Salesmen often say that their emails always get no reply, and the development letters are not working well. However, is there anyone thinking about what causes this situation?
In most cases, they are confident when they are developing customers. Some of them believe that customers will feel interested in their company’s ability. Some think that they can succeed in developing new customers because they have advantages in products and prices.
But the results are not as good as they thought.
Salesmen are not customers. They only know what they are thinking, but do not know customers’ mind. For example, the price of their product is very low, but customers do not care about it. Or the company has a strong ability, but customers are not interested in their product.
Therefore, while salesmen are communicating with customers, they should often put themselves in customers’ shoes.
Not only must salesmen have professional products and good services, but they also need to understand customers’ psychological thoughts. They need to make targeted suggestions, plus business letters that are very suitable for foreign businessmen. In this way, the distance between them can be drawn closer, and the business is easier to move forward.
The following is the entire process that I successfully won new customers by development letters.
There was an Italian customer looking for an aluminum alloy LED flashlight whose style was special, with color box packaging plus white mail order box. I found a factory and made six samples. Three of them were sent to the customer, but unfortunately, the customer did not place orders. So I kept the remaining three samples in my hand. After that, I was wondering whether I should use these three samples to develop other customers. As long as they pay the freight, I would provide the samples for free.
Then I started searching on Google. Given the fact that the product was initially designated by Italian customers, the shape of this product was definitely suitable for European taste. Hence, the focus of my search was European customers. After an afternoon of search and screening, I ended up targeting six European importers. They were all gift promoters, and they all had similar flashlights on their websites.
Once I found the target customer, the next step was to write development letters. I wrote the development letter with defined goals because I have specific products to sell. I sent emails to 6 people with the same content, except for the name.
Glad to hear that you’re on the market for flashlight and other promotional items.
This is C from ** Ltd in China. We specialized in flashlights and premiums for 10 years, with the customers of Coca-Cola, Craft, Pepsi,etc., and hope to find a way to cooperate with you!
Please find the pictures with models and different packaging in attachment. An American guy purchased this model in BIG quantity last year. I would like to try now, if it’s suitable for Europe.
FREE SAMPLES can be sent on request. Call me, let’s talk more I
Thanks and best regards,
The email mentioned that a US customer had placed a big order, which was to give customers a feeling that Americans liked this product very much, and maybe there was a chance in Europe. I wrote the last sentence, Call me, let’s talk more, on purpose. Few customers would call a stranger. But the sentence made people feel different: at first, this salesman was very confident, and secondly, this salesman was sincere that this was not a mass email.
Four of the six didn’t answer, and one of them went back with a Thank you, not this time. Bye. The last Swedish customer, Kelvin, replied, and his email was as follows:
Looks nice! What about the price?
There was only one sentence, and the tone was a bit unkind, so the situation was not optimistic. The customer’s mail made me feel that he was not interested, or just casually answered an email at leisure time. But in any case, I needed to study it carefully to see if it could progress.
I replied in this way:
So pleased to get your prompt reply! Regarding this model, pls find the details with offer as follows:
Model: Promotional 14 LED aluminum flashlight w/gift box
Item No.: ***
Bulb: 14* white LEDs
Luminosity: more than 15 000MCD
Size: 39mm( dia of head) *102mm(length) * 37mm( dia of end)
Weight: 95g (w/o batteries); 115g (w/batteries)
Color: all accepted, pls give us PANTONE code
Photo: pIs find the details in attachment
Logo: silk printing or heat transfer printing
Logo charge: FREE
Operating battery: 3 * AAA battery( NOT INCLUDED)
Packaging: 1 pc/polybag/gift box/white mail order box
Q’ty/20FCL: 14 000pcs; Q’ty/40’FCL: 28 000pcs
Payment terms: T/T(with 30% deposit): L/C at sight
Loading port: Shanghai/ Ningbo
Sample charge: FREE
Sample lead time: 1~3 days
Order lead time: 30~35 days
FOB Price: EUR2. 20/pc
Please kindly check and revert at your earliest! Free samples will be sent on request.
Comments please, any questions will be appreciated!
I would like to put all the information in the email rather than add attached quotations. Considering that many customers may be too lazy to open the attached Word or Excel, I’ve only added a few images in the attachment, including pictures of the product, pictures with a package, and effect pictures with important information such as size and weight.
