March 14, 2013

Supplier Emails

First, many suppliers are extremely busy and just not able to follow up efficiently with their email load. Secondly, many of you have the wrong approach. What you have to understand is what it’s like being on the other end of that email. You may get dozens or hundreds a day and it takes time to answer them. Usually you will answer the ones that are in your native language, you can understand, and then the ones that are sensible leaving all the others for another time.

The problem with suppliers is that few unfamiliar email prospects turn into customers. That means out of 50-100 emails four will actually buy. If someone cannot write a decently written email, how likely are they to become a customer? We email companies all the time around the world and in different languages with a high reply success rate, because we compose an email knowing in our heads that it is a one way conversation. Basically your emails should include your name, company name, and contact information, as well as, what specific item(s) you need. We have had some emails forwarded to us from suppliers. Here is an example of one: “I want new Apple iPhone how much are they and when can you ship them?” Real suppliers are just going to delete this email and move on to the next one.

More appropriate:
“My name is Gordon Avaya. I own a retail store in Atlanta Georgia. I currently have a need for new, unlocked Blackberry cellular phones. Please let me know if your company has access to this merchandise, the pricing and the approximate turnaround time from order to shipping. Please also send the name of the appropriate person to speak to so that I can follow up via telephone. Also add my email to your blast list.
Thank you,
Gordon Avaya
SPQ Cellular Springfield
123 Main Street
Atlanta, GA

That is one of the ways to compose a professional email that gives people the sense that you know how to work with a busy wholesale supplier. Your email will also be the start of a business relationship. It is always better to know more legitimate suppliers in the electronics game than to know fewer so that you can easily locate stock and get the best prices. Now if you still don’t get a response try again, because they could be backlogged or busy getting in a new shipment of Apple master cartons. One last thing to remember is that not everyone speaks English so use a free translator service to turn your emails into Chinese, German, or Spanish to stand out for your reader.

Now look out for scammers because they are notoriously good at keeping up contact with their victims. You usually can email or call them anytime of the day or night and they are always there to respond. I received an email via Alibaba that said “Jim was unbelievably good to deal with, he always responded to my emails, called back immediately, sent me all kinds of documentation and pro forma invoices, and even gave me their Dun & Bradstreet number. Then they ripped me off for so much money it wasn’t even funny.” You can’t always judge a company by how they respond to your correspondence. A scammer, who won’t deliver anything or will deliver counterfeit merchandise, will make a lot more profit from your order than a legitimate supplier, so they have more incentive to work with you. Remember that the 2011 average annual income in Beijing was ~$8300 so that $4000 you sent via Western Union for new iPhones was six months of salary!