You get an exciting product idea and you need a supplier to produce the product! Thanks all the hacks you learned in the Alibaba Sourcing Hacks video, you found at least 10 direct factories. All you need to ask them give you a quote.
Getting quotes is one the most exciting moments in sourcing. The beginning of your dream becoming reality. Before you send your message to the suppliers though, tell me what you are going to say.
I am Yuping Wang. I have been sourcing for 20 years. In this blog I am going to point out 4 mistakes most beginners make when they send the first message to the suppliers.
Mistake # 1: The Decision Maker
Whether you call yourself the Owner, the CEO, the President… they mean the same thing: you are the decision maker.
For once, being a decision maker works against you.
In 20 years, I have not seen one decent-sized company, even if there are only 5 people working in the office, the CEO himself contacts the supplier for a quote.
It sounds powerful to say that you are the CEO. But that title only has power to you. To the supplier, they can immediately sense that you are a small business, more accurately, a one-person game.
You are the CEO, true. But you are only doing this sourcing job, temporarily. So, do yourself a favor, call yourself a buyer; a senior buyer if it makes you feel better.
A lower position, such as a Buyer, helps create an illusion of your company structure. And, when you get stuck with your negotiations, you can always fall back on your “CEO” and use him as your leverage.
Mistake # 2: Don’t Know How to Ask For “Breaks”
In sourcing, it is impossible to talk about price without talking about the quantity. Price goes down when quantity goes up.
At each point where price goes down, it is the “price break”, driven by the “quantity break”.
Most beginners don’t know how to ask for the “price break”. Since you didn’t ask, the supplier will quote you a blanket price, which means even if your quantity goes up, you will still pay for the same price.
Wow, profits left on the table before you even started.
How do you ask for “Price Break” then?
I teach students in Sourcing Warrior’s Mastermind on how to set up the quantity breaks, correctly. Not too low, not too high.
For now, all you need to remember is to ask the supplier to quote you at different quantities so you can see the price differences.
Mistake # 3: Give Me A Quote for, “Anything”
You have an idea in your head of what your product looks like. When you ask for a quote, you need to download that idea into a list of specifications.
The best way to explain this is to use an example.
Imagine you want to sell the squeeze ball. You want your supplier to give you a quote for the squeeze ball.
- Wrong way to ask: “Can you give me a quote for the squeeze ball”?
- Correct way to ask: “Can you give me a quote for the squeeze ball in this size, at this density, in this color, with this material …”?
The more specific you are with your request for quote, the more accurate the quote comes back, the more accurate you can analyze your margin.
If you don’t have any of the information for specification, research, and Amazon, see your competitor’s product listing for specifications. Use it for your initial quote request.
Don’t ask for a quote for “Anything”; ask for a quote for this “Specific” thing.
Mistake # 4: Give Me A Quote On, “Any Day”
Request for quote without specifying a due date, not really a huge mistake, more of a reflection of you being new to sourcing.
Sourcing Agents and Sourcing Pros ask for quote with a specific due date. Company projects get deadlines; supplier quotes shall have a due date.
Beyond making you look more professional as a buyer, when you specify a due date for your request it serves three other purposes:
- One, it calls out your supplier’s attention to detail.
- Two, it could help eliminate some of the middlemen. The direct manufacturer should be able to respond to your quote within your due dates, but a middleman will have to run around and find your product first.
- Three, it helps you to organize your quotes so you can put a cutoff date to end the quote process and start to analyze quotes.
When dealing with the supplier, impression is money.
You shall avoid being perceived as a rookie buyer. If you sound like a rookie, you will get a rookie price.
The 4 Mistakes Amazon FBA sellers make that I pointed out are made by millions of beginners and cost them thousands of dollars that they don’t even know.