This email was simply about the price so that I deliberately stress the free samples and the final offer. This price was not low. But I pointed out that the brightness was about 15000MCD. At the time, similar flashlights sold in Europe were generally around 11,000 MCD. What’s more, I used a gift box package, plus a white mail order box, which highlights the positioning of the product in the mid-to-high end market. So I used this price to see the customer’s response at first.
After this email had been sent out for five whole days, when I was about to give up, the customer’s mail finally came. There is still only one sentence, but eventually, I got a start, which made me feel a little comfort.
I’m sure your product holds high quality, but the price was too high as well.
Maybe next time
It seems to be a matter of price, or a euphemistic refusal on the ground of price by the customer. In any case, since the customer has responded, I, of course, should continue.
Thank you so much for your kind mail!
Sure, our models with top quality, and think all of them meet the quality level in your local market! If the price is not suitable in your price range, could you pls accept to do a little change? The price will be reduced 3%. That is EUR2. 13/pc
Looking forward to your early reply. Thanks
I told the customer that if there was a gap between his price range and ours, we could make a slight change and the price could be lowered by 3 points. We still hoped to have the opportunity to cooperate. I did not say exactly how to change, to arouse the customer’s appetite and let him take the initiative to ask me. Actually, my purpose is to communicate more with customers because the more emails we send, the more likely we cooperate. Sure enough, the customer replied:
What change is ok? Will it affect the quality?
This email indicated that the customer’s interest was increasing; otherwise, he would not ask about the specific changes. And he mentioned the issue of quality. It was evident that the customer had a high demand for quality and did not want to lower the quality due to price factors. I replied soon:
Pls don’t worry about the quality. Price is important, but quality counts for much more!
Here is just a little change, the original length of the flashlight is 102mm, and now we just make it short. 89mm instead! And then, the total cost will be reduced 3% because of the material saved!
All the luminosity and the body look the same! I think it’s workable for both of us. Any comments?
I told the customer that the length of the flashlight would be a little shorter, but it would not affect the quality. The customer didn’t answer that time. Until two days later, a new email came with good news!
Pls give me back C&F air Stockholm
This time, the customer pointed out that he wanted the price of C&F, and it needed to be airlifted to Stockholm! The next day, I made a quick inquiry to several freight forwarders. After comparing the price, I decided to reply to the customer:
Already checked the freight cost with forwarder, and was informed the air freight from Shanghai to Stockholm would be EUR2. 9/kg. That is, EURO. 35/pc will be added on the basic price.
Therefore, the C&F cost is EUR2. 13+ EURO. 35= EUR2. 48/pc.
Please confirm the above details, and I’ll send you the proforma invoice.
Looking forward to your reply!
Thanks and best regards,
After waiting for three days, the customer still did not answer. On the fourth day, I couldn’t wait anymore and sent another email.
Sorry to trouble you again. Because the busy order season is coming, please confirm the details soon
We need to arrange the mass production asap, to keep the delivery on time!
The customer still had no answers. I couldn’t help but made a phone call. He said that he was busy recently and would respond to me as soon as possible.And the mail came 10 minutes later.
Try the price on EUR2. 20, you may consider it as an order.
This price is almost my reserve price. In other words, there is almost no profit. I had to reply in this way:
Please consider more about the quality, would you like to evaluate the sample in advance? And we can talk about price later. Okay?
The customer responded:
No, pretty urgent. Just photos enough. Pls do it on EUR2. 25, I persuade customer give me order.
This email gives me hope because he is willing to add 5 cents. Was the order really urgent? I thought he had actually decided to place an order, but he wanted a good price, so he was negotiating to me. Then I replied:
Thank you for your kind mail! But unfortunately, this price also unworkable for us.
I sincerely hope to have business with you, pls realize our position. 2 suggestions as below:
1) everything keep the same, EUR2. 45/pc, C&F air Stockholm
2) everything keep the same, EUR2. 60/pc, with 3 s AAA battery, C&F air Stockholm
Comments, please. Thank you!
For the sake of getting around the price, I gave the customer two sets of plans. Because he asked for 2.25, but I quoted 2.48 earlier, I gave him the price of EUR2.45/pc. At the same time, another set is provided for him to choose: EUR 2.60/pc with 3 AAA batteries.
