A Buyer that uses MFG.com spells out some great suggestions for Suppliers to be more successful while quoting and collaborating in the marketplace. These are based on real-world experiences.
Of course, many of these suggestions are beneficial for small- and medium-sized manufaturers to apply to their marketing and sales functions everywhere - not just on MFG.com. Bottom line - these can help your business.
If you don't have the 20 minutes to spare to listen, here's a quick recap - but by all means, find the time to listen soon. It's worth it.
10. Don't Create Hurdles For Buyers - Consider what you're asking for before doing business with a Buyer. Asking for tax forms or confirmation of a business' viability too early can turn away prospects. Do it later.
9. Don't Create Hidden Costs - Fuel or materials surcharges and other ancillary costs have the effect of saying "you're going to pay more" and can turn away prospects early in the research cycle. Better to quote higher and give a refund than to convey "soft" pricing.
8. Do Give Surprises - Customers love getting something they didn't expect. Many examples of consumer "surprises" are noted - translating this message into your manufacturing business can pay big dividends in the long run, by sustaining long-term relationships. Lower pricing or "freebies" work, which leads to ...
7. Do Give Price Breaks - If you quote the same for 10 pieces as you do for 100, it can send the wrong message to a Buyer - that your business acumen isn't very strong. It also says one of two things: the Buyer is getting "ripped off," or you don't know how to quote. And if you don't know how to quote, what other holes are there in your business?
6. Do Provide Detailed Information About Your Company - This Buyer wants to see relevant photos, descriptions and other matereials that show your value (equipment, parts, inspection, staff, facilities, etc.) - this applies to any Web presence you have, including your own Web site.
5. Do Double-Check Spelling And Numbers - Making mistakes in initial interactions suggests that future interactions will mean trouble - in shipping, tolerances or quality.
4. Don't Try To Change Terms - Of course, if specs change then it may be necessary. But if the terms are Net 30, or delivery is specified as 3 weeks, honor the request or discuss alternatives.
3. Don't Provide A Quote If It Doesn't Make Fiscal Sense For You - If you can't make money, why quote low? If nothing else, it likely indicates a Buyer you don't want. Don't low-ball. It hurts the industry and can turn-off Buyers.
2. Do Follow-up On All Correspondence - Return calls right away, and reply to e-mails immediately. Be tactful. Set up appointments to discuss issues, suggestions or recommendations.
1. Do Not Ever Argue With The Buyer - Ever. It's not to say the customer is always right, but maintaining decorum and a professional, rational manner is crucial.