December 2008 Archives

* This posting is the second part of a series of guidelines for Chinese suppliers to conduct efficient and professional meetings with foreign clients.

2.会议

 

(1). 高质量的公司宣传材料。最最重要的,语言。一定要找专业的咨询或者公关公司来做公司宣传材料的英文版,也许价格上比一般的翻译贵一些,但是翻译的质量直接关系到公司将来的海外订单数量和企业的形象问题。国外的客户在从众多的供应商中挑选合作伙伴的时候,公司的英文沟通能力是很重要的判断标准,一份充满错字的产品目录是会拒客户于千里之外的。

 

在会议中,一个简洁的PPT公司介绍是很有帮助的。有图片和数字说话,客户很容易就对公司有了一个大概了解。在这里值得提醒大家的是,西方人很重视数字说明问题,而中国公司往往喜欢拿认证和奖状说事。其实,对于中国的机构和证书不了解的外商,除非是国际性奖项,否则还是数字更能说明公司的实力。另外,一份全面而又简单轻巧的公司产品目录或者光盘,可以留给客户作为将来下订单的参考。没有必要奢华复杂,又厚又沉的目录只能给客户已经很沉的行李增加负担。

 

(2). 把握会议节奏。国外客户到中国考察工厂的行程往往安排得比较紧凑,所以如何在短暂的时间能把自己公司的产品质量,业务水平更好的展现出来是极其关键的。首先,要根据会议翻译的水平调整好语速。在双方简单的自我介绍后,可以给客户留一些提问的时间,根据客户提问判断客户的兴趣点,有的放矢的推荐自己的产品。另外,在介绍当中,要注意与客户目光接触,西方文化中坚定的目光代表了自信,尊重,和真诚的聆听。最后,在会议结束后,可以赠送有公司或者当地文化特色的小礼品,无需贵重。


China implemented reform of the RMB exchange rate regime from July 2005, and since then the RMB has been appreciating steadily in value against the US dollar. During this time, China's exports have continued to increase, seemingly unaffected by the appreciation of the RMB.

At the end of July 2008, after the RMB had appreciated by about 18%, it suddenly entered a 20-day period of fluctuation. After this period, the RMB continued its general upward trend, albeit much slower. At the same time, however, in the wake of the global financial crisis, China's exports began slowing down, and many factories closed down because of the slump in world demand. As a result, in November China's exports indicated negative growth of 2.2%, an historic regression of hitherto seemingly inexorable export growth.

When the RMB median rate to the US dollar dropped from 6.8349 to 6.8505 on 1 December, it kicked off another round of depreciation. This time it came with a slump, which appeared to be a signal that China will begin a period of steady RMB depreciation in order to support domestic manufacturers and to enhance the current account surplus, which contributed over 7% of China's GDP in 2007.

There's no denying that the depreciation of the RMB will be helpful to Chinese exporters. Yet the general long-term trend seems rather to be one of appreciation. Currently, the drop in China's exports is less connected with the appreciation of the RMB as with the deflated purchasing power from abroad. Hence the critical priority now is to implement industrial restructuring, and to this end the Chinese government is likely to introduce different measures to encourage exports such as duty adjustments and fiscal subsidies.
The 10th China International Trade Show for Exhibition and Conference Industry

Venue:        Nanjing International Expo Center
Date:          14-16 January 2009
Organizer:   China Association for Exhibition Centers
                  China International Exhibition Center Group Corporation
Tel:           +86 10 8460 0951/86

Briefing:
The objective of InterExpo 2009 is to facilitate the development of China's exhibition industry and to promote fair exchange and fair competition within the industry. The event is intended as a cooperative platform for enterprises at home and abroad to establish and maintain relations with customers.

For more information, see website.

How to Make a Good Enquiry Part 4

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  • Packaging
Packaging can sometimes be very important in the composition of the price. The buyer should be aware of the following issues and raise requirements on packaging where necessary:

  1. Characteristics of the goods
  2. Shipping methods (by sea or air, by bulk or by container)
  3. Shipping period
  4. Policy in force at the destination, such as regulations on imported wood
  5. Storage needs

  • After Sales and Warranty
For some goods it is necessary to know what type of after sales service the seller can provide, especially when the sellers do not have a presence in the buyer's home country. The quality of after sales is also a key consideration when choosing the best supplier. If a buyer has a specific requirement on the warranty, the seller should be notified so they can take account of this when calculating prices.

  • Quotation Deadlines and Validity Period
An enquiry should include a reasonable deadline for the sellers to quote by, and should also remind them to include valid by information in their quotations. Usually, a quotation's validity period could range from three working days to three months depending on the goods. If the buyer requires a longer period to do more filtering work, they should state this requirement clearly in the enquiry.

  • Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA)
When buyers send enquiries that contain sensitive information, such as designs with IP or new product information, they should prepare an NDA and ask the potential seller to sign it before they transmit confidential information.

  • Contact Details
As the last part of an enquiry, the buyer's contact details should be clearly provided with the contact person's full name, title, department, telephone and fax numbers, and email address.


In this series we have talked about a lot of elements which together make a good enquiry. These elements can reduce risk, increase sellers' and therefore buyers' efficiency, and of course help in getting the quotation you want.

We welcome any feedback should there be further questions or suggestions.
* This posting is the first part of a series of guidelines for Chinese suppliers to conduct efficient and professional meetings with foreign clients.

做为一个采购顾问,笔者与国外的客户曾经到过全国各地上百家不同行业的公司和工厂参观访问,洽谈业务,大到员工几万人的行业领头的大型国企,小到私营的几十人的生产企业。在招待客人,使商务洽谈会议气氛融洽自然这些方面,相信礼仪之邦的中国公司都会做的非常到位。然而,在会议洽谈和工厂参观的过程中,有一些共性的因素经常影响到会议的质量和客户对工厂的印象。

 

以下是笔者个人在亲身的经历体验中总结的一些心得,也许能够对有意开拓国外市场,发展外贸业务的企业有所启发:

 

1.  前期准备

 

(1). 提前了解好客户的意图。客户到达前,了解好来访时间,人员人数,职务,会议要探讨的内容,客户是否有翻译,是否有其他特别要求,是否后勤方面的要求,如接送,酒店安排等。

 

(2). 访问安排。在充分了解以上信息后,应尽早着手落实,包括接待客户的人员,来访的步骤,如会谈大约多少时间,参观工厂大约多少时间,到机场或酒店需要多少时间,安排午餐晚餐需要多少时间等等。安排好后,可与客户进行交流,以便对方确认或修改。

 

虽然都是细节,但是这些准备工作做好,可以使会议更加高效,减少时间的浪费,同时,给客户的印象会非常专业,可信赖。笔者曾经遇到过一个工厂,项目经理竟然忘记了客户拜访的时间,客户到的时候他正好休假,并且在休假前没有向其他同事交接工作。由此可以想象客户对工厂的印象会如何,不论报价多低,客户也不会再靠考虑与这样的工厂合作了。

 

下次我们会就如何开展会议进行讨论。


The 6th Hong Kong Mega Showcase Incorporating Electrical Appliances & Domestic Electronic Products Expo

Venue:        Hall 1A, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Date:          25-28 December 2008
Organizer:   Hong Kong - Asia Exhibition Holdings Limited
Tel:           +852 2591 9823

Hong Kong Fair Dec 08.JPGBriefing:
With a wide range of local and global brands gathering under one roof, the Hong Kong Mega Showcase is a highlight for shoppers over the festive season. The Domestic Electronic Products Expo has over the last six years attracted 28,000 people annually on average, and visitors this year can check out 5 specifically-themed zones of the latest electrical products.

For more information, see website.  



How to Make a Good Enquiry Part 3

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  • Quotations
Quotations should always include the trade terms, currency, price number and unit. Both sellers and buyers should understand the trade terminology very well, especially those terms which are commonly used, such as FOB, CIF, C&F, etc. The choice of currency has become extremely important since exchange rates between RMB and other currencies are frequently fluctuating. So it is essential for the buyers to be familiar with the RMB's exchange rate with their local currency and to be prepared for the potential risk caused by the RMB's fluctuation. For some special products, the buyer should clarify what unit the quotation should be based on. For example, with casting products, buyers should make it clear whether the price should be per piece or per kg.

  • Payment Terms
Buyers usually consider the enquiry stage to be too early to discuss payment. This is indeed true most of the time, but buyers operating within financial systems with specific requirements should be given favorable terms. For example, some countries have strict foreign currency systems that require buyers to transfer a certain minimum amount before the goods can be shipped, and sometimes buyers are subject to a long process of applying for bank clearance or approval from a currency management bureau. Under such circumstances, the buyer may prefer lower prepayment or other payment terms which require no T/T before shipment, which creates extra banking costs for both sellers and buyers. Those working in procurement should be aware of these limitations and if necessary, let the potential suppliers know.

  • Delivery Time
When enquiring about delivery time, the buyer should pay attention to the following:
  1. If a sample is required, how long will it take for the sample to be ready?
  2. How long will it take to manufacture different quantities of products?
  3. When will delivery time commence, the contract signing date or the prepayment arrival date?
  4. Will delivery time include the shipment booking time? (After they are ready, goods can sometimes only be shipped several weeks later due to difficulties in booking the shipment, especially bulk shipments, or shipments to certain countries).
In my next posting, I will cover more items.


