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8 Common Mistakes Most Newbie Importers Make When Importing From China. - Adverts - Nairaland

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8 Common Mistakes Most Newbie Importers Make When Importing From China. by ChinaImport: 2:26pm On Jun 24, 2013
[size=13pt]1. Poor Representation: This is the number one mistake all newbies make. They do not have a professional image. Who do you think a manufacturer will respond better to and answer quickly? A well-run company or a one-man show? You guessed right, the company! but most newbies totally overlook this fact and thus present themselves poorly. Importing is not a game, it is a business, the earlier you understand and apply this, the better for you.
Always portray yourself as a serious company when negotiating with suppliers and you will see the respect with which you are treated. It does not matter if you have not yet registered your company. Try doing these five things next you are sourcing for goods online:
a. Get a website with your company’s name/product name as your domain name (e.g. www.watchmart.com).
b. Use email address with your domain name. Never use free email accounts e.g. kunle.oloyede@gmail.com why not kunle.oloyede@watchmart.com?
c. Never approach a company directly from Alibaba. It costs them if you send them a message there and they receive tons of messages from ‘unserious’ people. Always check out their contact details on Alibaba (confirm it is the same on their website) and send directly to their email. Most companies always have secretaries who check their emails daily so it is unlikely your message would go unnoticed or better still fax them. There are a ton of fax services online(both free and paid) online that provide you with facilities to do this.
d. Give yourself a job title. Be the M.D. Managing Director is a very big title in China.
e. Always use an email signature. An email signature is a block of text added at the end of every email you send out. Why not make every email you send to your suppliers stand out and look professional? All you have to do is add your name, post, name of your company, website, contact details and picture of your business card e.g.

Seun Olumuyiwa,
Managing Director,
WatchMart Nigeria Limited,

Email: seun.olumuyiwa@watchmart.com
Phone: (234) 803345678, 80987654.

2. Brand products trap: Never fall this. Never buy brand products from China. Brand products are already goods/products that are established in the market by a company e.g. designer apparels like Nike, Fubu, branded electronics e.g. Toshiba, Pansonic, Sony TV etc, Premier DJ headsets e.g Beats by dre headsets etc. No matter the temptation, no matter how cheap it is never buy BBs, Ipads etc from China. The best you can do is order similar products from same/different companies and brand it your own name. Scammers know that people want brand new BBs, Ipads, hp laptops, DVD box sets at very cheap prices and they prey on that. No matter how good the deal sounds, do not buy! There are no special editions for Chinese people, don’t let anybody fool you.

3. Respond to unsolicited emails: Never respond to unsolicited emails. These are emails from companies you don’t know and have never interacted with. Some Chinese scammers Google companies involved in certain markets in a particular country and send emails on how they can provide certain goods to you. I have seen cases where a Chinese company sent emails to a laboratory in Nigeria informing them how they could help them get chemicals, lab equipments at cheap prices. The email address they used in sending the message was different from what was on the contact page of the website of the real company. If we hadn’t bothered to check, we would have just responded to the same email address (which was a yahoo account) not knowing there were impersonating another company.

4. Don’t know how to use Online Sourcing: Most companies don’t know how to use sourcing sites online. I have seen a lot of people use Alibaba and I marvel. Most people do not know there are criterions that experienced people use to choose suppliers on Alibaba. Everybody talks about gold suppliers, what about assessed suppliers, A&V supplier (A&V means Authenticated & Verified), Escrow payment (what does it stand for?), the difference between a manufacturer and a trading company? Do you know that there is a way that you can search on Alibaba and you will only see products from reliable suppliers only? Watch out for my in-depth tutorial on how to use Alibaba this week.

