Industry Case

Foreign Trade Case: a Tortuous Negotiation Experience

The sample express fee can often cause changes in the commercial interests and emotions of both buyers and sellers. You may need to control your persistence and balance your commercial interests.
How did you deal with it?
                                               Foreign Trade Case: a Tortuous Negotiation Experience

By ZCLong | FOB Business Forum

Like other foreign trade salespersons, I also work in front of the computer every day, looking for customers, responding to customers, sending samples, and a series of foreign trade business tasks. Sometimes I get excited about an order that has been negotiated, regardless of the amount of the order. Sometimes I am very disappointed about an order that has not been negotiated.
I once met such a customer, who gave great hope at the beginning, then "extinguished" it, and after some setbacks, it was re-ignited. But it was this customer who made me understand that it is important to stick to the principle, even if you might lose the order, you must stick to it.

First cooperation
One day, I accidentally received a response from a customer who sent me a development letter from country X. The customer was Mike. He did not ask for a quotation but directly asked to send samples. I thought it was very strange. I replied to him and asked him what he wanted. Sample, and attach our company's information. The customer did not respond, so I stopped paying attention.
After a while, just at the time of the Spring Canton Fair, Mike sent a reply asking about our booth number at the Canton Fair. After learning that we were not participating in the Canton Fair, he asked whether the product he wanted last time could be sent first. Show him the picture, and then quote, I naturally agree. Soon, I will quote. After the quotation, Mike said he would send me his samples, and I received the samples a few days later.
Next, we will give Mike a sample. After the sample is ready, I asked him how to express it to him. He also asked if the sample express fee can be refunded if the order is placed. I told him that under normal circumstances, the sample express fee needs to be paid by the customer.
After that, everything went smoothly, and after the samples were ready, we would express them to country X. But after Mike received the sample, he found that the sample was damaged during transportation. Mike blamed me and said that the sample was delivered to him by express delivery. I explained to him that it was damaged during transportation, and promised that the bulk goods would be ready. In the end, Mike placed the order without saying more. The first time the order was not large, and the bulk of the goods had not been shipped yet, I just took a picture to show Mike. He was very satisfied and paid very quickly. Even if the first order is over.
Soon after, Mike sent two sets of his samples, and he also inquired about one of the wooden display racks. This product is very bulky. Mike insisted on sending his samples over and let me arrange the production according to his samples. . After receiving this huge sample, I think this customer really has a scale.
During the production of samples, Mike asked twice to improve the samples, and I also made samples twice in accordance with his request. After the samples were completed, it happened to be the Canton Fair in October, and he asked me to take the samples to the booth of the Canton Fair for him to confirm. At the Canton Fair, he and I finally met. He seems to be a very shrewd businessman. When we met, we had a very happy conversation, and he said that he would send me samples again after the Canton Fair and promised to place many orders for me in the future. I was also very happy to hear that.
After meeting this time, I sighed, if every customer was like Mike, placing orders and payments quickly and decisively, how great it would be! However, the progress of the next thing makes people feel depressed.

Freight controversy
Subsequent orders were too late to make progress, and the original order for wooden products display racks, which had no suspense, had problems first.
At the Canton Fair in October, Mike saw this sample and asked me to make some adjustments and improvements. I naturally agreed, and soon after the Canton Fair was over, according to Mike's request, I made a new sample again. Because the sample volume is too large, I suggested to Mike that the new sample should be photographed for him to confirm, because he has already seen the prototype of this sample, and at the same time ensured that the new samples are made according to his requirements, and they will definitely not be released problem. However, Mike insisted on expressing the new samples to him.
In desperation, I had to find out the specific courier fee. What I learned is that the express fee for this sample is more than $2,000. I hope he will pay the courier fee first and then express the samples to him. Later, Mike himself also learned about the freight for this sample to be paid locally, and got a quotation of $5,000 from the local express company. Mike said at the time that the local express company in Country X was a "thief" and the charges were too high. He hoped to use our company's agent for prepaid express delivery. I have no objection to this, but I still hope that he can arrange the freight before sending him the samples. After all, the freight involved is a lot of money.
A few days later, I didn’t see the payment in the account, so I sent him an email asking him whether the courier fee had been arranged. Unexpectedly, Mike said, “You sent me all the PIs. I’m an old customer of yours, and I also spent I have paid a lot of money to send you samples. Don’t be so stingy and don’t waste time. Hurry up and send me the samples without delay.”
I replied: "Although you are our old customer, our company stipulates that the freight is paid by the customer. Payment must be made before we can send it."
He replied: "I will send the money right away, don't postpone it any more, send me the samples, don't waste my time."
A few days later, I saw that the freight had not been credited, so I sent another email to ask Mike if he would arrange the remittance. Unexpectedly, he replied angrily: "No, thank you for distrusting me. I will find other suppliers. They will understand me better and cooperate well. Please stop wasting time now."

Sample courier fee dispute
Sink into the sea
My persistence with no room for negotiation has made Mike very angry. Maybe he really thinks I don't trust him enough. After all, since he is an old customer, express samples before receiving the freight, there shouldn't be any problems. However, for me, if he agrees to express samples without receiving the freight, he will also be at risk, because Mike is just an "old customer" who has only worked with one order.
After a while, when I contacted Mike again, he seemed to have disappeared from the earth and never responded. I called him many times, but he didn't answer it either. At Christmas, I sent him holiday greetings, but he still didn't reply. I am also puzzled. I think he may have found another supplier, but there is one thing I can't figure out. Since he has already spent so much money to send me samples, he shouldn't ignore me.
However, I have not given up on this customer. I will send a greeting email to Mike every important holiday in the West. Although Mike still seemed to have evaporated.

I guess that maybe during the time Mike disappeared, he didn't find other suppliers, but waited for us to step back first. If this is the case, there is only one problem, that is, he is not eager to place an order, but hopes to get me to give in by neglecting me.
My guess turned out to be a fact. Because the turnaround suddenly appeared soon after.
That was the first day of work after the Spring Festival this year. Mike suddenly sent me an email with the subject of ORDER. He said in the email that he needs to confirm the order and see when we can send the samples to him. I still told him that he had to pay the courier fee before he could deliver the goods, so he asked how much? I quoted him the previous shipping price, which was more than two thousand dollars. He said that it is too expensive, so don't express it, just send him the accessories.
I delivered the accessories quickly, and Mike placed the order soon after receiving the accessories.
For this long negotiation, I finally asked Mike to change his mind. Before that, Mike had always suggested that because the courier fee is too expensive, do not express samples in the past, just confirm through the pictures, and always ensure that the samples are made as they are, there will be no problems. After several months of "hard" negotiations, Mike finally adopted a compromise plan, using express parts to confirm the samples.
Of course, I believe that it is not just the shipping cost that can keep Mike from giving up. My repeated insistence and the peaceful attitude towards customers, as well as the quality assurance of the samples, may have made Mike "reluctant to leave".s reason.
From the process of this negotiation, it can be seen that Mike has a bad temper. When dealing with such customers, one should pay attention to the tactful tone of his speech and not "hard-to-hard" with him. In addition, we must adhere to our own principles and handle matters in accordance with the company's policies. What we need to insist on is still to insist, and we must not compromise our customers when there is a risk to ourselves.

foreign trade,bargaining


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