Friday, January 15, 2016

Never, Never Free Samples

A question comes in from a start-up export agent...

I also told him I could send him samples free of charge except for the cost to deliver.
*** Ungh....  even if the supplier is not charging you, there is a fatigue factor wherein the supplier begins to tire of giving you samples...  your hard and fast policy should be no free samples.

1. pay the supplier for the samples, even if they are giving you at-cost pricing... 

a. you set the standard, and other people acting as agents will object to this standard, by default you become outstanding... a better competitor.

b. Even after buying the samples, you can trade them away, but not without far more value in market info...

i. you pass this market info on to the supplier again showing you are a cut above

ii.  You keep the scammers you find to yourself, in your data base...  you have more market info than anyone else, good and bad.

c.  Market info is size of firm (sales? customers?), profile customer base, average invoice, years in business, names of leadership team, form of company, website, average order price.... at which trade shows exhibit...  company sales trends, product trends... any info that matters if you are to help them....  asking for ROI and other financial items is just being nosey, so don't ask for that...  you don't care, they prepay.  And also, what people state publicly, and what they do on their other set of books, can be quite different.  None of your business.

In essence, you present yourself as a no cost team player who will be "their man in USA" who helps them achieve their hopes and dreams (of course, no cost as in not a paid consultant, but you are making money on any products with which they succeed...)  ...  but for you to help them, and be the "go-fer" for all that USA has that this overseas company needs and can pay for, you gotta know them.

A quick test of whether you'll grow with a customer overseas is if they will give you this info.  If not, save your time and money, because only mushrooms grow if fed shit and kept in the dark.  Have you ever met a successful mushroom?

Feel free to forward this by email to three of your friends.