top of page
  • Writer's pictureBen Chu

How a wrong buy-sell engagement frustrate a friendly importer in just few words?

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

I am a trainer of export business back in china and professionally I am highly sensitive to what a supplier behavior could have do good or bad in their first time engagement conversation. In my very recent MFE matching project I have came across an interesting case that worth writing. That supplier was introduced by one of my student and business connection (who is also on ). It supposed to be a nice engagement as it started by an introduction. We group-in by wechat, and as both of us are busy with something else so I left the background information and RFQ package in the group. Here is how the conversation look like (I translated and condensed it a bit):

Me: Hi I heard you do bed pad?

Supplier: Yes! What can I help you?

Me: I put my request on the document already. Do you have a chance to read it?

Supplier: OK.

(after a while)

Supplier: So how is the qty?

Me: I also put it on the document already. Would you pls take a close look?

Supplier: O, OK.


Supplier misunderstood the “qty per container” as the requested qty. Then I said: if you really wanna to assume a qty, please quote me your MOQ. (in fact, my RFQ clearly indicate that we are not able to give any solid forecast at this moment).


Supplier: Would you like a size of 75X90 or 60X90?

Me: Pls quote your regular size, of which I understood is 75x90.

Supplier: Do you want the material be A or B?

Me: Ok, could you please just quote me your standard product with standard offer? We are not yet in this level of detail.

The communicate doesn’t really proceed well, to be honest. The vibe is not right and I don’t feel too comfortable with this conversation. I guess he has nothing wrong of being serious and specific, but he also over-estimate, by intention or not, that the person who enquire would have the same understanding as him. Let me tell you why I am not comfortable, in a very subjective point of view.

  1. He didn’t spent time to read my material. He maybe busy, that I could understand. Buy instead of just asking, he could have said something like “Before I read that, may I ask you one or two important questions?” . That will be a great way to communicate

  2. Quantity, quantity and quantity. I bet most buyers have experience that when dealing with factory’s sales - the only thing they care in the universe is quantity. Do I have to guess whether my order size is good enough for you to even look at me? I know you are trying to evaluate if I am a good customer for you, but you can do it in another way. By asking “how are you going to sell the product” is a much more professional way to estimate the real potential purchase qty. What I would normally do for this kind of situation is to ask for a MOQ. Yea, no qty information. Instead, let me know how small my order qty to start with. And this way, I promise, is a much easy way for most sales to quote too.

  3. The technical detail. Now it is the arguable part. Sometime we complain our supplier does not know what they are doing, but sometime they could have it overdone. Some customer know very well what they want, while some, for whatever reason, do not yet know every details of the project. I couldn’t deny that I am the later. I consider myself an “outsider” to the industry coz’ I am just doing a matching project for . The business model here is that we will deal with all kind of different products/industries so we are not able to know details of everything. Yet, it is a real customer with real, already available demand. This is a real business. The in-depth questions shouldn’t be asked at the stage, especially I just asking for a listed price of standard product with MOQ. As a matter of fact, that could also be a strategy of the seller who want to give you a feel that “I know more than you”. I know some trainer teach exporter this way, just the same as they talk with all business jargon in their class to impress their audience.

So yes, business engagement communication has never been easy. In MFE we try to link buyers with insiders seller, but that’s just the first step (but a big step, we believe). Sourcing, just as much as selling, has never been a easy job.



Recent Posts

See All

Moving the Sun into Nara's hydroponic farm

When people talk about Japanese melon, Hokkaido is probably the most famous spot for this. In fact, Nara also grow high quality melon. How they compete with the unique natural quality and sunshine i


bottom of page