[MUSIC PLAYING] INSTRUCTOR: Your approach to content suppliers or manufacturers will depend on whether you're contacting a supplier or manufacturer. When you're contacting a supplier, your approach will be more direct, especially if their website mentions they offer dropshipping for retailers. For manufacturers, ask for a list of their wholesale distributors. You can then contact the wholesalers to see if they dropship and inquire about setting up an account.
However, before contacting suppliers, there's a few things to keep in mind. It's important to get all your ducks in a row depending on what supplier wants or requires from you before working with you. Next, you might need to be legal. Some legitimate wholesalers you find on Google and most you find in a directory will require proof that you're a legal business before allowing you to apply for an account. Most wholesalers only reveal their pricing to approved customers.
So you'll need to be legally incorporated before you'll get to see the kind of pricing you'll receive. As you saw in the worldwide brand's example, setting up an account with Full Leaf Tea Company required me to have a business number and business address. This sort of creates a chicken-and-egg problem, doesn't it? If you already have a business or store and want to find a dropshipper, you won't have much to worry about. However, if you're a new startup, you might have to avoid the suppliers who ask for this until you can prove yourself.
In the meantime, set up a store and prove yourself to potential suppliers in other ways, such as by sharing your strategy with them and your story. You will, of course, want to set up your business legally eventually, but I would put that off until we actually have a business. I'm not interested in registering an idea that may change down the road. Once I have proof of concept and sales, I can figure that out later. That's a good problem to have.
Understand how you appear. Wholesalers are constantly bombarded by people with great business plans who pepper them with questions, take up a lot of time, and then never order anything. So if you're launching a new business, be aware that many suppliers aren't going to go out of their way to help you get started. Most will be happy to set you up with a dropshipping account if they offer it, but don't ask for a discount pricing or spend hours tying up their sales representatives on the phone before you've made a single sale.
It will quickly earn you a bad reputation and hurt your relationship with a supplier. If you do need to make special requests, say trying to convince a supplier to dropship when it normally doesn't, you need to build credibility. Be definitive of your business plans. For example, we are launching this site on January 20, instead of using flaky rhetoric, such as, I'm thinking about maybe launching a business sometime soon. And be sure to communicate any professional successes you've had in the past, especially with sales and marketing.
They'll help you with your new venture. You need to convince suppliers that the inconvenience of accommodating your special requests will pay off down the road when you become successful and start bringing them a ton of business. Lastly, don't be afraid of the phone. One of the biggest fears people have when it comes to suppliers is simply picking up the phone and making the call. For many, this is a paralyzing prospect. You might be able to send emails for some issues.
But more often than not, you need to pick up the phone to get the information you need. The good news is that it's not as scary as you might think. Suppliers are accustomed to having people call them, including newbie entrepreneurs. You're likely to get someone who's friendly and more than happy to answer your questions. Here's a tip that will help you. Simply write out your questions ahead of time. It's amazing how much easier it is to make the call when you've got a list of pre-written questions to ask.
First contact. Let's send out our first email to our shortlist of suppliers. Of course, your email might look a little different than mine, but here's a nice guideline to follow along with some questions to ask. "Hi there. My name is Corey Ferreira, and I'm the store owner of store name, https://storename.com. We're set to launch on November 1, 2017, and I think our customers will love your product.
In particular, we're interested in selling the matcha tea you offer. We saw you offer dropshipping as well, which would be perfect for what we're looking for in a supplier. I'm interested in working with you and would appreciate a price list if you have one. I also have more questions that I can get to later if you're interested in talking more about what we're doing and what I'm looking for. I can be reached at 555-5555 or via email here, email@example.com.
Thanks for your time, and looking forward to working with you. Corey." Now you probably don't want to send your potential supplier a grocery list of questions in the first email, but here are some questions I would ask in any follow-up correspondence. Do you offer dropshipping? If it's unclear that they do. Do you offer customization of the packaging the customer will receive? Do you offer to put my company's information on the package and slip?
Do you offer private labeling? Are there any fees? What is the average shipping cost to customers in the United States per unit? How should I send orders to you as I receive them? Are you OK with email? How will you invoice me for orders? Do you accept credit card or PayPal? What is your return/refund policy for damaged or missing orders? Can I use your products' images, descriptions on my website? How long does it take for orders to be processed and shipped?
Are you the manufacturer for your products? If it's unclear or not obvious. Don't be afraid to ask questions that I don't cover here. A good supplier will want to help you understand the process and ensure you have complete clarity on the relationship you're getting into with your supplier. Lastly, a good thing to ask for in the second email to your potential supplier is for samples, particularly if it makes sense. For matcha tea or food, I should probably test the product before selling it.
Some suppliers will offer free samples, but most will ask you to pay for samples. Either way, if it's important for you to test your product or see the quality in person, ask for samples. OK, now that we have suppliers and have products, it's time to learn about fulfilling orders. We'll cover that in the next lesson. See you there.