The customer replied:
Good idea to put the batteries together. The price would be reduced to EUR2. 53/pc,my customer will confirm the order,20000pcs.
Obviously, the customer is very interested in matching the battery. I did not specify what kind of battery to use in the previous email. Although it is AAA, I did not indicate whether it is alkaline or carbon. The difference in price between those two is quite large. The carbon one cost only 0.2 ¥, but the alkaline costs more than 0.5 ¥. If I agreed with his target price, I would use carbon batteries. After the tax refund, I still earned 100% on the battery.
I replied as quick as possible:
Great! My boss finally confirmed your target price. You’re a so good negotiator!!!
Please find our PI in attachment, and sign by return today. Also pls arrange the wire transfer of 30%o deposit soon!
Now that he agreed to the target price, I sent Proforma Invoice at once that he couldn’t change his mind. I indicated in the PI that the payment method was T/T (with 30% deposit) with 3 AAA super heavy duty batteries included, and the delivery period was 40 days. Our bank information was also included in the attachment.
However, after waiting for a week, the customer did not reply. I sent another email:
No news from you for one week. Any problems?
There was still no news. I called his office, but no one answered. Another day later, I sent the third email with the words “top urgentⅠ” in the theme.
Any update? I phoned your office yesterday, but nobody answered.
What’s up now? We need your urgent confirmation to arrange the mass production.
By the way, did you already arrange the wire transfer of 30% deposit? Please send me the bank receipt. Thank you!
After waiting for another week, when I was almost desperate again, the customer’s email finally came:
Here you are!
Sorry for late reply. I went for traveling to Swiss and just back.
The customer went on vacation! In fact, he arranged the deposit a few days ago, and the attachment was the bank bill. I asked the financial staff to check out the account and found that the deposit had already arrived a week ago. After receiving my PI, the customer arranged a payment. However, he went on holiday later, and I didn’t get in touch with him, so I thought he did not confirm. Actually, as long as I asked the accountant to check the euros that came from Sweden recently, there would not be such misunderstanding.
This customer is really nice. Once he acknowledged the order, he handed all things over to me, because he trusted me.
Nevertheless, then problems occurred in the factory and the delivery time was delayed. And it also took five days to get to Stockholm airport because air transport needed to be transferred at Frankfurt. In that case, the delivery time required by the customer would be exceeded by nearly a week.
Hence, I contacted the staff of United Parcel Service. They had special planes for airlift, but the price was 2000 euros higher than the average. I asked the customer, and he agreed. He immediately paid the balance and another 2000 Euros, then asked me to arrange the shipment as soon as possible. I was very touched at this time. I did business with him for the first time because of his trust to me. He didn’t ask for a sample before placing an order. Before the shipment, he paid the full amount without hesitation only based on a few packing photos and shipping marks. Furthermore, the customer paid an extra fee of 2000 euros owing to our delay in delivery, but he did not bargain with me.
Later, I found a cheaper freight forwarder. It also took about five days, but the price is 450 euros cheaper than the original. I got in touch with the customer immediately and let him choose. If he chose United Parcel Service, it would be 3 to 4 days faster but cost 2,550 Euros more; if he chose ordinary air transport, although it was slower, I would refund 2550 Euros to him.
The customer immediately replied, asking for ordinary air transportation, and gave me a bank account with the agreement that he would cover the handling fee. The bank deducted about 50 euros. He was very satisfied with the returned 2,490 Euros.
A month later, I suddenly received a thank-you email from him:
All the nice items are out of stock now. Customers are happy!
This case is my own experience, and I have always kept it in mind. It makes me understand the truth: as long as I am sincere to customers, they will also treat me sincerely. In order to impress customers, in addition to professionalism, strength, service, and skills, you also need earnest.
I write down every process and psychoanalysis of the case because I want you to know the importance of the development letter. Only if you write it with your heart, you will get a reward. If you used one second to copy, paste, and send development letters. Customers could also spend only one second to drag your mail into the spam or blacklist.
Accordingly, doing foreign trade is not easy. It’s harder to be excellent. Even if you make money, you can’t say that you are doing good in foreign trade. Customers placing orders may be because your product is good or you have a good platform. But the trust of customers can make different senses. One day, if customers do not cooperate with you because of your company, but he is willing to cooperate with your company because he trusts you, you are really doing a good job!
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