TAS 435 China Agent Speaks OUT and Saved us $5k on Bad Product (Don’t Skip These 4 Steps)

How do you know that the supplier you’ve picked is trustworthy? Are you nervous about doing with overseas suppliers? You aren’t alone! On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Scott as he breaks down steps you can take to make sure you are on the right track and not placing your business and money at risk. Scott also shares a helpful story from his own experience that will help you understand the lessons and steps he goes over. Make sure you have pen and paper ready, you don’t want to miss this vital and relevant episode!

Take the Time to Build Relationships

As a species, we are relational beings. But did you know that building and cultivating relationships can help you in business in addition to your personal life? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott explains the impact you can have by taking the time to build and develop meaningful relationships. The goal isn’t to have just a one-sided relationship, a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship provides a net positive to both parties. What steps can you take today to start building thriving and strategic business relationships? Make sure to listen to this episode to find out!

Don’t Skimp on Having Your Suppliers Inspected!

One way to ease your concern when conducting business from overseas is to hire an independent inspector to visit your supplier in person and go through their facility and production process. But where do you start? How do you connect and build a relationship with an independent inspection agent? On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott explains how he went through the process himself and how sellers like you can do the same! Don’t be too intimidated by this whole process, take your time, do your research and trust people like Scott who have been there and what to help business owners like you make the right decisions. Make sure to check out the resources links at the end of this post!

Your Relationship with Your Overseas Contact could be a Gamechanger!

You might think that all this talk about building a relationship with an overseas contact is too good to be true. It’s not, it can also save you a large amount of money in the long run. On this episode of The Amazing Seller, you’ll hear from Scott as he walks through how his contact in China took the initiative and saved his over $5,000 in potentially unusable products. From there, Scott and his business partner were able to further connect with and make an offer to this contact to work directly for them as an independent contractor and inspector. Imagine what a connection like that could do for your brand! To hear more about Scott’s story, make sure to listen to this informative episode!

Four Steps You Can’t SKIP

Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a set of guidelines or steps that could clearly mark out how sellers that are new to dealing with overseas suppliers should proceed? Good news, there is! On this episode of The Amazing Seller, Scott shares four steps that can help sellers like you as you proceed with building relationships and establishing business connections overseas.

  1. Always get inspections by an agent or a third party that you can trust.
  2. If you can help it, don’t ship to Amazon directly for your first product.
  3. Request a small order to test the quality of the product yourself.
  4. Get pictures along the way.

If you’d like to hear more about these helpful steps that Scott has provided, make sure to listen to this episode as he expands on these steps and more!

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER

  • [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
  • [3:00] Connections and relationships are HUGE!
  • [6:00] Scott tells his story of building a relationship that saved him money.
  • [12:30] You really need to have your suppliers inspected.
  • [17:30] Why you need to build relationships with your overseas contacts.
  • [33:00] 4 Steps you need to follow.

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TRANSCRIPT TAS 435

TAS 435: China Agent Speaks OUT and Saved us $5k on Bad Product (Don't Skip These 4 Steps)

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:10] Scott: Well, hey hey what's up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 435 and today we're going to be talking about a China agent that…

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…speaks out and actually saved us $5,000 on a bad product that would have been shipped but because we built the relationship and we knew what to look for and we made those right connections in the beginning, they saved us from losing $5,000. Because that's actually what it would have cost us, probably a lot more if we continued down this path. Now, I'm going to give you these four steps and I do not want you to skip them.

Again, this is us learning through this process and this is a pretty big lesson and a big takeaway because our agent is really kind of speaking to us a lot about stuff that's happening behind the scenes that isn't really talked about too much and was news to me. So I'm going to share that with you today and yes in the beginning you might have heard a couple of shout outs from Dallas and Louisiana. That is from our TAS meetup and you're going to be hearing more of those. So everyone that had attended our TAS meetup in Dallas, I want to say you guys rock. We had about 30 people show up which was amazing.

