In this article, I am going to show you how to reach out to suppliers and what questions you need to ask them so you can make the best deals. So will reach out to the potential suppliers whom you found and put on your list. After reading this article, you will know perfectly well hot to get in touch with them and what questions you should ask them.
Also, please don’t be scared because I know that this the scariest part for many people. From our experience with many owners and other people, we are aware that a lot of them get freaked out when it comes down to actually talking to someone about their potential products.
However, it seems like picking up the phone and actually calling to your potential suppliers like calling to some kind of authoritative figure that you feel that you are not worthy of talk with them. Because that is what we have found people are thinking of when they speak with the supplier. And you know what, the reality is that the suppliers are just sales people.
Their job is to sell you, and if they are good, they are going to do whatever they can to help you, to be nice to you, to provide you with all the information you asked for and even volunteer for any information like tips and stuff like that to help you sell your product.
So don’t be freaked out and don’t be nervous just pick up the phone and start calling.
What to do if you have to leave a voicemail?
You know what, in a lot of cases you have to leave a voicemail you and here is what you want to say literally word by word work. Here is what to say:
“Hi, my name is [your name], and I am interested in private labeling your [the name of the product that you want to manufacture]. I have looked at your website and I have a few questions that would like to speak with you about over the phone. I am interested in moving forward quickly, so I would appreciate a call back at your earliest convenience. You can reach me at [your phone]. That number again is, [your phone]. Thank you and I look forward to speaking with you soon.”
They will then call you back because you left a very nice message and you are clear that you wanted to talk to them on the phone. So it is a really simple message and make sure that write it down because that is exactly what you want to say.
If/When they pick up the phone:
Here is what you want to say if someone just picks up the phone:
“Hi, my name is [your name], how are you today? [WAIT FOR ANSWER]. Excellent, I am interested in private labeling your mineral makeup. I found some information on your website, but I have some additional questions.”
If a receptionists pick up the phone:
Sometimes a receptionist will pick up, and if they do, then you will have to ask for to the person who actually can help you. So you can say something like:
“Hey, I would like to talk about private labeling your product so who would be the right person to speak to?”
So once you actually do get on the phone with the right person, this is when we bring on the questions!
The questions that you are about to see are gathered from the top e-commerce specialists in the world. If they already have answered some of the questions on the website you might ask them just to check out if they are correct. Moreover, if you want to make great deals with the suppliers then you inevitably should ask all of them.
Let’s run through what are the best main questions.
“Do you handle the labeling and packaging as part of your service? If so, are there additional costs for these services or are they included in the unit prices?”
You want to know is the product going to be sold to you in 5-gallon bucket so you have to bottle it up and package it yourself or if they offer that. Because frankly, you do not want to add a complexity of having to do the bottling and labeling and stuff like that by yourself to start. You want to make sure that you can find the best provider for the first
You want to make sure that you can find the best provider for the first product if it all possible. And by the way, many of them will actually do the graphic work for labels and the boxes (if you want boxes). So that is why the next questions that you can ask is:
“We have our own graphics design team, so I will just need the tube and label specifications and sample artwork. Are you able to provide
So the reason for this is that you really want to your own unique artwork and hire a team or a freelancer to do the artwork for you. Just make sure that you do the branding side for this, so you do not want them to do your artwork. Make sure that you can get those labels specifications for your initial product so that you can just send it to a designer to do the design for you.
Now the next questions that you are going to ask is:
“What kind of labels can you print on, do you do printing in house? If so what are the added costs?”
So they may say that you need to get your labels printed it at label supplier. In which case you will take the artwork they gave you, then you will find out the type of labels they used, and you will find a label supplier.
Your supplier may not actually print on labels in house in which case they will give you the specifications, and you will actually have to send them your own labels. However, if they do print labels in
However, if they do print labels in house then you should ask what is the cost, so that is why you ask those questions. So the next question you ask is:
“Once we provide the label design, are you able to ensure look at the label and validate it meets all required guidelines from the FDA and any other regulatory requirements?”
You ask this question because often your topical product or ingestible goods and / or for some other products you have got to have certain things on your label to make it legal and to meet all the certification.
Supplier or Manufacturer will definitely know what this stuff is. Mainly you want just to make sure that they can verify what is on the label for you, so you are not responsible for validating the label as legal and then compliance. Any good manufacturer will do this and they will totally validate and make sure that the label is compliant for this type of product because they are the manufacturer of that product and they will know.
Now the next question you need to ask is:
“Do you offer multiple packaging options and sizes?”
So the reason you ask this is because maybe you want to sell different sizes and options of your products and most suppliers will have both options. However, some suppliers might only have one size or one package option for the products that you are trying to sell.
If you come down to two suppliers and one of them has more options you probably want to go to with the one who has more options because it gives you more freedom and flexibility for you to go forwards. Now if they do not and you can only find one supplier, and they only have one size for whatever the thing you are selling is, you definitely want to know that upfront.
The next question that you’re going to ask is:
“What is your usual lead time for a first order assuming everything goes without a hitch?”
The reason you want to know this is because if one guy says that is going to take them a three months to produce your product and the next guy say that it is going to take them 3 weeks then you should probably want to go with the supplier who is going to take three weeks to produce your products. You want your product to be produced quicker in all possible ways.
That is why the next question is:
“What is your usual lead time for subsequent shipping orders?”
So after you have produced the product once and you have got all of the work and all the labels and everything, then how long does it take them to produce at that time? The producing time will definitely be shorter that the second time around. The first order will be the hardest, and then it should be somewhat shorter for the second one.
Question #8 is:
“What is your monthly fulfillment capacity?”
