Having bad Chinese suppliers is a lot of headache. This video will show you exactly how to transform your supplier relationship with 4 Agreements.
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Welcome to the GoodLife Warrior podcast. I’m Yuping. We make sourcing easy, fun, and profitable for your business. This episode was originally aired as a video on my YouTube channel, youtube.com/goodlifewarrior. As always, high-quality, professional sourcing content delivered to you with passion and my unique Chinese accent. Enjoy.
Don Miguel Ruiz. He believes that every human being is an artist. So he wrote a little book called The Four Agreements. This little handbook has become a practical guide for so many people, including myself, to gain personal freedom. Today, we’re going to apply The Four Agreements to sourcing to help you transform your communication with your supplier. If you apply these principles, I can guarantee you, you are going to get a better relationship with your supplier, and in turn, you are going to make more profit for your business. Let’s get started.
Good day, old and new friends. Thank you for tuning in. If you are new to this podcast, be sure to check out the description. There are a lot of free resources for you to download. My name is Yuping. I’m here to provide you with the best sourcing knowledge. So let’s talk about The Four Agreements and how we’re going to apply to sourcing agreement number one, be impeccable with your word. So what does it mean, “Be impeccable with your word“.
When I first read this book, I didn’t even understand the word impeccable? What does it mean? English is my second language. So I have to look it up in the dictionary. Impeccable means are flawless. For example, if you’re picking up your friend, say, it’s your girlfriend, she looks beautiful. You can complement her by saying, you look impeccable.
Now why Don Miguel is making it the first agreement, “Be impeccable with your word,” word is the most powerful weapon as humans can use to express themselves and influence others. Just like your girlfriend, when she dressed up impeccably, she will make an impact on you. When you choose your word impeccably, you can activate the magic and the power within that word to influence your suppliers. Let’s take a look at an example in sourcing. I have a Korean supplier. The contact person is Martin. Recently. I asked Martin to send me 60 blue mesh and 10 black mesh so we can launch the new product. We have struggled through this product development process, finally decided on the mesh color. This is the last piece to be installed on the new product so we can launch the product on time. Everything is dependent on Martin’s mesh to arrive on time. After two weeks, we finally got the DHL delivery.
Guess what? We got 60 black mesh instead of 10 and 10 blue mesh instead of 60. He completely messes up the color quantity and sent me the wrong mesh. Now the project has to be delayed further because of this mistake and I have to communicate back to Martin to see what he can do to correct this mistake. Martin, you made a mistake. You need to send me additional 50 blue colors ASAP. You are delaying our product launch. Sound familiar? Normally most of us will respond to a supplier when we have a challenging situation, reply to the supplier with intense energy, point out their mistake, and demand they do something right now. I did it myself many times. So let’s apply Don Miguel’s first agreement, be impeccable with the word, and see how we can maybe send a different email so we can actually activate the power within our words.
Alternatively, maybe we can say, “Martin, we got a big problem now. Maybe your shipping department made a mistake. Do you have an additional 50 blue mesh? If you don’t, can you work with your production department and make 50 today? I know this is going to mess up their schedule big time, but you need to pull your magic on them and make it happen because we cannot afford to delay the product launch. You are the only one who can save the situation and we appreciate you. We’ll make it happen. Please send me the tracking number after you send t?he 50 blue mesh out today.” In the real business world, it is really hard to define what is impeccable. I used the three things to guide me to be more impeccable with my own word.
When I deal with the suppliers, the first one is, am I clear? When I ask the supplier to send me something ASAP, it is not as clear as “I want you to send me today” or “by next Wednesday.” Number two is, am I communicating in a compassionate tone or in an accusing tone? So I try to catch myself when I send a message to the suppliers. The third one is, am I demonstrating constructive leadership? Do I act like this is not my problem? “Your mistake, you fix it.” Or, do I give constructive ideas, suggestions, and help them understand the urgency and jump through hoops to solve the problem?
Moving onto the second agreement. Don’t take anything personally.
