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Wholesale Jewelry / Custom Jewelry

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You’ve made arrangements to begin purchasing from a new supplier, now how do you handle things to ensure you become an asset to them and they treat you and your business as such?

First thing is to make yourself known to their people. Known in a good way, that is, not as the person who is always moaning about something or another. If there are one or twp people who answer the phones, get where you can chat or joke for a bit when you call.

Get to “know” the shipping manager and the warehouse manager. Give them a call when things go right. “I can’t believe I got that last order so quickly.” If they are local, drift back in the back if you are in the building and introduce yourself. Even better, show up a few minutes before the lunch break with a stack of pizzas.
In this same area, do let them know if there are any shipping errors – both ways! Some will even “test” you, including an extra item or two, just to see if you keep them and don’t say anything, or if you report it and have them bill you or offer to return the unordered goods. There is nothing that will build your credibility faster than being totally honest, even when it seems you are telling on yourself.

Get to know the office people. Again, just to talk to on the phone in an easy manner, not all strictly business from the time they pick up the phone. If local, pizza works here, also. And donuts in the morning work, too.

Of course, when it’s time to talk price and the haggling begins, you need to be close to your sales rep or the sales manager. How? By not making waves. By not becoming an accounting nightmare. Keep things moving smoothly with no hitches. And do get to know them as well as you can.

If the company has a “customer council” or some such group they use as a sounding board, make an attempt to get on. The people here are their preferred customers, the ones they go to for answers, but also the first they call when they have a “deal” they want to promote. You want to be on that “first call” list.

Buy some specials. Even if you are a bit cramped for space (or money). Show that you are a team player and that you are willing to help them promote their products by participating in any promotions they may have. Don’t be afraid to ask for a bit beyond the deal offered. Tell them, “Dave, I’m pushing the envelope here to help you guys out. I want to know that if this deal doesn’t go as you hope that I can return the extra goods for credit. I’ll do what I can for you but I need you in my corner for back-up.”
Build your business steadily. Work up to the larger orders. Naturally, don’t turn down a big sale, but don’t buy big early on unless you need to. Let them see a steady progression, proving you are working a plan and are someone who is organized and dedicated to being successful. They have had all the “one hit wonders” they need.

Then, when you feel it’s time to talk about price, you’ve got a good underlying base from which to negotiate. Remind them you’re no trouble, that you don’t make waves. Recall how you participate in their deals and promotions. And, if necessary, hint you may go elsewhere if you can’t get some relief on pricing.

If you are a good customer, they will want to keep you. Rest assured they will do what they can to meet your asking price. They may haggle a bit with you, and you may not get everything you ask for, but there is always Round 2 coming up in six months or so.
Continue to buy as much as you can, continue to treat the folks as friends, attend any functions they may have, if it’s possible. I’m not saying to fly to China for their annual open house, but if you can meet at a trade show, try and spend some time with the people who matter away from the show floor.

Many exhibitors have suites in the show hotels for after show open houses and meet and greets. Take advantage of these and spend some time talking to other customers of the company. See what deals they may be getting, make sure you are truly in the “good customer” ranks.

However, keep in mind there are two things that make the most difference. One is purchase volume. You can be the best in every way, but if you are number 283 on the annual purchases list, don’t expect to be getting the prices the top 20 are. And even if you are up in the top 20 or 50 and a pain in the butt to deal with on a day to day basis, don’t expect the best deals, either.

Be a good customer and a good guy, it pays in the long run.

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