Everybody likes to have positive negotiation and guidance, in which we untiringly try to tell customers our worth and value for fear that they would ignore us.
From any perspective, it’s the right thing to do, since there’re too many choices for customers. We always need to provide customers adequate reasons or attractions so that they are willing to talk with us and tell us their precise demands, and only in this way can we really win the customers and finally get their orders.
I have written many passages on related topics, including the Seven Systems that help to positively express the professionalism of us and our enterprises, the Argumentation Negotiating Methods which make us more impressive and trustworthy to customers.
So when we are giving positive expression to customers, we need to be self-confident and decisive, instead of being hesitative or irresolute by saying “Maybe” all the time. “Yes” is a “Yes”, and “No” is a “No”. What on earth is “Maybe”? Of course, in order to be self-confident and decisive, we must be well-prepared in two aspects: firstly, the content in our expression should be logical and organized so that it can be easy to understand; secondly, the content in our expression should be substantiated and supported by evidences, otherwise we might be trapped in some customers’ remarks like ”Other suppliers said the same”.
However, people are not always being so reasonable. Nor are some customers, who might not be willing to listen to you even if you talk in a kindly manner. Sometimes, the nature of greed makes one take risks, especially when faced with temptation of low prices. Some very professional buyers would soon recognize that these low prices are impossible and that there must be something underhanded. Their rational analysis and rich experience would help them make the right decision: to weed out the suppliers that offer impossibly low prices.
But not all buyers are so professional. Especially when the lower end customers of supply chain choose to skip their former cooperative distributors who know the Chinese market very well, they are highly likely to fall into a trap.
What’s this concept?
Actually we’ve talked about it many times. Here we might as well discuss it again:
In traditional pattern of international trade, one-level or two-level distributors take control of the lower end of supply chain due to their in-depth understanding of Chinese suppliers and international trading rules. However, with increasingly fierce market competition, especially the rise of B2C platforms, the lower end customers of supply chain find it difficult to compete with online retailers, so they have to skip the higher end of supply chain and try to find Chinese suppliers directly. This change in trade pattern results in the increase of small and fractional orders.
Meanwhile, those lower end customers of supply chain, who don’t have any direct connection with Chinese suppliers in the first place and know little about real suppliers’ situations, are very easy to be deceived, thus making wrong decisions.
I know some customers who were deceived this way. Some of them were actually old hands in international trade, but they still suffered great loss just because they were new in that certain industry. For example, one customer who wanted to buy melamine ended up receiving eight containers of quicklime just because of the low prices they were offered.
So, no matter how patriotic we are, we have to admit that in China there’re some suppliers who have no business ethics in order to survive in competition, and they can always offer lower and lower prices. As a result, sometimes I have to tell my customers, ”In this market, there is no lowest price forever.”
In many cases, the customer suddenly tells us an inconceivably low price. Then we try every means of calculating cost but find the low price is impossible. For this matter, there are two possibilities:
- The customer is tricking us and trying to sound us outon our bottom price.
- The customer does receive such a low price from some supplier who has no business ethics.
We may sound clear and logical when analyzing, but in actual business of international trade when facing the above situation, most of the time we find it hard to tell which possibility it would be. Therefore we should choose an appropriate way to reply in consideration of both possibilities.
We can make a phone call to the customer in a surprised tone, asking whether he or she sends us the wrong price.
Of course, it would make the customer awkward if we denied the low price right away. Instead, we should show that we believe the customer does receive this price but we think the supplier who offers the price is not reliable.
Why is the supplier not reliable? We can tell the customer by calculation of cost.
But why can such a low price be offered? Well, price is decided by cost of all constituent parts of the product, and it can be reduced by using inferior raw materials or components in certain parts. In this way price becomes cheaper. At the same time, however, the product’s quality becomes inferior, too. We need to make clear to the customer that inferior product would bring adverse effect.
Please pay attention that the last point mentioned above is very important. Our argument need to be well-founded and supported by specific data, such as a detailed comparison of your products in different qualities presented in the summary report. If you were not clear about the adverse effect that inferior product would bring, how can the customer trust you?
I believe in our expression of the above points, it’s impossible for the customer to make no comments, especially when the information we provide such as data and comparison are detailed and precise. Most of the time, the customer would be convinced, because our professionalism shows that we are reliable, no matter what the customer’s initial purpose is.
After this, I would usually continue by saying that in fact in the early stages of our company, we had accepted orders in even lower price, but it turned out to be so troublesome because of constant compliant from customers, goods changing and refunding caused by inferior quality of product, which led to great loss of money and energy. Then we learned the lesson and decided not to accept this kind of orders anymore, because after all we have hundreds of employees and can’t afford to risk our company’s reputation.
To sum up, the method is just a combination of bringing out the data and reasoning.
What’s really important for us is to have solid knowledge and understanding of our products. We should collect and accumulate enough data and evidence, both positive and negative, in our everyday work. Without the convincing information, we couldn’t be trustworthy in the eyes of customers.
The purpose to “intimidate” customers is very clear: to make them have doubts about unreasonably low prices, which at least can help them to have a more comprehensive consideration of all aspects. By this means, we might still have a chance in the fierce market competition.