Why Good Chinese Suppliers Don’t Reply to Your Emails/RFQs and How to Fix That

Emailing Chinese Suppliers

Why Good Chinese Suppliers Don’t Reply to Your Emails/RFQs and How to Fix That

Emailing Chinese Suppliers

When sourcing from China, it’s important that your emails and RFQs to suppliers are formatted correctly.  What tends to happen when emails/RFQs are formatted incorrectly is that you’ll get a low response rate from quality factories, i.e. the suppliers you want to be working with, and an outweighed response rate from low-end factories or trading companies. We’ve discussed the pitfalls of purchasing from a Chinese trading company previously.

 

Below is an example of a poorly formatted email to a Chinese factory. There are 5 obvious problems with the email that will affect the buyer’s sourcing and supplier verification efforts:

 

  1. The buyer has not introduced their business
  2. The buyer is vague in terms of their product requirements
  3. The buyer used ambiguous/subjective terms (“high quality”) to describe their product requirements
  4. The buyer hasn’t included a spec sheet and has not listed their product specifications
  5. The buyer comes across as an amateur importer and an unprofessional business

 

Hi,

 

I’m looking to buy solar panels and ancillary fittings for my business.

I want high quality panels and the pricing has to be low!

Can you put my brand and logo on the product and the packaging? I want it to look like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needs to have a 20 year warranty

 

Send me your best prices and your product catalogue.

 

Thanks

 

Importers need to understand that it’s a myth and somewhat arrogant to believe that every Chinese factory is dying for your business. This is particularly true for the best manufacturers as they have long-term clients and operate at close to full production capacity. Many simply don’t want the hassle of going through months of negotiations, sample development, and customizations for flaky, unprofessional customers that they perceive as having no hope of doing regular orders.

 

So how do you encourage a high response rate from quality factories?

 

  1. Your email should demonstrate that you are a professional operation and a potential long-term customer for the factory.  In other words, you need to show that you are not a tire kicker
  2. Your email should be concise with clear calls to action
  3. Your email should use the correct terms for components, raw materials, and testing requirements
  4. Your RFQ should contain a detailed spec sheet as an attachment.

 

Below is a correctly formatted email to a Chinese supplier that would likely get a high response rate.

 

Hi Joe,

My name is Stephen and I’m the sourcing manager of Green Gardens Online. We’re the leading online retailer for garden supplies in Portugal . You can find more about our company by following this link  Green Gardens Online.

We are developing a new line of indoor furniture. The product we want to start with is a recline arm chair. The chair is similar to the one on your website/Alibaba, model number ARM003/004.

Please review attached spec sheet/RFQ which has all the product information. You can fill in the details on the attachment.

Could you please provide the following:

–  FOB/EXW unit prices based on 100/500/1000 units

– Available certifications

– Production lead times

Product (see attahed spec sheet)

  • ARMCHAIR
  • 101*97*92cm
  • Fully Reclined Dimensions H:80 x W:97 x D:168 cm

Material

  • UKFR PU & BS5852 foam

Packaging

  • Mail order package is necessary.
  • The package has to pass drop test.
  • Drop test standard: 100cm height, ten times drop. 3 corners, 3 edges, 4 faces.

If you have any questions please let me know. I look forward to your quick response.

Many thanks,

Stephen Green

Managing Director

Green Gardens Online

 

Aside from encouraging a high response rate from the right suppliers, it’s important that Chinese factories understand your exact requirements and reply with the information you need. You don’t want to be going back and forth with 15 emails clarifying that the factory has the right certifications, can meet your lead time requirements, has access to the components you need etc.

 

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to format your email and RFQ so that you get a high response rate from Chinese suppliers that you actually want to be doing business with.  I’ve included a free downloadable email template at the bottom.

 

Introduction

 

You should explain who you are and provide a brief introduction to your company. It’s an opportunity to show that you’re a valuable potential customer to the factory.

 

­­Hi Joe,

My name is Stephen and I’m the sourcing manager of Green Gardens Online. We’re the leading online retailer for garden supplies in Portugal . You can find more about our company by following this link  Green Gardens Online.

 

Details and Spec Sheet

 

Your next step is to outline what you require from the supplier and to list your product requirements.

 

We are developing a new line of indoor furniture. The product we want to start with is a recline arm chair. The chair is similar to the one on your website/Alibaba, model number ARM003/004.

 

It’s important that you attach your product specification sheet, which can double as an RFQ. You should include packaging requirements, any required certifications/tests, and ideally images or product design files on the spec sheet.

 

Please review attached spec sheet/RFQ. You can fill in the details on the attachment.

Could you please provide the following:

–  FOB/EXW unit prices based on 100/500/1000 units
– Available certification
– Production lead times

Product (see spec sheet)
• ARMCHAIR
• 101*97*92cm
• Fully Reclined Dimensions H:80 x W:97 x D:168 cm

Material
• UKFR PU & BS5852 foam

Packaging
• Mail order package is necessary
• The package has to pass drop test
• Drop test standard: 100cm height, ten times drop. 3 corners, 3 edges, 4 faces

 

Avoiding Miscommunication

 

To avoid miscommunication and inaccurate quotes, make sure you use the correct terms for components and raw materials. If you are unsure, do some research on Alibaba to see what the standard word is for that material. Avoid using slang terms or localized words for a product or component.

 

Samples

 

If your product is customized, let them know that you have samples that you can send to the factory for a more accurate quote. Chinese factories are great at copying existing designs.

 

Politeness

 

It should go without saying, but don’t be rude to suppliers. Don’t create unnecessary time constraints on receiving a reply. If you have met the supplier at a tradeshow, remember to address them by their name.

 

If you have any questions please let me know. I look forward to your quick response.

Many thanks,

Liam Pratt

Managing Director

Green Gardens Online

 

Your initial email should be detailed in terms of product requirements but short in length.  A salesperson at the Chinese factory is not going to read a 3-page document, especially when English is their second language.

Click here for a free email template.

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