2008 China International Port Construction & Ship Industry Exhibition

Date:           16-18 December 2008
Venue:        Ningbo Exhibition Center
Organizer:   Ningbo Siboen Exhibition Service Co. Ltd.
Tel:            +86 574 2687 8619

For more information, see website.
BRIC.jpgAs the financial turmoil continues to affect the global economy and corporate players implement their best survival strategies, those with a more visionary outlook are considering what the landscape will look like once financial flows go back to some sense of normalcy. Who will survive? Where?, and in what position? It seems no country is completely immune from the consequences of the crisis, yet some economies are clearly in better shape than others. Brazil, Russia, India and China, together the BRIC countries, are good examples.

In general, stock markets in BRIC economies are down, credit is tight and real estate sectors have taken a severe downturn. Weaker demand from developing countries is seriously affecting export sectors, factories are closing and social instability has become a possibility. It is not an optimistic scenario but neither is it for the rest of the low cost countries, nor for companies from the US and Europe sourcing from those markets. Yet BRIC economies are actually reasonably well-positioned terms of (1) their current initiatives and (2) the potential for the future.

In the first instance, large trade surpluses in the past decades and therefore strong foreign currency reserves have enabled BRIC governments to increase spending and boost consumer demand. The 4 trillion yuan stimulus package recently injected by the Chinese government is a case in point. In addition, BRIC governments have shown a leaning towards a more interventionist and/or Keynesian perspective compared the developed world, and this may help to keep markets up in difficult times.

In regard to potential for the future, if the goals of BRIC government intervention can be achieved, we could see internal demand re-emerging before those of developed economies. This is due to the sustained economic growth that BRIC countries have achieved recently, to the low GDP per capita in BRIC countries with large populations (40% of the world population), to higher saving rates, and a growing middle class. In the future, domestic demand could perform a more active role as an engine of economic growth, rather than foreign direct investment (FDI). Moreover, the last five years have seen a notable increase in south-south FDI, that is, bilateral investment between developing economies such as BRIC countries.

The share of developing countries in global GDP is progressively growing, as is the role of these economies in global markets. How BRIC countries - the world's fastest developing nations - react to the current financial crisis will play an important role in reshaping markets and contributing to an altered world order after the current crisis.

Image from www.defesabr.com. 
* This posting is the third of three parts setting out how to quote efficiently and professionally.


有时候提供了一份从格式到内容都堪称完美的报价给客户,但是仍然不足以吸引客户下定单,那么我们需要总结原因,已免重蹈覆辙。以下是我根据实际工作总结出来的一些情况,不足之处,大家探讨。

 

三、报价不吸引客户的原因

 

1. 产品差异

 

有时候我们没有与客户要求一致的产品,而我们所推荐的产品客又无法接受,这个与报价的质量无关,我们不讨论。

 

2.价格太高或太低

 

这时可以尝试争取重新报价的机会。

 

3. 付款方式不合适

 

有时候我们在报价的时候会留些空间----比如付款方式可以接受L/C,但我们先报一个T/T试探一下客户。那么如果得知客户付不了T/T或非常为难的时候,为了争取机会,就该告诉客户我们可以在这一点有所让步。有的客户不会返回来问我们是否可以在付款方式上让步,而是直接就从大名单上把我们删掉了。所以这个策略要慎重。

 

4. 沟通不充分


想象一下,当客户手里拿着十份不同供应的报价,如果除了名字不一样,就只有价格差异了,那他筛选的标准只有一个价格。客户通常都挑较便宜的。所以要使客户有更多可对比的信息,避免其对比只限于价格差异。所以在发送报价的邮件或传真上用3句话简要突出自己公司的超强卖点往往事半功倍。这是与客户还甚不熟悉时一种非常有效的沟通技巧。

 

报价是一个完整的外贸的第一个环节,希望大家都能有一个好的开始。


The 2nd China Qingdao International Stone Products and Machinery Exhibition

Date:           12-14 December 2008
Venue:        Qingdao International Convention & Exhibition Center
Organizer:   Qingdao Haichen International Expo. Co. Ltd.
Tel:            +86 532 8079 1023

Briefing:
Aiming to build on the successes of last year's exhibition, this year's event again forms an integral part of Interbuild Qingdao 2008, which will feature 1000 regular booths.

For more information, see website.

How to Make a Good Enquiry Part 2

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  • Specifications
Buyers should always provide detailed specifications, including drawings, chemical analysis, material grade and sometimes samples. Text descriptions should all accord with international standards, and if the drawings or documents are in a language other than English, a bilingual version should also be provided. This is not only for the sellers to save time with translation, but also for the buyers to reduce the risk of misunderstanding.

