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Stand out from other buyers in your China sourcing

By Jacob Yount

A few techniques to stand out from other buyers and gain the supplier's eyes and ears.

You know your supplier has other buyers, right? It’s true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s also true that you don’t have to be the biggest and most important buyer to get favored treatment from a China supplier.

• During busy times or holiday seasons, there are other buyers that take your supplier’s priorities and resources? Why have they not answered you? They’re handling other buyers.

• Also, WHY should the supplier prioritize you over their other customers?  After all, there’s only 24 hours in a day.

You see, your competition is not just people in your industry, but it can also be people who work with the same supplier. Here’s a few ways to stand out from other buyers.


Straight forward to quote / straightforward to handle:

If your RFQ is straightforward and something that is in your supplier’s wheelhouse, they’re more willing to jump on.

This could be less customization, less requirements and something the supplier already handles.


Clarity and you have your specs together:

Perhaps you’re not quoting something already existing and some development and customization are involved. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re prioritized to the bottom of the pile. Especially if you incorporate a few techniques:

• Don’t let the supplier think you’re asking them to work for free. Show business is possible.

• Have your specs together. Clarity should be the rule of the RFQ. Everything compact, concise and all evidence is there for your factory to consider.

• Recognition that you are doing some development and customization and you’re requesting the factory to grant you some extra thought and apply their expertise.


On-time payment:

You may not be the biggest buyer and you may not frequently order, but a buyer that pays on time, is a buyer that gets the factory’s attention.

A buyer that is ready to make a deposit, has a bit more of the supplier’s ear.

A buyer that is faithful with their balance payments is a buyer that suppliers are ready to work with again.

Of course no payment action should take precedence over quality assurance.


To stand out from other buyers may take persistence:

It seems one reason that buyers do not follow-up more, especially highfalutin buyers is based on…pride.

They think, “I’m the buyer, I shouldn’t ask for updates…this info should come to me on a silver platter.”

Yes, the info SHOULD come to you.

But SHOULD and reality are not always

intersecting on the highway of China business.

You may have to swallow your pride and ask for updates. You may have put down the smart phone and sit down at an actual laptop or desktop and compose and email asking thoughtful questions.

I didn’t include “persistence” but go ahead and toss it in to your tool kit, buyers:


7 Soft Skills Needed for Sourcing China Suppliers

China really has a way of humbling a person. Don’t think of yourself as having to beg for information that should be provided you. Think of it more along the lines of managing your overseas production staff.

Has a better ring to it, right?

Jacob Yount lived in China from 2001 to 2012, during which time he started JLmade. He is now based out of North Carolina in the US and his home office is still in Suzhou, China; manufacturing and exporting branded merchandise, promotional products and retail gifts for distributors worldwide. Contact Jacob at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or find him on his blog.

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