A lot of fun, a lot of great stories and I got some of those caught on tape which is pretty awesome. So I'm going to be able to share some of that stuff and a lot of takeaways but that will be coming up probably in the next episode of Ask Scott. I'll probably share a little bit more on that and then I've got some episodes coming up where I'm going to highlight some of these sellers and some of these stories so you can actually learn  from those. So, before I jump in I did want to remind you the show notes to this episode can be found at theamazingseller.com/435. That will be the show notes, the transcripts and I'm going to also add the email script that we have used in the past as our template. We actually do it very similar now but it's a great place to start.

[00:02:06] Scott: My new partner has taken this and really put it on steroids in a sense because they've been reporting back to me what they've been doing, what's been working and actually a huge, huge nugget which I'm going to share with you on how you can start talking outside of Alibaba and really start to build this relationship. Now, let me just talk about where this really came from and where I wanted to share the story and I was talking to my new partner and I'm like, “This is something that I think we need to expose in a sense. Because a lot of people aren't aware of this and especially people that are just getting started, they need to know the stuff.”

And if it doesn't happen to you that's great but if it does, you're going to wish that you knew some of the stuff. The one thing I want to stress here and this goes in anything in business. Anything, it doesn't matter what it is. Connections and then the relationship are huge, absolutely huge. I mean, that goes all the way back to just the concrete guy that I'm working with locally here, him and his connections I just had him introduce me to some tree guys that will cut some trees for me. so, that's really how it works but I built a really good relationship with my  concrete guy so now he starts to lead me to other people that he basically will vouch for.

I think that's huge. Same thing goes when you're dealing with supplier or an agent in China or anywhere for that matter because now they are able to lead you to maybe better factories or maybe better people that can help you with a product that they may not offer and that's pretty much what's happening right now. Let me just kind of give you guys a little bit of a background so this way here you can see where this is going and how it all happened. Now, we have started this entire process exactly to a tee, how we teach it and how we share what we are doing. This new brand is exactly to a tee.

[00:04:06] Scott: I get a lot of people that say, “Scott, what's the secret? Like come on man, you're not sharing everything.” I'm like, “No, that's basically everything that we're doing is exactly what we're doing like it's exactly to a tee. Like there's no hacks, there's no like, there's this one secret that we do that makes everything happen.” Takes work, it works getting beat down a little bit at times, I mean we could probably do an interview with my partner and they would probably tell you that. There's a lot of late nights, a lot of mornings where you wake up and you're like man, I just feel like confused or I feel like maybe that supplier I thought was great, now I'm not thinking so much.

That stuff happens like every single time you launch a product. Something will happen that you'll scratch your head and it's just part of business. It doesn't matter again if I got to my concrete guy because it's pretty current for me. Like he has problems with his supplier, with the color that he's getting for the concrete. Like there's always going to be things along the line if you're in business. Just the way it happens. But here's what happened. So not to take you through all of the details of like how we established that relationship but basically the cliff notes version is we did exactly what we talk about. You contact people on Alibaba and a lot people say you still can't find products on Alibaba because everyone's going there.

That's not where we find products. That's where we find a product that's similar to ours, we find an agent that can lead us to that factory and then from there we can build a relationship and then if we want to like I'm going to share with you, we can build that relationship so strong that they will actually work for us privately which is pretty awesome. Actually Dom Sugar had talked about this, he actually did the exactly this, what we're talking about. Now he's got a little mini team over there which can really, really help you. You'll save money but you'll be protected in a sense to where they will make sure that they go to bat for you. Like you're not going to be getting bad product or you're not going to be taken advantage of.

[00:06:07] Scott: If you create that great relationship. So everything was going great pretty much for the most part. We've launched probably now about nine SKUs, there's been some back and forth with different manufacturers, different factories. Some of them we started a relationship and then we ended it because they just couldn't deliver what we wanted, whatever but it always starts with a same type of email. That email I gave you guys the script before in the past but I'm going to include it in the show notes and it's pretty straight forward. It's you introducing yourself, your business and then asking like a handful of questions just to get the conversation started.

