With the increase of small orders, big buyers will come in the process of developing the business. For salespeople, professionalism and ability are important, but opportunities and luck also cannot be ignored. It is not surprising that an experienced salesperson loses to a novice when they compete for a new client. In doing trade, not only large companies can get large buyers and orders, but small companies will also get them. This situation is quite normal.
In the first line of trade, salespeople need to deal with clients’ inquiry, negotiate with them, and face them directly. They need excellent psychological quality, good professional skills, and first-class service awareness. They also need to be ready to contact big buyers and strive for large orders at all times. No one knows when the opportunity to win a big order will come.
Here are the 11 elements that need to be prepared for developing big buyers.
Elements 1: Channels
Big buyers generally have some of their own procurement channels. For example, some big companies in the United States purchase in the Far East through fixed trading companies in Taiwan. These are what insiders often call “channels.”
These channels have a complete supply chain with stable cooperation for years, making it difficult for many export enterprises to participate. They are like water pipes underground in the city. It is difficult to figure out where the start is, how many bends are in the middle, and where they end up. So what export enterprises need to do is to reach out to different clients as much as possible. Not only foreign clients but also domestic procurement offices and foreign trade companies are possible to contact large buyers directly or indirectly. In this case, salespeople should not let go of any chances.
Here is an example. Walmart put out a big promotion order. Then, domestic factories will receive inquiries from different clients for many days or even weeks in a row. They are written with the same content but sent by different clients from America, Europe, and domestic trading companies. This is the power of the channel!
Therefore, export enterprises should contact more potential clients through the network. They also need to attend more domestic and foreign exhibitions to face more buyers and channel middlemen. Then they can reach the final buyer through a variety of channels.
Elements 2: Interpersonal Connections
Connections with people are very important. To put it bluntly, doing business is up to those connections. As long as there is a relative network, a large number of stable suppliers and high-quality potential clients, the business can naturally be done better and better.
Salespeople who want to develop big clients need to cultivate and build their own connections with people from the beginning. The more clients salespeople get in touch with, the more possibility salespeople reach new clients through them. And in general, new clients introduced by regular clients are often the most likely to place orders.
If salespeople have more friends in the factory, they will learn more about new products and their color and packaging. In this case, salespeople will be more confident in their quotation.
Although domestic peers are often competitors, they can cooperate sometimes. For example, if I can’t provide new things that my clients want, but you can, I can introduce those clients to you; vice versa. In this way, we can achieve resource sharing. The highest level of trade should be the rational allocation of resources.
The establishment of interpersonal connections is a long process of accumulation, even throughout the entire career. No matter which industry you are engaged in and what position you are, you need the accumulation of connections. With more chips in hand, you can get more chances and potential opportunities. Then, you have everything possible.
Elements 3: Negotiation
In the development of big buyers, the early negotiations are very difficult and require mutual communication and understanding. This process can be very long, even last for many years. If salespeople do not have such a mental preparation, contacting with the big buyer will make them feel painful, or even have the intention to give up.
The negotiation process may not only last for a long time but may also be accompanied by countless problems. A lot of details should be discussed and confirmed, such as product, packaging, delivery, order development, inspection, price, quantity, sample, quotation validity, payment method, after-sale service. Even the qualifications of the manufacturer and the business docking of both sides should be confirmed in detail.
Besides, there are endless paperwork, forms, hundreds of pages of full English supplier requirements manuals, pages of shipping guideline, etc. All these need to be done in the course of negotiations. If any of the details go wrong, the negotiations could come to an end, leaving all the investment in vain.
Therefore, the negotiation of large buyers has a high demand on the ability of salespeople. If you are not a particularly professional salesperson, it is difficult for you to help the company get the benefits it deserves in such negotiations.
Elements 4: Investigation
Investigation refers to detailed and comprehensive research. Salespeople should have as much information as possible in order to be more advantageous in the negotiation. Otherwise, if salespeople shake their head to all questions in the negotiation, how can clients trust them and the company? Even if the client decides to cooperate, in this case, he is bound to demand more benefits.
Few clients will offer all the information. As salespeople, you cannot make clients feel that he is giving all the solutions, and you only quote. You need to use all the resources to understand your potential clients. You should take the initiative to do sales research, understand their market, channels and retail prices, so as to give the best advice.
Elements 5: Compromise
For developing big buyers, compromise is a key because both sides must have different views, different goals, different ideologies.
The buyer and the seller need each other and are opposed to each other.
Mutual need means that clients need suppliers to provide products and services that they can sell overseas and make profits. Suppliers need clients’ orders to make profits and support their employees.
Opposition comes from the distribution of profits. It is impossible for consumers to accept endless price increases. If the supplier’s price is too high, the buyer’s profit naturally declines. In this case, the buyer wants the price to be lower, but the seller hopes that the price will be higher. Inevitably. There will be constant negotiations on prices to reach a critical point acceptable to both parties.
Not only the price but also delivery, payment methods,etc., are consulted in the negotiations. Salespeople should give full play to their advantages and do adequate preparations, which is the premise of the negotiation.
