As a kid I was always fascinated with the story of Christopher Columbus.
I admired his gaul to reach for the undiscovered, the unknown.
I could almost hear him in an Italian accent saying: The world-a, she is-a round-a, not-a flat-a
In his day, he was right. There were vast oceans and tremendous dangers and costs and it took months to cross the sea.
Fast forward a few hundred years. If he were alive today, I do believe Mr. Columbus would say: The world-a is no longer round-a. Its-a flat-a again.
The dangers of crossing an ocean have dropped to a few hours and the risk and cost are practically nothing.
Its like the world is flat again…
We live in a time where you can get items from almost anywhere in the world in a few days and for very little money.
We can look into an electronic box and see and talk or type to almost anyone, anywhere in the world….for FREE!
Don’t speak the language? No problem. One click and the entire written message is translated into any of 100 plus languages.
Manufacturing costs in say China are a fraction of the cost for the same items made in say the USA. And yes their quality is fine, BTW.
So why do people still have reservations about getting their items manufactured and shipped from outside of their own country?
The simple answer is, I don’t know.
But this wouldn’t be a very good blog post if I didn’t show you how to do this better and make you feel comfortable with ordering your items from overseas, would it?
Here are some comments that people typically say to me.
Mark, what if they take my money?
What if they somehow try and take advantage of me?
How do I know if I can trust them?
I don’t know how to communicate with them or I’m uncomfortable with their language.
OK, Here are some ways to make you feel more comfortable…
I think we all sometimes think we’re the only honest person in the world. Obviously, not true. 99% of people are honest. We all just assume the 1% are far greater in number than they really are.
Just because someone is from a different country or speaks a different language by no way means they don’t have integrity or pride in their work.
I’ve had the good fortune to travel to almost everywhere in the world I wanted to go.
Before I traveled, I saw the differences. After I traveled, I see the similarities.
So accept that most people will be honest and they have incentives to do a good job to get and keep your business.
If you can get over your fears, what’s the next step?
Protecting Yourself with Suppliers
I’m going to presume you use Alibaba.com. If not, its a great resource.
Although this article is not about Alibaba, Alibaba is a database of suppliers and manufacturers based in China.
It’s where you start your search for products.
Alibaba has several features that you should be aware of and use.
One is the gold star rating. This is actually purchased by the supplier. However to maintain their rating they have to meet and maintain certain standards This gold start it is not cheap and if a supplier is will to buy this it is a sign that they are an established company and will be serious about their business.
It is created annually and the rating will also tell you how many years they have been a gold star member.
Another is the response rate. This measures how well and how fast they respond to inquiries. To me this shows how much they value you. I want a supplier who will actually talk to me.
The escrow feature. Most suppliers will prefer that you wire transfer them the money. This is fine and common in international business. However, once wired, you have no recourse.
This is why Alibaba will keep any of your payments in escrow until you agree to release them.
Paypal and Credit Card If you look at the suppliers information they will show how they can be paid. Some will list paypal or a credit card. I prefer to use this type of payment, simply because if I do have an issue, I am protected.
Skype. Some but not all suppliers will be available to talk to you using the audio or even video aspects of Skype. I am a big proponent of this in that you get to see them and they get to see you. Win, win.
Language. They will speak passable English. Even they’re the only one at their company, you will be able to communicate. You don’t have to speak their language. Just speak, slowly and clearly and you’ll be fine.
The last time I thought about something being “Lost in Translation” was the Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson movie.
Getting the supplier to trust you
What do you mean? They doubt you….It’s your responsibility to convince them you’re serious and trustworthy.
Try and see things from their prospective. To them, you’re just an email inquiring about a custom order, usually for a small quantity. Accept what we said earlier, everybody believes they are honest and its the other people who are not.
The simple solution is to be professional. Use good grammar and business language and etiquette. Honor your commitments and be punctual.
Above all, be polite. One thing I have found and appreciate is that most non English speaking cultures value politeness and respect much more than western cultures.
Just Jump in…
I’ll just say in closing, There are never any guarantees in life. But the overwhelming chance is that things will work out.
But even in the worst case, your downside is only a few hundred dollars. Not life changing is it? The upside, however is a monthly passive income of several thousand dollars.
Success favors the bold. Put your fears aside. Just get started.
What would you like to add about your experiences with suppliers. Let everyone know in the comment box below.
Mark Scott Adams is a serial entrepreneur who has started, built and sold six businesses. He has sold millions of dollars of physical products on and offline over the last two decades. He is currently a speaker, author and successful Amazon Seller. To take his free amazon sellers training click here. To Get his free product checklist list click here