Then from there you can go back and forth and if you want to use Alibaba's email service you can and then you can go to Skype if you want to and I'm going to give you an app right now… Actually in a second I'll give it to you when I get to that point that my partner had found and that's what they are using. It's been great. They love using it and it's not really on Alibaba or even on Skype for that matter so you almost feel like you can talk a little bit freer or they can especially if they think that they're being like looked at or under a magnifying glass because the reason why a lot of the manufacturers want their agents to talk through Alibaba or even their own email, that's a company's email it's because they want to see what the conversation is going back and forth.

Well, we actually went outside of that so there's nothing that can really be tracked unless they want it to be tracked. For us we don't really care it's them that they would be protecting. But anyway, let me just kind of get into the story. So we had another order coming through and it was very similar, same type of material… Like let's say if you're making a garlic press and you wanted to make a lemon press, it would be the same factory that's going to probably make that.  They deal with like stainless steel so if I wanted to have a set of skewers made, I can have those made from the same company because they deal with stainless steel. You get what I'm saying. So basically all we did is we said, “Okay we got an idea for our next product with this type of material and we want to see if you can make it, can you make it?”

[00:08:16] Scott: And they said yeah we can. They sent us samples, we're happy. We're getting ready to go and we wanted these for fourth quarter. So we were really excited because these were going to be launched in for fourth quarter, just before fourth quarter but as of right now they're probably not going to be here. Boo hoo, I feel down about it but it's not going to make or break us actually for this holiday season because we are already set up. But again, just to let you guys know like we were all ramped up ready to go. These things were coming. Like we had these things ready and now they're not coming and I'm going to tell you why here in a second. We went ahead, we paid our deposit just like we normally do.

Typical deposit is 30%. Sometimes it's higher, it's 50% but generally it's 30% and then that gets a production going. So we get the production going after we validated that we wanted them and we confirmed that the samples were good, we got our box done. Everything is good. Our logo, everything is ready to go and our agent that's been working with us basically sent over some pictures because she does the inspection for us which is pretty awesome. So she goes ahead and takes some pictures of them and she didn't like the way they looked. Now she didn't like the way they looked.

She could have passed that on to us and hope that we didn't see it. To be honest with you, it probably could have scooted by. But she caught it and she's like, “I don't like the way it looks, I'm going to have them redo them.” I'm like, “Well, that's going to tie up time but if you can do it then great.” Well, she goes back to the boss and the boss says, “Send them through, don't tell them about it. Just send them through.” So our agent says, “I don't like that, you're a good customer, I've been dealing with you now for almost six months and I don't want these things to go to you so I'm going to tell them that you said that they are going to put the blame on us that we don't want to accept them. “

[00:10:08] Scott: Now she's doing this because she technically cares about our business but she's also a young lady that's, I don't want to say new but she's young and she wants to good for herself and family. I'm going to tell you guys too here in a second some of the dirty little secrets that a lot of people aren't aware of that's happening over there and how they really don't get paid all that much. They work to get orders and if they don't get orders they don't get paid and they don't get paid much even when they do get an order. But they're hustlers, this girl is a hustler and now my partner is educating her through this process as well. I know I'm jumping around a little bit but I'm trying to give you context as far as how we got to the point where we are.

But so she basically says we're not going to accept these. You're not going to accept these because I'm going to tell them you're not happy with these. Like I wouldn't accept these. Good thing she did because we looked at them a little bit closer with some better pictures and we're like, “Yeah, that…” Some of them might have slid through but then we could have gotten some negative reviews. It's just not worth it. It's just not worth it. So our agent goes back and says that and they said well they are going to have to wait now because we already have orders in front of them, we're not going to remake them until after all of those orders are done.

