Your Supplier Doesn’t Need You

Your Supplier Doesn’t Need You and unfortunately that is the truth and let me explain why. I have been importing millions of dollars worth of goods for 5 years now, so I have learned a thing or two about dealing with suppliers. The reason I am sharing this with you is because I just dealt with this, but luckily, I was prepared, but had I now been it would have been a mess. Most suppliers in China are looking for the Targets, Centrals and Carrefour’s of the world and your few palettes or hundred thousand dollars you are spending does not mean much to them. This can be extremly frustrating as a newbie to importing, because logic would say: I have money and want to buy your stuff, you supply me with said stuff. BUT NOPE China is not logical.

Anyways, this is what happened to me

Last order sent out, great! Client is happy and we are happy, client places new order with us, we place order with factory, about as simple as it can get, but OUT OF NOWHERE the wrench in the preverbal spokes is thrown. This is the email I received::

Dear Mr. Edmund, 

We thank you for your continued support of  (WE $&§%$&§ FACTORY). It has been a pleasure working with you over the last 2 years. 

Unfortunately we are no longer able to service your account and this will be the last order we are able to fulfil, Hope you can understand. 

Best Regards, 

Cindy Xiou’

Say WHAAA???!!!!!!

I was shocked to say the least, we had been doing business with these guys for over 2 years, So why on earthy would they throw away $30,000 a month? Here is why, because they did not care, I was small potatoes compared to some of their BIG CLIENTS and to be honest, we were a huge pain for them, we were always complaining about things, many things that we could have let slip.

So How Can You Avoid This?

1. Don’t Be a Pain In The Ass:

I know this sounds obvious, but you would not believe how many first time importers beat their factories up over dumb things like, a shipment that is one day late, minor mistakes on packaging, color discrepancies etc. Remember in general they do not really need your business, so unless it is something that completely ruins your order, think long and hard before you fire off some angry email.

2. Have Other Options

Make sure you have a few back up suppliers just incase. I always try and have 3 suppliers for every product that I am sourcing, because stuff like this can and will happen to you at some point, and if you are caught with you pants down it can be a huge huge problem not only for you, but also for your clients and your customers.

3. Don’t Beat Them Up On Pricing

Yes it is important to get good pricing, but also, be realistic about where you are on the totem pole and do not push them too hard, because if you do they might push back or even worse they might send an email saying ‘You know what, we do not really need your business, thanks!’ and like I said it happens more often then you would believe.

4. Build a Relationship With Them

Understanding Chinese culture is a huge asset and if you can understand it and build a genuine relationship with your supplier, they will be far less likely to let you go. Relationship in China are extremely important and they typically do not just throw them away.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you guys out!

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