By Li Zhang
Let’s talks about strengthening promotional product inquiries in China sourcing. In the promo industry, a common complaint when quoting offshore, is that the supplier didn’t answer, didn’t answer on time or didn’t thoroughly answer the inquiry. These headaches many times are due to weak inquiries.
A weak inquiry is:
- doesn’t show signs of life
- lacks hard data or reference images
- concerns the vendor that if they answer, then it will NOT be time well spent
Let’s overcome those supplier concerns and help them see that by answering your RFQ, then business is a very real possibility.
Promotional product inquiries shouldn’t be “shoppy”
Avoid your inquiry looking like it was sent to multiple suppliers. This doesn’t really excite the supplier to invest time into the quote. They may quote, but their effort in the pricing will be the same as the effort in an half-hearted inquiry….in other words, the supplier gives you quote that you cannot trust.
Real quantity scales
Have your desired quantity scales professional laid out.
2 methods that can be a turn off to the supplier is whenever either no quantity or you give too many quantity scales.
If you do not currently have a quantity in hand, then ask the supplier to provide pricing for the minimum order quantity and the next 2 scales up.
Avoid giving too many scales, for example: 500/1000/2000/3000/4000, etc… I’ve literally seen some buyers ask for upwards of 10 to 20 scales.
Sure, the end-user requested that slew of quantities for their system or whatever. But as the distributor, when dealing with Chinese vendors, you can greatly narrow that list down and then fill in the blanks when quoting your buyer.
Reference images, mock-ups or artwork
Be deliberate in your promotional product inquiries and gather images to send of your inquiry. Don’t send too many images, but provide purposeful images of the items, material or look you’re referring to. Label your images.
Send PDF mockups instead of wasting email space trying to describe a complicated process.
Have the vendor to provide images of similar items or process they have done. By the way, having the vendor to send you images is a perfect to check up on the supplier’s understanding. If their image is way off, their understanding may be way off.
When sending your images, mockups and artwork, here is an referral resource on sending attachments.
Knowledge of your industry and product
Avoid being vague and expecting the supplier to fully educate you on the product. When a potential buyer seems clueless on the basics of the product, lacks knowledge on manufacturing process and has unrealistic China sourcing requests…that “potential buyer” no long has so much potential.
A knowledgeable buyer is buyer that actually brings orders. A buyer that lacks basic knowledge seems like a buyer that’s not experienced in closing the deal.
Strong promotional product inquiries do not cause the supplier to come back asking a ton of questions. We’re not talking legitimate questions, but questions that the importer could have answered in the initial 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or find her penning manufacturing thoughts at her blog.