That's not really good. The problem is, is they are also the manufacturer of one of our best selling products. So that's not good. Because now we have ordered probably about 10,000 units to date right now and we are ordering more and I already said that to my partner. I'm like, “We got to find another supplier, another manufacturer anyway. So this s going to be an excuse to do that.” So anyway, they weren't going to bend and as of right now, as of today that I record this they still said no we're not going to. Our agent was going to go back one more time and insist that they do it and we're going to see what happens.

[00:12:05] Scott: Fingers crossed, we still could get them for fourth quarter but if we don't no big deal. But that order would have cost us, it was a small order, about $5,000 and we would have been out $5,000 if those were rejected or if we started getting negative reviews and we wanted to send those back or we got the order here. It's going to be harder to get a refund and harder to ship them back once they are here. So that's why you definitely want to get an inspection whether you have your agent do it, if you trust your agent to do it or if you want a third party company to do it. I get asked a lot of times, “Who do you use for third party?” The ones that I recommend… There's two.

One that has gotten really good feedback but they are really strict in a good way is Top Wind. Again, this stuff is all on my resources page. The other one is Guided Imports. Guided Imports has a really good service as well for just, if you just want to hire them to do third party inspection I believe it's about 190 bucks, maybe 200 bucks and they'll go right to the factory, take pictures, will do a full inspection, give you a report. I'm going to drop that in the show note as well if you guys want to check that out and go there and use their service you can. I'm just giving you the resources that I'm aware of. So there's Guided Imports. You can also go to theamazingseller.com/inspection or themazingseller.com/inspections. Either one will work.

That will take you to Guided Imports as well. You can go ahead and use them and yes, I am affiliated with Guided Imports because I've done business with Guided Imports so it's the one that I recommend and it's the one that I tell people about. Top Wind is great as well. Either one will work. But really important is if you catch that before it leaves, you've got more leverage. Because now you're like, “Listen, I'm not going to pay my 70% additional money to pay off the balance until it's right.” So right now, they've got some of our money, they've got 30% of our money but we're not going to pay that. We're not going to release the rest of the money until our order has been approved.

[00:14:09] Scott: Like until it's good, until our inspection gets approved. You want to have that leverage point. If you ship it to yourself and then it's rejected, well then you've already paid them. Now, the other thing you can do is you can see if they will do an Escrow where basically you pay the money, it gets held in escrow and then when you approve it, then they'll release the funds to the manufacturer. Not all manufacturers will do this. Actually probably most of them won't do this. They either want to get wire, they want to get a wire transfer or they want to get paid PayPal and they want the funds to be done before they release anything.

I was fortunate in the beginning where I had a company that was doing escrow and then I would receive the goods and then I would say that I was happy with it or not and then the funds would get released. So I had some leverage there but if you don't have that, which a lot of you won't and we don't even use that anymore because the company we're dealing with doesn't do escrow but we do want to get that inspected by our agent, who's doing it for us because our agent is working for us as well and now that we've created this relationship with them they're really working for us like even beyond what you normally would get and that's because my partner has built a great relationship with not just this one, a couple of different ones. Some would say, “That's just that one person.” No, there's actually two different companies, two different products, two different materials that we're dealing with and my partner has done that with both of them.

So it can work and it can goes down to just being a good person but then also really getting to know that agent and I'm going to give you some tips here in a little bit and some takeaways from this. But they saved us, our agent that's working for us but also working for the other company saved us about five grand on a bad product.

[00:16:01] Scott: So it's huge. It's really, really important that you get this right in the beginning. Now, in the beginning some people get paranoid and they don't want to even move and they don't want to get started because they are afraid that they're going to get burnt. And I get it. That's why I always say, number one order your sample and then after your sample maybe order another sample. That way there you can get to know the process and get to see how the money is being transferred and all that stuff. Then the other thing is you may want to do a test order. We've done low test orders as low as 250 units. A lot of people say, “Scott, I've tried to ask them, they just won't do it.” Well, you got to ask again and again and again and then maybe just move on to another manufacturer, another supplier.

