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Stylistic tips for your promo product RFQ – Part 2

By Li Zhang

In your promo product sourcing; the more professional the RFQ, you increase the likelihood of a professional price quote from your Chinese vendors.

Successful promo product campaigns start with a professional RFQ. In China sourcing, if the RFQ lacks, it’s no surprise that the vendor’s price quote also lacks. Initial low effort sets the project on the WRONG path. From the beginning, work to optimize your promo product RFQ.

If you haven’t read part I to this line of think, see here:

Things to Include in Your Promotional Product RFQ – Part 1


Make your promo product RFQ stand out

Your supplier gets quite a few inquiries. Give the RFQ an appropriate and relative subject line.

If it’s your first time contacting the supplier, you may want the email subject to say something like:

Embroidered Caps Quote Request – Your Company Name

Make the email stand out in the vendor’s inbox!

Don’t leave the same subject that your end-buyer chose, which is something that’s usually only internally relevant.

Suppliers are notorious for losing emails and not being tidy in their own inboxes.

Choose subject lines that alert the receiver to what’s in that email and that stand out from the myriad of other emails the supplier receives.


Compose a professional RFQ

If the RFQ is not professionally composed, what are the chances to expect a professional quote from your vendor? You know the ol’ saying; what goes in is what comes out.

Many buyers just forward their own original quote request from their buyer to their Chinese vendor.

This is a bit on the lazy side.

The way that you and your end buyer speak to one another about the project, most likely shouldn’t be the same way you communicate to your Chinese supplier.

Organize and simplify the quote for your China vendor to comprehend and action as easy as possible.

In sending a promo product RFQ, you’ll have key points spotlighted, simplified but professional English and spec-oriented comments.

You want your vendor to be glad to receive your RFQ, motivated to work on your behalf and most importantly motivated to provide accurate and thorough service.


When you’d like to receive the quote by

Yes, we all know that everything is “needed yesterday”. Use asap sparingly but still let your vendor know your timing parameters.

If you’re sending a quote on Monday, a simply sentence such as:

I will need this quotation by my Wednesday morning, which is your Wednesday evening. Please confirm if this is possible.

If you’re sending a campaign to a vendor, that includes multiple references (which is frequent in the promo product industry), it’s not very realistic or professional to send an RFQ that has 7 items and ask to quote tomorrow.

Give a reasonable leeway. Provide vendors with reasonable leeway, then when something really is next day / asap, they’re more likely to put it into high gear. You build a reputation on not being a client that cries wolf.

A rushed quote from your vendor is going to be riddled with errors.

These may seem like all insignificant points, but when considered from the broad spectrum, you’ll see how all parts fit to compose a seamless inquiry.

In the world of promo product importing, time is ALWAYS of the essence and you don’t have a moment to spare.

There will be enough email and cultural confusion when dealing offshore and with China.

Don’t add to it by a lack of thoroughness.

Stay tuned for the next installment of this series of the promo product RFQ.

Li Zhang has worked in international manufacturing and exporting since 2003. She has served global brands such as Bayer, Coca Cola and Warner Bros. Her background is in design and engineering. Li is a native of Jiangsu Province and currently finds herself back and forth between Suzhou, China and the USA. Contact Li at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or find her penning manufacturing thoughts at her blog

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