How To Approach Suppliers
A very common question I get asked is “How To Approach Suppliers”. In simple terms you need to be professional in the way you approach them and ask sensible questions. I hope to cover the main ways to approach suppliers, but there are times when you just need to think on your feet……….and this will normally happen if you approach a supplier at a Trade Show or they cold call you.
How To Approach Suppliers By Email
We live in a modern world and nearly all your suppliers will use the internet and email to correspond with you, and even the third world countries will use email and in most cases expect you to use it. It is fast and both parties can get answers in a timely fashion.
When you approach a supplier use openings such as Dear Sir or if you know their name Dear……… the only exception is if you know these people having spoken to them on the phone or met them at a show and then it is ok to use opening such as Dear Jim or Dear Sarah, and at time a simple Hi and their name, but if it is the first time you have sent an email try and use the Dear………. opening.
Another big must do, use your business email address domains are so cheap now, and you can then use a webmail, outlook or link them up with gmail. For instance I use gmail but my email address in firstname.lastname@example.org In future articles I will show you how easy it is to turn a google account into a free business account.
Please do not use Hotmail or Yahoo as your business email suppliers will not like this. You can use @gmail.com as businesses see this Ok.
How To Approach Suppliers By Letter
If you decide to approach suppliers by letter, you need to have some form of a letterhead. Again we live in the modern world and you can set up a quick one in Word or Google Docs. Use you business name, address and phone number…………and it is Ok to use mobile numbers.
How To Approach Suppliers By Phone
There is nothing wrong about approaching a supplier by phone and a lot of suppliers expect this and have whole offices dedicated to opening accounts and managing accounts over the telephone but there are a few rules if you work from home you do need to remember.
- Do not have the radio or TV on in the background
- Do not have noisy Children or Adults in the background – this is not professional, and sometimes you are distracted and may not hear some figures right.
- Pick a quiet spot, and tell family and friends this is your phone time and not to interrupt you……………..unless of course there is an emergency.
Also when you approach suppliers have your questions written out as this will help you to remember things such as :
- Minimum Orders
- Opening an account or is it Cash with order
- How long is delivery time
- Is VAT included in the prices
- Do they have a catalogue or Trade site?
The task of approaching suppliers is a fun time, you get to speak to great people and you will build up lasting friendships and if you treat your suppliers well, they will phone you first when a new and hot item comes out. And you never know one day, they offer you a special deal and give the sole selling rights to you. But first you need to take that first step and approach a supplier.