This is an excellent question because it tells them that you are looking and to be a big buyer. A buyer with a high number of units per month. So that question let them know that you are serious and prepares them for the next question which is:
“We are currently not selling products in this category, so we are looking to run a quick market test. What is your minimum order quantity to help us from our market tests?”
Do you see how you are going to position your Desire for a small order quantity in a way that doesn’t make it seem like you are inexperienced and you can not afford more? You make it look like a tactical business decision rather than a cash flow issue.
Also, you may have realized that I have not told anything about cash yet and you have not asked them about that. This is on purpose. You do not want to make the conversation about prices at this time. So you want to know what is their max, what they can handle and what is their minimum order quantity (MOQ).
The next question #10 you might want to ask is:
“What is the price per unit at the [minimum order quantity they give you] and what are the subsequent volume prices?”
You should try to get prices for 100 units, 250 units, 500 units, 1000 units, 2500 units and 5000 units. Moreover, sometimes they will not have this information handy, so they might have to get back to you later, and that is fine.
However, asking about these quantities also helps them realize that you are a serious buyer.
So you want to know what that price brake down is. For example, you can buy your first 1000 units for your launch. However, if the thing are going well, then you would probably want to buy 5,000 or 10,000 units. You never know.
The next question eleven you have is:
Do you have a product sheet or other marketing materials that I can get detailed products information from?
So this is a great question because it gives you way more insights under the product and selling points that you can use in your copy when you are writing about the product on your online store. In that way, you will just get more familiar with the product. So you want to see whatever they have marketing materials or not. Of course, it is possible for them not to have these materials, but you should ask them anyways.
The next question you should ask is:
“Do you sell this product under your own brand? If so where can I see it?”
Now you should not care if they are selling it in on their own (of course do not tell them this.) The real reason why you want to see it is because you want to see how they are actually marketing the product. You want to see how they are using the product information in their detail page when they are selling it.
You just want to get marketing ideas from them.
You do not need to care if they are selling on their online store or anywhere else. It does not matter in which platform they are selling it. It also doesn’t matter if they are selling it super cheap or super expensive. You should not compete for prices; you should be competing with better marketing and better promise.
You should not even care if they are selling it all at all. You just need to get some information to look at it, so that is why you ask them this question.
The next question you ask is:
“I would like to get a sample. Can you ship it right away for second-day delivery? I do not mind paying for the shipping costs if you would like. I would like the product labeled with your brand if you have one, or at least a sample label so I can get an idea of your label printing quality.”
You ask this question if they are doing the label printing by themselves. It is usually going to cost you around 20 bucks for the shipping alone if you want it fast but that is ok. You just want to keep things moving and going. You want to get them to know that you are serious.
So that is why tell them to ship you that stuff straight away so that you can get the sense of their product. Moreover, this also tells you how on the top of their game they are. If they cannot ship their products right away maybe they’re not the best supplier.
Question #14 is:
“What is the next step to get going on our initial order if we decide to move forward with your company?”
They are probably going to send you some intake form, or they will probably have some questions for you or any formation you need to fill out. So you want to know what that step is. If you like the sample they have sent and you want to move forward, then you want to have all information handy and ready, so you just get it on your first phone call.
Question 15 is:
“Is there anything else that I should know about the product of your company that I have not asked and that you think I should be aware?”
Most of the time they will say “No” because you kind of covered anything because nobody actually asked them this level of in-depth serious of questions, so you probably have been their toughest person today as far as the information you want. However, you want to ask this question just to find out because maybe there is stuff that you may miss.
Those are all the questions that you are going to need to ask any suppliers before choosing one. So one thing to remember is the rule of three. So after asking a few suppliers all of these questions you will start to see the pros and cons of going with one versus another based on how they respond and stuff like that.
And it is important to speak with at least three suppliers even if you think that the first person that you have talked to is a super awesome.
In that way when you are getting started you will have sort of a comparison and as you get more experienced talking to a single supplier might be okay. However, at first, you want to talk to at least two to three people so you just kind of get three different experience and you can compare them.
You also want to be conversational. Ask these questions in a conversation tone and don’t just kind of be a robot or be aggressive. It is about the relationship, and this is why you are actually getting them on the phone so that you can build this relationship.
Of course, you can do this communication via email if you have to. You can email if you absolutely have to but hey… it is much better to speak with them in person on the phone and built some connection with them. You are going to get better deals and better insights, and you are gone you are going to know someone in the company, and that relationship is very important for you.
So now you might think why you should go through all of these three phases. Why should you go to Google and then narrow it down and then why you should reach out?
Well here is why: if you try to do everything sequentially and your thoroughly examine each potential person instead of just going through the first 20 pages and listing all the people, then you will just going to burn yourself out. You want to do it in phases, so you do not burn yourself out. So what you want to do is to (1) make the big list and then (2) narrow the list and then (3) reach out.
This will allow you to move forward much quicker than if you are trying to do it one by one. So this is the fastest way for you to find and reach out to the best manufacturers and suppliers in the world.
All steps again are:
1- Go to Google and study 30 or 50 pages of potential suppliers. In this step just make a list of the websites. Moreover, you can do that real fast as I am showing you here: https://cloudcart.com/blog/how-to-find-manufacturing-companies/
2 – And then you can go back and spend a couple of hours to just kind of narrowing down your list of results to 5 or 10 people as I am showing you here: https://cloudcart.com/blog/ultimate-guide-winning-tactics-for-finding-manufacturing-companies-2-3/
3 – And then you can start reaching out as I am showing you in this article.
So it is much better to do it in phases because it is actually easier to get the whole project done in that way rather than just spending all your time on one person. So this is how you find your suppliers and then reaching out to them step-by-step. Hope it was valuable to you and now it is your turn to find your best suppliers.