Elements 6: Experience
For dealing with big buyers, the experience is more important. This experience does not refer to the work experience of salespeople, but to the experience of the industry in which clients are engaged, their regional market and the competitors.
Here is an example. Provided that there is a factory in Guangdong, with good ability, it exports wires and the price is also good. The company’s original main market is the United States, so its staff is familiar to American clients and the US market. However, suddenly, there is a big German buyer to make an inquiry. Can salespeople win the order? It is estimated to be difficult. European orders account for a small share of the company. Salespeople are not familiar with the tests, terms, and channels of Germany and the EU. If so, they even could not gain the trust of clients in the negotiations. Therefore, clients will think it is better to find suppliers who have experience in the German market.
Here is another example. ALDI and LIDL are chain supermarkets in Germany, and they are competitors. One day, a buyer of ALDI come to your factory to talk about outdoor tents. Then he finds that you have been supplying LIDL. You have cooperated with LIDL in several projects and passed the BSCI audit. And you know the various tests and certifications of the European Union. Then he will have a lot of interest, and the possibility of placing a deal will be quite large.
This is the experience! It is the same as the recruitment of large companies. Walmart’s US headquarters wants to recruit product developers. One candidate has ever done product development at Kroger, he would have a bigger chance to get into Walmart. Since Kroger can hire him, indicating that he has a strong ability and rich experience, Walmart can hire him too.
Elements 7: Investment
Early investment is essential for the development of large buyers, which involves a lot of details, including proofing. Big buyers generally do not cover sample fees and freight charges. But for large-size products, these costs can be surprising.
Also, the buyer also needs to visit the supplier. The cost of traffic, meals, etc., will not be a small sum. If the negotiations take a long time, the upfront development and operational costs will also be great. Therefore, companies that are developing or preparing to develop big buyers must be well prepared for these.
Elements 8: Sample
Large buyers may need a lot of samples in the early stage because there are many departments in large companies. Samples are generally sent to different departments, such as product development, design department, buyer, boss, etc. Some of them are even taken to their clients or exhibitions.
If the buyer is cautious, the company needs to send samples to a third-party agency to test. It aims to confirm that they are qualified in all aspects. The client then decides whether to make progress on the project. However, if the client feels that there is a discrepancy with expectation, he may terminate the project. But for suppliers, this investment is necessary, because samples don’t necessarily bring orders., but there is no order without the sample.
Therefore, to develop large buyers, salespeople should not only arrange the samples according to the requirements, but also need to pay attention to their quality, details, and the proofing time.
Elements 9: Factory Audit
Most clients have an important job to do before placing a big order, which is the factory audit.
The factory audit is very complex, including the basic elements of human rights, environmental impact assessment, fire fighting, the prohibition of child labor. Now it has added content such as counter-terrorism, access control, business partners, etc. It also involves the preparation, production, and transportation of the factory, the salary, benefits, training of the employees, etc.
Third-party organizations usually take 2 to 3 days to complete a factory audit to have a comprehensive understanding of the factory.
Most of the plants do not successfully pass in the first audit. So they need to keep rectifying. Clients also understand the degree of cooperation and improvement of the factory to meet their requirements in this process.
Elements 10: Test
As mentioned earlier, large buyers will test the samples, which requires suppliers to have prior experience in this aspect. Suppliers need to know the relevant tests that their products need to do in different markets, as well as their standards and costs.
Some buyers will cover the test fee. However, there are also many clients who will require suppliers to bear the test costs after the confirmation of large orders. If the test fails, samples may need to be retested, or even the order will be canceled.
This is a test of salespeople’s experience and their understanding of policies, rules, and local laws and regulations, such as the CROHS, CS, REACH IN European Union and the UL, CUL, ETL, PROP65 in the United States.
In addition, special attention should be paid to materials that are prohibited or not recommended for use.
Elements 11: Product Inspection
Big buyers inspect goods very carefully. They will send the quality inspector of their company or outsource this part to third-party organizations, such as SGS, ITS, BV, TUV, etc.
Because the order is large, any problem can have serious consequences. Especially in the United States and Europe, a problem may cause a full recall of the product. This will affect the client’s corporate reputation. For some big brands, this will be a fatal blow!
Therefore, after clients placed a big order, the inspection of each link of the product is naturally very strict. Clients will control the quality of each shipment according to AL standard. They will do pre-production Inspection, in- line inspection/ DUPRO inspection, final inspection. They even ask third-party companies to control goods loading to ensure that cabinets do not damage products and outer boxes.
The above is the 11 essential elements of the development of large buyers. A successful salesperson certainly needs to deal with big buyers. He can’t rely on small orders to live. Even if the profit of small orders is higher, they will not bring overall improvement in the ability and professionalism of the salesperson.
Every salesperson has a process of progress. When they first contact big buyers, they will inevitably make mistakes. But this is a test of personal ability. The salespeople should constantly exercise themselves at work. When they can operate large orders and negotiate large buyers independently, they have demonstrated their strong personal abilities and professionalism.
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