If they want your business they'll do a 250 run. Now, a lot of people say, “Well if I do a 250 run I can't get my packaging right. I can't get my logo.” That's not true either. You may pay a little more. Again, if we pay a little more it's okay, because we're reducing the risk. It's kind of like our insurance policy but you can do it. So just throwing that out there that you can get an order as low as 250 units. Sometimes even less, I've had some people do 100 units depending on the product. But you will pay more. That is a given. So that is how we saved $5,000. Now we're still in limbo there. I’m not quite sure how this is going to pan out but here is what's happening right now.

Because my partner has built such a good relationship, we wanted to reach out to other factories. Now this one is one agent that we have worked for this one manufacturer but she is not happy. How do we know she is not happy? Because my partner talks to her not just about the business transaction. Listen very closely here. My partner does not just say, “Hey, when's my order ready? Hey how much is this going to cost? Hey, can you do this, can you do that?  In the conversation it's like you were to meet someone and you were going to sit down with a salesman and you generally talk about little bit about your life, you talk a little bit about what's going on in their world.

[00:18:07] Scott: Now this isn't always going happen because some just maybe they are not into that. But I can tell you this, that if you do that, you go a little bit further they are going to actually want to help you. Not on all cases but I'm saying right now it's working for us. This is how well it worked for us. We have this lady who is not happy where she is and because my partner has been building this relationship over and over, asking her about her personal life, how many kids she has, all this stuff. And also then that person also starts to open up about the company.

Here's like really some disturbing news. They don't get paid well, generally they don't get paid that much at all and they don't get paid until the order is finalized. Now, this might not be across the board but this is pretty much our agent saying this is pretty much what it looks like. The truth is they get paid about 1% of the order. 1%. You do the math. Not a lot of money. A lot of times, they'll wait three months after you've paid the company so they have to still wait because they want to make sure that there's no problems with the order… So they're going to wait to pay that person.

So that person has to really have like four five months, maybe even six months before they are going to receive anything but generally it's like 1%. Now some companies might be paying more, maybe they're paying them by the hour but generally it's commission based. Now, the other thing is it's a lot of companies that you're working for or that you're going after and they are working for as a trading company. What is a trading company? Well, a trading company basically means that they are kind of like wholesaling, they are finding the supplier for you and then they're just taking a little bit on top and then they're going pass it on to you.

[00:20:02] Scott: So, they are basically doing like a third party, they are doing the outreach for you. They are communicating in English to these manufacturers that don't want to speak in English or don't want to have that level of communication. They just want someone to go out there and be a salesman. So the trading company says, “Well, I'm going to come in and I'm going to offer all this stuff but I don't manufacture it. I just go out and I find all of these different companies and then I bring them back to you.” So if they are getting it for $2 they may take on 50 cents and then they are going to make 50 cents per unit. Over 1,000 units that adds up and all they are doing is going out there and they are finding suppliers and they are making it all happen.

So if we can cut out the trading company and go directly to the manufacturer, number one we probably can get a better product because we can probably do a better job customizing it and all that stuff. We can also probably get a better price and we can probably get first in line or at least we can get a better place in line. So what we've done is we've taken our agent and we've discussed with them because they are thinking about leaving the company, again because we have a good relationship with them. They are saying like after the first of the year, we're probably going to leave. Here's another disturbing fact. There's like 30 agents working for this one manufacturer, there's seven or eight of them going to leave right after the first of the year.

Everyone knows this pretty much. The turnover rate inside of those factories generally after the Chinese holiday I believe it is, Chinese New Year, generally they lose a lot of their staff. A lot of times after that your quality goes down because now they're retraining people whether your orders are getting packed wrong or maybe an accessory that gets put on the product is being done by hand isn't done as good as it was before because it takes people time to learn this stuff. Well, if you're going into the bigger manufacturers then you don't necessarily have to worry about that so much. Not all the time but it's definitely going to be better.