5. Fail to ask for samples: Most newbies never ask for samples? Why? The only case where asking for samples is impractical is when the product is very expensive, then in such cases you settle for photos and videos. But in other cases, always ask for samples. Why would you place order for 1,000 flash drives or 500 packs of Brazilian hair and not ask for a sample? Always ask for samples, though in some cases it might be free (especially if the cost is not that much) and you will only have to pay for shipping, in other cases, you might have to pay to buy the sample. I believe it is better to pay and see the sample than pay for the entire goods and meet an unpleasant surprise.
One more thing, most Chinese manufacturer always seize the opportunity of you asking for samples to send you all kinds of samples of products they produce that you did not request. Warn them against this practice because sending additional samples will only increase your shipping fee (Be polite and firm, they should only send sample of what you have asked, sending additional unsolicited samples will disqualify them from supplying to your company).

6. Ask for quotes from only one supplier: Never request for quotes from only one supplier. Start from three upwards. I usually start from five though. The reason is this, the more the suppliers, the better it is for you to be able to determine the market average and negotiate better. For example, you want to place order for stock jeans and you have requested for quotes from 10 suppliers and out of these 10, 6 are offering to supply around the same range. Another reason is that you have choices, you can pick and choose, you are not at the mercy of just one supplier, If a supplier is not serious, you move on to the next. You can always know what is possible and what is not from the various answers you get from the manufacturers.

7. Do not verify supplier: Practice the art of verifying your manufacturers. You must verify the company’s contact details (do the contact details on Alibaba match that which is on their website?), their reputation as a manufacturer (All manufacturers are looking for business and to do this, they leave their footprints everywhere online, they are registered in directories, search sites etc).

Another thing you must do is Google the company’s name+scam e.g. Fujian Sunflower Shoe Company+scam, if this company has defrauded someone, chances that you will find stories, complaints online is high. Importers are usually vocal online especially on blogs and forums. If they are not telling the world their scam stories, they are begging experts to verify companies for them. The last step is the business number verification.

Every single company has a business number. The business number is provided by the Government to every single company registered in China in order to monitor them. The good thing about this is that you can verify this number online. The bad news is that there is no centralized database/search engine for this number online. You have to know whether the company is a local one or situated in a province. Luckily in China, that is very easy to do. Every single Chinese company name starts with the name of the area it is situated. Just take a good look at the names of Chinese companies at Alibaba, other sourcing sites online and confirm these for yourself. Once you know the area the company is situated in and you have the business number (if it is not on their site/ Alibaba, ask for it), you go to the site of the appropriate website (known as the Industrial & Commercial Administration Bureau).

The downside of these sites is that everything is in Chinese but with Google chrome (which is a web browser by Google), you can find your way around these sites because Chrome automatically translates to English. I will provide a list of these ICAB websites in coming days.

8. Do not know what they want: Most newbies don’t really know what they want. They want to import jeans, flash drives, laptops etc. But they don’t really know about the products. Before you embark on importing, you must know the product well (you must know your product in detail).

Always have a list of specifications your product must meet. One important thing to note is that the more details you give to the manufacturer, the higher the chances of your supplier producing the product to your exact standard, if you just send mail to a Chinese manufacturer telling you want the price of jeans for example without stating exactly what you want done, not only do you come across as an amateur but the chances are that the manufacturers will see this and use this against you and give you anything they like. Things that you must know about your products are its name (or its alternative name), description, material, colour, common defects (we would talk more on this later today), packaging.

Later Today:

7 more mistakes newbies make

13 hot tips on how to avoid being scammed by Chinese manufacturers

The 4-step process to successful importing from China.

PS: Feel free to ask any questions as regards importing from China and I will do my best to answer each and every one of them whether in this thread or in the coming ones.

Thank you.[/size]

1 Like

Re: 8 Common Mistakes Most Newbie Importers Make When Importing From China. by Raichutz: 11:47am On Sep 18, 2013
Thank you so much for your kindness and time in teaching us to avoid these mistakes in importing from China. Please teach me to verify companies and their authenticity before doing business with them. Next please teach me also to master the details of any product that I want to in into. Finally, though a bit off. Where can I find the address and email addressess and names of importing business abroad online without paying for platinum membership? Thanks for your help.

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