Out of all four agreements, my friend, this one made the most impact on me and I gained the most freedom out of learning Don Miguel’s four agreements. For example, if two strangers are talking to me, one told me, “Yuping, you are fat and stupid,” and the other one said, “You are sexy and smart,” my first reaction to the first comment is, “You are mean. You hurt my feelings.” And then the other one would be, “Oh, you make me feel so good.” You know what? If we take either one of the comment personally, we immediately let ourself be trapped in their words. We give away our power to someone else’s opinion or perception or judgment. In real life, it is really hard to when we have to deal with a rude, offensive situation. But I got to tell you, I managed to walk away many times when people are rude or offensive. I walk away with a smile. And I feel so much freedom because when people are so rude or mean, this is their poison, their word is their own poison they’re trying to use to hurt us. We don’t want you to take their poison and hurt ourselves.
So let’s take a look at an example in sourcing, how we’re going to apply this agreement. Most of our suppliers will try not to offend us, but they could have frustrated the hell out of us. If they ignore us or not answering questions right? Once I tried to reach out to an Alibaba supplier. First, he responded, and then when I asked him many questions, he started to ignore me. After several follow-ups, I got a little upset, but before I let myself to get too frustrated, I remind myself, don’t take anything personally. So I decided to write to Mr. Supplier a truth message. Here’s what I said. Mr. Eric, after several emails, I have not received any response. For whatever reason, you are not able to respond. I can only tell you from a customer’s perspective, you do not care. If you do not care, you don’t deserve to be in the sales position to service your customer. Your company’s business is going to suffer because of your poor customer service. I’ll try to reach out to your manager and express my concern. At the same time, I will be happy to take my business somewhere else. Guess what? Right after this email, he apologized right away, but that’s not the point.
Moving on to the third agreement. Don’t make any assumptions.
This is a good one. Let’s go straight to sourcing. Never assume that the supplier will do what you think that they should do. There will be a gap and you have to face that reality. For example, you have very detailed instructions and a specification instructing your supplier what to do in terms of product quality, but you cannot assume they will deliver to your specs. So you have to arrange an inspection before you make the down payment. Just because the supplier quotes you a DDP price, Delivery Duty Paid, everything all-inclusive, you shouldn’t assume that you don’t have to come up with additional money when the product is at the custom.
A lot of times people have to come up with additional money to pay for the tax and duty because the DDP quote is not a true DDP. There are so many details in the sourcing process that you will have to pay attention and you really shouldn’t make any assumptions in any given situation. The word advice that I can give to you when dealing with the overseas suppliers is respect, but never trust.
The fourth agreement: Always do your best.
This sounds like an empty promise we can make to ourselves, “Oh, okay. I’ll do my best.” Do you know what I learned? In order to harness the power of this agreement, I try to make it a mental habit. Always do my best. For example, in the Facebook group or in the training course, when I answer students’ questions, I always give very thorough, very detailed answers. It takes time to type up the answers and try to think of all the angles to help them solve the situation. But I remind myself if I practice, I always do my best in every little thing. Then collectively I will be the best in doing what I do.
In sourcing when you try to deal with the suppliers, I suggest you make the fourth agreement to become your mental habit. For example, when you are finalizing your quote, when you are trying to select the supplier, when you’re writing up your purchase order to your supplier, challenge yourself, is this the best quote I can get? What about an additional discount? What about a warranty? Is this the best supplier? Did I forget to ask them some questions? What about this purchase order? Is that going to protect me? What’s the worst-case scenario? So pay attention to the details. Be aware that you need to always do your best. A lot of people try to rush through the process, half-ass on some steps. What? These people are trying to cheat. This is their money, and this is your money. You need to make money by doing your best.
There you have Don Miguel’s four agreements. Be impeccable with your word, never take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. I told you that number two made the most impact on me and helped me so much in many situations. Don’t take anything personally. And I continue to practice on the number four, always do my best. I hope this video helped you to apply one or two or all four agreements to your business so you’ll become the beautiful and the powerful one. Comment in the video and let me know which agreement that you are going to apply and which one is going to make the most impact on you. I look forward to seeing you in the next video. Have a beautiful day.
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