[00:22:03] Scott: Then you can also have someone go in there and look at the manufacturer, the warehouses too but you can see where like everything is being made. You can have them take pictures of everything. Not just the product but the facility, their staff, their parking lot. You can take all of that stuff. Now, again this doesn't happen overnight but it's something to strive for. And that's why I always tell people you're not going to Alibaba just to go there to find a product. You're going there to find an agent that can connect you and then from there you can build that relationship and then you've got someone working for you. So here's what's happened, which is pretty crazy.

Oh, one tip here. That's what I wanted to give you. A big nugget here. I've got a little sheet of notes here. The one thing that my partner said that they're using with our agent is something called WeChat. Now, you may have heard of this, you may not have. It's an app right on your phone. I think they have a desktop version too but it's right on your phone. They love it because it's their private WeChat. So you have your own username and all that stuff, your own screen name and literally it's like your texting, like you would on Skype or any of that stuff but it's on your phone. You can do the same thing on Skype but WeChat I guess they love it.

So just a little nugget there for you. You might want to number one download it but then also ask your agent, “Hey, can we jump on WeChat? This way it will be a little easier for us to communicate back and forth a little bit quicker. You don't have to email and wait, email and wait.” WeChat is something that I wanted to throw out there, that's what we're using works really, really good. So now we have the framework. Building that relationship is huge. You're finding your supplier or your agent through Alibaba generally because it's easy to go there with this marketplaces. It's not necessarily where we're finding our product and that's what we've been doing but now that we've built this relationship and we know now the back story on our agent and we found out that she's probably going to leave after the first of the year.

[00:24:08] Scott: So my partner said, “Would you be willing to work for us like a freelancer would? Would you be willing to travel to a factory, would you be willing to find other products even different products than we are doing right now? If we are doing a stainless steel product now would you be willing to do a plastic a product and go find us a supplier there?” Because they speak the language, they know the culture. And they are there on the ground. Like, would you be willing to do that? Immediately, very excited our agent was very excited and said absolutely would love to.

So what they did because we're now looking for a new supplier for our main product or one of our top selling products and the one that just got screwed up we're looking for that factory now. We found a couple and our agent helped us do that. Our agent took a six hour train ride. Six hour train ride to go look at these factories. Set up an appointment, went in there on our behalf and went on a six hour one way train ride. Crazy, now we offered to pay for the train ticket and also to give the agent a little bit of money.

Like 100 bucks. Didn't want it. Did not want any money yet. She wants to prove her loyalty, she wants to show that she can do it and she also wants to make sure that it's a factory that we're going to use. So we got pictures of the factory inside and out, beautiful manufacturer's, beautiful factories, beautiful the way that it's set up. It's not like a sweatshop or something like that. That's important to us. We got a whole bunch of pictures. Doesn't want to charge us until we put an order in. So then I was talking to my partner the other night. I say, “What do you think?” Generally when you do a VA, when you hire a VA you're willing to spend $400, $500, $600 depending on what they're doing if they're really, really qualified and they're working 40+ hours you might go as high as $1,000.

[00:26:08] Scott: But that's like rare. It's usually like 400 to 500 bucks for a full time and honestly going back to what they get paid, and this is what I mean. This is how person I can get. Our agent said typically she makes about $5,000 to $6,000 a year. So we're talking $400 to $500 maybe $600 on a great year. That's what she's making right now. For us, we can almost have an agent on the ground to work for us probably they can probably make more money and we could also refer the agent to people in our own little network. If I'm working with another brand I could say, hey here it is.

I'm not going to publicly obviously share my agent because everyone would flock and I wouldn't have an agent any more but I want to give you these tips so you can create your own or you can find your own. Because I think it's important but I have this resource now. So we talked about like what should we pay her? So my partner went and talked back and forth a little bit and she said how about 15 cents a unit? So 15 cents a unit. Now some people would say like I'd rather just pay a flat fee. Well, the way I look at it is you only have to really pay if we're shipping product.

