In the trading industry, there are many different kinds of orders, big, small, stable, or short-term. It is the same when it comes to customers. There are big customers with long-term cooperation, small and medium-sized customers with regular orders, and customers who place orders sometimes.
However, as export traders, we should give equal treatment to all customers and orders whether they are big or small. Of course, big orders bring satisfaction and admiration. But it is different when it comes to the small ones. Many salesmen will be not interested or care about them.
In reality, it is hard to make no exception.
Even Confucius couldn’t treat his disciples equally, how can general people achieve? People who can treat all customers and order equally would be holy men.
For example, salesmen who attend the exhibition or receiving inquiries will pay more attention to European and American customers. They will give priority to inquiries of good quality. They will attach importance to the expected big orders.
Yet, what is the result? They may be not able to win those customers or get expected big orders.
Actually, the reason why they meet such a situation is that they hold wrong beliefs. They should not only care about big customers and orders but look down upon those small ones.
To do business, you should be in a down-to-earth manner. You can not reach for what is beyond your grasp. And you should not give up easily. People who stick to the end do not necessarily have the most powerful strength, but they often have unimaginable resilience they attach great importance to their customers.
Successful businessmen should refuse anybody whether the order is big or small. For any customers, they offer good services with smiles. While they serve the existing customers with priority, they will not make other customers feel a big gap.
If a new customer is left out for his first inquiry, he may not come back again. But no one knows the potential of him. He may place bigger orders than the existing order in the future if he is received warmly.
So, I want to stress here: do not discriminate against small orders. Not only will small and medium-sized customers place small orders, but also big buyers often place them!
To avoid the trouble of operating small orders, many factories and trading companies will set a minimum order quantity. Or they have special requirements on the term of payment(such as 100% prepayment for small orders). The operation process of the small one and the big one is the same. However, the production of the small requires frequent adjustment. If a production line cannot make the same product for several days, it’s capacity and efficiency will naturally decrease. And the cost is naturally higher. In addition, the profit of small orders is too low. After removing the running cost, there is almost no profit or even at a loss. How can the export enterprises be interested in them? Unless they know that the other side is a big buyer like Wal-mart, they are likely to be reluctant to accept the small ones.
Based on my experience of working for many years, there are some big buyers also placing small orders, such as Wal-Mart (supermarket), Target (the second largest retailer in the US), Home Depot (American company), Sears (a famous American retailer), JC. Penney (American retail company), Besy buy (US consumer electronics retailers), WOOLWORTH (Australian food retailers), Kroger, and other big buyers. And a large part of them is placed through importers or trading companies in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In this case, many export companies have no idea of the significant business opportunities and big buyers behind these small orders.
Such as Disney, it seldom places big orders to new vendors directly. It usually tests those suppliers with small ones or sample sheets for one or two years, even longer.
Large buyers have major vendors and core vendors. Generally, they will not give big orders to others if those vendors have no problems. However, they will reserve some standby vendors. Once their core vendors have problems with price or delivery time, they still have spare vendors available. Therefore, to ensure that alternative vendors do not go wrong when they are receiving big orders, buyers need to test them with the small for years.
Therefore, refusing small orders may mean the loss of chance to join the supply chain of big buyers. Then you may lose chances to win potential customers, to get big ones, even to improve the company.
Moreover, small orders from small and medium-sized customers may also bring good chances. They may help you to open an emerging market and you may get a lot of loyal customers. Although you only get small orders now, those small ones will definitely bring the big ones to you one day.
Who knows that? You cannot tell anything when you first meet a customer or get a new inquiry. Besides, How can there be a big order without a small order? Many suppliers do not care about small orders but are unable to deal with the big. As a result, they achieve nothing but make the business worse and worse.
Only when you treat small orders with attention and good service, customers can have confidence in your company. In the course of time, you will have a great improvement in your own ability. At this time, if customers have big orders, they will give them to you.
The business development of an enterprise cannot only rely on core customers because the risk of losing them always exists. Hence, when salesmen deal with core customers, they should not ignore the development of new customers. And one of the keys is to enhance mutual trust and cooperation through small orders. Then the big ones come naturally.
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