  • Quality requirements
There are many ways to describe requirements on quality. Usually the buyer will combine several ways, depending on the product:

  1.  Brands. To use parts or raw materials with well-known brands is the easiest way to ensure that the parts or raw materials will be correct. For example, when we source gensets, if we request Cummins engines and Stamford generators, we can basically be assured we are getting the right genset. Sellers and buyers can also save time on looking for suppliers and on inspecting some parts of the products. However, for most products, to use parts or raw materials with brands will cost more.
  2. Equal/Similar products. If buyers allow the seller to recommend other parts or raw materials with equal or similar functions and specifications, this should be noted clearly in the enquiry.
  3. Standards. The buyer usually requires the product to adhere to certain standards. My clients in South Africa, Australia and Russia usually request the products to meet SABS, AS and GOST specifications. Chinese suppliers, however, are commonly familiar with the Chinese standard GB, Japanese standard JIS, and some US and European standards. It is sometimes not even helpful to include standard requirements in the enquiry, because some sellers will refuse to quote because they are unwilling to study other countries' standards.
  4. Samples. This is the most obvious way, but it will take some time for samples to arrive and to be analyzed.

In the next part we will focus on the commercial part of the enquiry.  
The 5th China Guangzhou International Machinery Equipment Manufacturing Expo

Date:           9-12 December 2008
Venue:        China Import and Export Fair, Pazhou Complex, Guangzhou
Organizer:   Guangdong Convention & Exhibition Promotion Ltd.
Tel:            +86 20 6119 8881

Briefing:
A leading event in the machine tool and machinery equipment field, the Machinery Equipment Expo this year will have 40,000 m2 of exhibition area with about 2,000 booths and more than 600 enterprizes expected to attend.

For more information, see website.

*This posting is the second of three parts setting out about how to quote efficiently and professionally.

 

 

二、报价前中后的几个关键点

 

1.收到询单到报价的时间

 

这个时间我们可以理解为响应速度。当然,不同的产品,准备报价所需要的时间长短也不一样。不过,尽量在同行中做到响应迅速而且准确。如果需要较长时间准备,不妨先让客户知道我们大约会在什么时间发报价 –- 并且尽量在这个时间内答复客户(这一点对于建立诚信的形象很重要,若无极其特殊的原因不要拖延)。

 

2. 报价的高低

 

价格是贸易能否成交的关键点,也是很不好把握的一点。不过如能做到知己、知彼、知他人,报出合适的价格就不难。

 

首先要对自己的产品、价位及市场定位,和同行的情况有很清楚的了解;然后在跟客户报价之前尽可能从多方面先了解客户情况,这样更有助于做到有的放矢。

 

比如,如果某客户向我询价,我就要尽可能通过多渠道了解这个客户是哪个国家哪个城市的,是否属于我们产品的目标市场?这个客户属于贸易商,经销商还是最终用户?客户的购买能力及诚意如何?客户对产品的熟悉程度如何?客户所在地区是否有特殊的习惯等。在了解到这些信息之后,我就能比较有针对性地报价,即做到“个性报价”。针对不同的客户要有不同的方法,不同的地域要有不同的政策、不同的价格。如果是大客户,客户的购买力较强,可适当将价格高一点,反之偏低;如果客户对此产品和价格非常熟悉,建议采用“对比法”,客观地突出自己产品的优点,同行的缺点。这样报出来的价格基本接近低价,从一开始就能抓住客人;如果知道客户性格直爽,不喜欢兜圈子讨价还价,最好还是在一开始就亮出自己的底牌,以免出高价吓跑客户。

 

3.报价后及时跟踪

 

若客户在收到报价后很长时间都没有反馈,可能的原因有很多。我们不妨通过电话、邮件或传真及时跟进。1)有时客户根本就没有看到报价(比如邮件发送不成功、被服务器判定为垃圾邮件、传真未被转交给正确的人、客户漏看了等)。这种情况下好办,再发一次并确保客户看到了即可;2)大多数时候是客户已收到报价,但认为我们的价格没有优势。这时候我们可以适当论证(类似于辩论,但不建议用太偏激的言论攻击竞争者)或搞清楚客户的目标价是多少,争取一个再报价的机会。 3)对于客户尚处在调研阶段而未有实单的情况下,我们不妨与之保持一定频率的联系,在价格有变化、产业有调整或进出口政策有变动时及时通知客户。我知道有一个供应商每个月会将最新的报价发给客户,收到了很好的强化作用。客户表示一旦有实际需求,第一个考虑的对象就是经常与之保持联系的那家公司。

 

<未完待续>

EVENTS: Automechanika Shanghai

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Automechanika Shanghai

Date:          10-12 December 2008
Venue:        Shanghai New International Expo Center
Organizer:   Automechanika & CNAICO
Tel:            +86 10 6497 3895

Briefing:
Automechanika Shanghai facilitates unique business and networking opportunities between automotive suppliers and international buyers. Exhibitors will be able to meet with high-profile industry professionals, top-level buyers and Chinese government officials.

For more information see website.