I recently received this email from someone planning on going to a show this fall and I thought that it would be a good blog since I get multiple similar requests each year about this time.
I read your piece on “It’s just a little bit more. They can afford it, right?” I enjoyed your straight- forward opinion.
It also made me aware to be “cautious” when attending the China Sourcing fair in November. It is my first time I am attending, seeking business opportunities. With the economic struggles we still feel the pain as we are small fish here.
My question to you here is: could you give me any suggestions on what questions to ask the suppliers and what to look out for? Also what products do you suggest I should look at for our market here.
Anything else you think I will need to know?
Thank-you for your input and help in this regard.
Thanks for your email questions. Yes, there is a lot that you’ll need to ask suppliers to make sure that they are both who they claim to be and are appropriate fit for you.
First questions to ask the suppliers at the show.
Second, questions that you need to ask to understand if they are right for you. You need to realize that just because you find a great factory that doesn’t mean that it’s a great fit for you and your project. You need to realize that if you’re too big/too demanding/too advanced or if you’re too small for them you’ll not get the service that you really want or need.
Third, questions you’ll need to ask when you visit them. I would never advise anyone buying from China to pay cash to a factory that they hadn’t personally visited. You need to confirm everything that they’ve told you at the show–remember, it’s a tradeSHOW (emphasis on SHOW). Who they really are and what they really can do may be very different from what you see in the booth at the show venue.
Fourth, There are then things you’ll want to confirm before you place an order (even for samples).
"Finally, let me share with you some things that you need to do yourself. I know that I regularly bash on factories that are not honest about what they can do, but I’ve had just as many bad experiences (and lost more money with) Western clients that didn’t keep their end of the deal. So realize that even though you should rightly be worried about the supplier you’ll potentially be working with, you too have a MAJOR responsibility to be both wise (don’t pay without doing QC) and honest (keep you contracted agreements too).