Last week I promised I’d give you some helpful tips today regarding the procedure with suppliers once you’ve received an initial response.
First though, I’ve had a few subscribers email me asking for an example of what to actually write in an email to a new supplier when requesting a trade account or product prices, so I’m happy to give you two examples that you can copy and use.
The first can be used for a standard request to open a trade account – this is more likely to be required when dealing with UK suppliers:
(EMAIL SUBJECT LINE:) New Account Request
My name is [Insert your name here], of [Insert your business or company name here], based in [Insert your location here].
I noticed your company listed in [Insert where you found the suppliers’ details e.g. Business Directory, Online, Google etc], and I am interested in setting up a Trade Account with you.
Please let me know what information you will require from me, and I will be happy to return all details immediately.
[Your business or company name and address]
[Your email address]
[VAT/Business Reg No if applicable]
Honestly – that’s it. Straight and to the point. You don’t need to write anything else unless you already know the information that the supplier will require from you in which case you can include that in your initial email.
Keep it short and to the point, and above all – professional.
First contacts with wholesale suppliers and potential business partners are very important, and it doesn’t take much to make your first impression a good one.
Here’s another email example for you just laid out slightly differently for enquiries about products. You can use this one too:
(EMAIL SUBJECT LINE:) Trade Enquiry
I was recently browsing your website [Insert supplier’s web address here] and am very interested in stocking your products, namely [Insert product specifications here].
I run a [Insert type of business here] and would very much like to expand my range of products significantly in the coming months.
I would be very grateful if you could email me your trade pricelist at your earliest convenience.
[Business or Company Name]
[VAT/Business Reg No if applicable]
Both of these examples are perfectly acceptable first contact emails to suppliers. Just insert the details to suit you and change any other details to suit your situation.
If you know exactly which product you require, edit the details to request specific prices or samples.
Receiving a response
So, what happens when you do receive a response from a supplier? How should you proceed?
Once you’ve received the information requested, this shows that you’re somewhat trusted already, thanks to the professional email you sent!
Next you need to correspond with the supplier, get quotes, negotiate and request samples.
If your supplier is in the UK then it’s best to do this by telephone although you can use email if you feel more comfortable doing so.
You will need to introduce yourself and your business and confirm you have received their trade price list or their quotation for goods.
At this stage, you should also ask what form of payment the supplier will accept for a first time order. It’s usually PayPal, credit or debit card or in some cases a cheque or bank transfer is acceptable – remember not to use an unsecured method of payment – particularly if you are dealing with an international supplier.
It’s unlikely you will get a credit account immediately so you will be expected to pay up front or ‘pro forma’.
Once you have established a good, trustworthy relationship with your supplier you can request a credit account which will usually allow you 30 days to pay.
The first quote
An important point to remember is this. The first quote you receive from a supplier will often be an initial, higher, price aimed to see how you react.
Also, suppliers will start off with a higher quote simply because they will expect you to say no and they will eventually have to come down in price.
This reminds me of an old saying from my sales days: ‘Go in low, nowhere to go’ – and is an adage that many suppliers will work to, so keep this in mind.
If the quote is verbal, it’s a good idea to act suitably shocked so that you are subtly letting the supplier know that the price is not acceptable.
Sometimes a supplier will feel uncomfortable about their first quote and will be moved to lower the price, however more often than not it will take a number of offers and counter-offers to arrive at a price that suits both parties.
I think it goes without saying that you should always get a number of quotes from a variety of suppliers to give you more negotiating power. Never accept the first quote.
Please don’t be afraid to ask relevant questions. You have much more chance of finding out additional information that could help your negotiations, the more you know about a person or a company.
I find that if you ask someone a very direct question then they will not be ready with a quick response and so will usually end up telling you the truth – which is exactly what you want.
Practice makes perfect
Wholesale suppliers are experts at negotiating as they do it all day every day and so you need to become good at it too. Practice your negotiating skills at every opportunity and learn from your mistakes to ensure you come away with a good deal every time.
Don’t be afraid to walk away
It doesn’t matter how badly you want something, you should always be ready to walk away and move on. The worst thing that can happen is that a supplier senses that you really, really need what he can supply. He knows you want it and you’ll pay anything to get it – then he’s got you over a barrel!
This will make it almost impossible for you to negotiate so you must stay calm, give out an attitude of indifference and keep negotiations friendly.
Above all, keep control of the conversation at all times whilst giving out signals that you have what he wants – i.e. your business – rather than the other way around.
Stay in charge!