If we're shipping product guess what, they are making money but then we're making money and it also incentivizes them to help us find more products. So now that person, that agent is going to be wanting to go out there and show you new stuff. I mean you can have this person go to the Canton Fair if you want to on your behalf and pay them a little bit. Maybe give them a bonus, like we plan on giving our agent a bonus for sure like just out of the blue, here's a couple hundred bucks and to them it's a huge amount of money. But right now on a 1,000 units, if we ship a thousand units we're going to spend $150 to our agent.

[00:28:01] Scott: But here's the thing, we've already found out we're going to save between 20 and 30 cents a unit just on this first product that we're looking at. At the amount that we're using or that we're doing. Right now the most we've ordered is 3,000. If we go to 5,000 we'll probably save 30 cents. If we go to 10,000 we might save 40 cents but right now the way we have it set up we're going to pay 15 cents. So we're already saving money, it's not costing us anymore. If anything we're saving 5 cents a unit and we're going directly to the manufacturer. We found it exactly where this trading company was buying it from and our agent now is going to be so happy because the minute we get an order for 2,000 units, they're going to get 300 bucks.

That may happen once a month, with all the SKUs we have that's going to probably turn out we're shipping between 5,000 and 10,000 units minimum a month. So it's going to be very, very lucrative for this agent and they are going to be dedicated and loyal. So that's what we're doing and that's why it's so important for me to convey to you how important it is to build these relationships. And they are out there, there are people out there right now willing to do this stuff. I'm not saying go to a manufacturer you find on Alibaba, you pull that agent away. I'm not saying that. You might find out that that agent does work directly with a manufacturer and they are happy, and they are a dedicated worker.

And you're just basically going to have them work for you. That's fine. But I actually did that on another brand that I started in the beginning, my very beginning. My very first brand that I started. I did the same thing. I asked them I said, “You don't make this other type of product. You only make the certain type of product, do you know anyone that makes this other thing?” Then they led me to another supplier and another agent. So that's how it works. You build this relationship and then they actually go out there and work for you. Now this is different, like we're taking this to another level by us taking and almost having her work privately for us which is pretty awesome.

[00:30:01] Scott: Then hey if she gets so busy she may have to hire someone that works for her under her and then she pays her. So that's how that works. Again, that's what's happening inside of our new brand and I wanted to share that with you guys. A six hour train ride guys, six hour train ride to go look at factory. So she looked at two factories for us and they were actually… The manufacturers were really happy and really good to work with, they were excited to welcome her in on our behalf. So it's almost like you have someone there on the ground working for you which is pretty darn awesome. The other thing is like I said, what we plan to do is we look to incentivize them as well.

Again, by incentivizing I mean like as we grow, we throw them a little bit of a bonus to keep them motivated, to keep them inspired, to say, “Hey look, we're growing, you're growing.” I'm a big believer in that. Like I'm a big believer in almost like, I don't want to say piece work but I know myself, if I was working let's say I was making $15 an hour, and I had to go ahead and do a certain amount of quota and they said if you beat that quota, or after you do 100 pieces, after that you're going to get an extra even 50 cents a unit and you're going to 150 units a day, you're making a little bit of extra money.

So you have a way that you can make more than what you're set to make. It's like on salary but now you're not. It's like you have a side job in a sense but it's with your own job and that's what I love about this. So it's like, wow they're growing. Let me help them grow, if they grow, I make more money. To me that's a way to incentivize and to really push people work for you and want to work for you and treat them well. Like for us we want to treat them well like my partner is like, “I want to send over 100 bucks just to show that we appreciate and we tried and they turned it down,” but we're going to insist on it because we want to make sure and… I mean what is that worth? What do you think it would be worth to hire someone there to go on a six hour train ride one way and visit two factories, take pictures and talk to these people and report back.

