By Jacob Yount
From private label to sourcing for other industries, a common concern for new buyers is “how to get the vendor to care about my price request?”
Vendors tend to ignore RFQ’s from new potential buyers.
Or they answer very loosely, perhaps even rejecting the project.
Here’s a brainstorm on ideas to increase chances the supplier takes your price request seriously.
Make Your Inquiry Look Like it Breeds Business
Too many people out there are kinda sorta considering starting something new….maybe.
There’s many buyers who quote quote quote and never bring closure.
Does your price request look like the not-too-distant goal is business?
You know, actual money changing hands?
Or does it look like you’re researching and just gathering data from one of many vendors?
Give your vendor indication of when you hope to close.
How you see closure.
The order is on the horizon.
If you’re not able to do that, don’t be surprised if they don’t jump all over it.
Provide Initial Price Request in Clear Cut Fashion
Don’t be vague.
Communicate in a “point A, point B, conclusion” style format.
Avoid open-ended questions, your own corporate speak, slang, don’t come off as chatty… are you getting the picture?
Make professionalism the rule of the day.
Emotions don’t have much room in the world of offshore manufacturing.
When people contact you for the first time making a bunch of demands, does that really make you want to start jumping through hoops for them?
Make Your Price Request Less Wordy
Avoid blobby paragraphs with a ton of specs, if the specs are not critical for the initial quote.
Back and forth is to be expected. Think fluid, not chiseled in stone.
Don’t dump too much info. For the China or offshore vendor, it may be overwhelming.
They will gravitate towards other projects that are easier to understand and execute.
Less Customization Requirements
At last out the gate…
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. If you’re a brand new customer to the vendor and an unknown, they’re going to feel less innovative.
When you price things the vendor is already manufacturing, they’re more likely to quote and serve you.
When there’s a ton of customized parts to the price request (multiple factories, different materials, branding), the vendor’s less motivated.
If you require customization, than ease that in.
Maybe after a few orders are under your belt.
1 inquiry doesn’t make you a “customer”. Repeat orders make you a customer they’d like to maintain.
Give A Realistic Time Frame
Avoid the demanding and asap jargon. Professionally ask your supplier when you can expect their quote?
Or give them a timeframe. For example, “I need to have your initial price by Thursday morning my time”.
Leave the channel of communication open. You may have to answer some questions in the interim.
Don’t be surprised if you have to follow-up with them on WeChat or by email to remind them you’re awaiting their news.
A rushed quote may be full of errors so if not too urgent, let them take their time.
But even then you’ve still got to inspect for errors, typos, etc…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or find him on his blog.