster and make communication much more efficient. You got the point, right? So from the very beginning, how long you have worked for this company.
But this is one episode of these sizing them up video series. If you’re not training with me, I encourage you to sign up so you can log in right now to watch the other episode. I got some tricky questions to size up the supplier and find out quickly if they are a trading company.
You’re going to spend thousands of dollars on your sourcing. I’m committed to giving you the most practical knowledge so you can learn a lifetime skill to build a business, save money, and be successful at it. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for spending time with me today. Until next time, I’ll see you soon.
Check out the link, the Sourcing Warrior Mastermind link, undertake Sourcing Warrior’s quiz to find out your sourcing IQ. Make it fun, learn something, have a great day. I’ll see you in the next episode.