[00:32:07] Scott: Have four samples shipped, what's that worth? It's work more than 100 bucks and that's what I mean. Like we want to definitely take care of this agent and we want to take care of people that are working for us in the brand. If everyone can collectively come together and be a team that's how you build a real business. That's how you can build and really that's where you can take it to the next level because then you have ways to negotiate that you wouldn't have necessarily because you don't speak the language. All right, so I wanted to leave you with four steps that you must do when you're actually getting ready or if you are currently doing this.

Because we were currently all set up and then we had to say, okay wait a minute here, let's take a step back, let's make sure that we protect ourselves so this way here we're not like locked into one manufacturer because things are doing really well and then all of a sudden we get a bad product, they want to push us to the back of the line now, now we are without a product, now what do you do? You got to go out there and you got to find a second source or you got to go right to the source and you got to have a really good relationship with your agent so they can push for you.

So number one, these are my lessons learned and these are some steps for you to make sure you follow. Number one, always get inspections by an agent or a third party company that you can trust. The ones that I've mentioned is Guided Imports or Top Win Inspections and I'll throw that on the show notes page and the resources page. Like I said if you want to go right to Guide imports you can go to theamazingseller.com/inspection or inspections. Either one will take you there.

Number two, if you can help it don't ship directly to Amazon for your first product run. If you can help it. Now if you're in another country, I get a lot of people say, “Well Scott I'm in the UK, I don't want to have it shipped to me and then have to reship it.” You don't have to. That would be the best scenario but if don't want to, you want to go ahead and just ship it direct on your first run maybe it's a small run I'd say then make it a small run.

[00:34:08] Scott: Don't make it 1,000 units run and definitely, definitely get a third party inspector to come in and do that for you.

Number three as I just said do a small run to test how the company works and see the quality. Even if you're going to ship the product to yourself and have a third party inspector I would still do a small run just to test everything out, how everything works. When you get the samples shipped to you, that's different than shipping 1,000 units. It's just another whole ball game. How do they deal with customs? How do they deal with packaging? How does the boxes come? How do they pack the stuff? We had the first runs of a product and they came just not the way that we wanted them packed. We told them how to pack them, they packed them different way. We've now told them we don't want them done that way.

If they get shipped that way again we're going to reject them, do them this way. They have and now we are good to go. Then the fourth thing is pictures along the way if you can. I’m talking like even on the beginning stages, on the production line to where it's being boxed, to where it's actually being ready to be shipped. So pictures along the way, that can help you and it can also allow the manufacturer to know that you are keeping a close eye. Even if you do that alone they are going to be like, “All right, we're going to make sure that we keep things good here because they are keeping a close eye on us.” So those are the four things. Again, don't get to the point where, “Oh my gosh Scott like you're scaring the crap out of me.

I don't want to do this.” Well, it's just part of the process. I'm trying to help you so this way here you can cover yourself and you don't have to worry about all of these different things that can happen but in the beginning like I said, do all of these things that I said and you should be great, you should be fine because this way here you are building a relationship but you're also taking it slow in a sense.

[00:36:03] Scott: Like, again I'm not talking about you like launching today and having thousands of units shipped. I’m talking about starting today maybe with a test order or smaller order than normal to test the market number one but you also want to test the process. So guys that is going to pretty much wrap it up. The show notes can be found at theamazingseller.com/435 and like I said I'll throw the link there to the inspection services that I recommend and the other thing that I would like to say is get ready guys because I got a lot of great things coming up. There's one pretty big thing that's coming up that's going to require you guys to get involved which is going to be pretty awesome, I can't wait for that and you will be rewarded  with it as well.

I've got some really cool content planned that's going to take this entire process and break it down and simplify it and really help you get the business either launched or take it to the next level. All right guys.

So that's it, that's going to officially wrap up this episode. Remember as always I'm here for you, I believe in you and I'm rooting for you but you have to, you have to… Come on say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, “Take action.” Have an awesome, amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.

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