So you’ve just finished the exciting and creative part of designing your website and uploading to your store all the best-looking demo products for your niche, now what? That’s right you’re starting a real business and therefore need to sign retailer contracts with brands that don’t sell to the general public. This is often the part of starting a drop shipping store where people get nervous. But let me assure you that it’s a lot simpler than what you can imagine, and follow these methods I personally use to sound like a pro from the get go.
The first thing to keep in mind is that suppliers or brands WANT you to sell their products. Only, they don’t know you nor your business, and they don’t want to risk their reputation with someone who might offer poor customer service to their end customers. Your job is to prove them you’re serious.
My Secret Weapon
Simplicity, honesty, and asking the right questions. I remember the day I first called suppliers I was initially fairly nervous, although after speaking with 3-4 brands already I felt more confident. I had prepared a decently long speech detailing how my team and I were about to launch the following month all the way up to my advertising strategy, and basically just spit it out in one go to the account manager I had on the phone, who knew right away I was knew at this. Don’t get me wrong you’ll still have to discuss these things, but just don’t recite them in a monologue. Instead, have an actual conversation with the person you’re speaking with. Why don’t you try first saying to the receptionist:
Hello, this is __your name__ from __ your domain name__ could I please speak with someone from your e-commerce division? I’d like to discuss opening a dealer account with you.
That’s it! After you’ve been transferred to the sales rep for your area, repeat the same and add “we are an online retailer, we love your brand and products and would like to start advertising and selling them“. Next step is to get the account managers to go look at your website live while they are on the phone as they are likely in front of their computers, and simply pause, create silence, and usually I get compliments on the look of my store. Then they start asking questions about your business, where you are located, sometimes about your work experience, how long you’ve been in business, how you are bringing traffic to your store, and what your sales figures are.
Determinants of Supplier Approval
In my experience two things will determine whether or not you will get approved by a supplier. The first is the look of your website and the second your ability to articulate your advertising strategy.
Make sure that your store is NOT password-protected before calling suppliers, and that you don’t have any glitches or incomplete pages/collections. You definitely want your store to look as though you are already in business. If you pass the store design test and the account rep appears excited (which with a Shopify store is a very easy thing to do), their next question will be how long you’ve been in business or who else you’re selling for. If you’re starting out I can’t advise enough to be upfront about it, because you’ll have beginner questions for them later on as you start selling, so it’s a matter of time until those first few suppliers you sign know you are just starting out. If this is your first drop shipping store and they ask you about it, state so and then emphasize your related experience, such as in sales or marketing. Many companies are just now starting their e-commerce division, so in some cases you will know more about the field than the account managers themselves.
You can mention that with the advertising budget you plan on spending you will generate 10,000$ in sales per month for them within 3-6 months, which is very realistic. I suggest focusing your conversation on how you’ll generate traffic and sales, for which you can discuss the advertising strategies and sales channels presented in dropshiplifestyle.com, or whatever advertising you use or plan on using.
Rookie Mistake to Avoid
As happened with me you may actually overcome your initial fear of calling suppliers after a call or two, get approved by one within a few hours of trying, and end up spending the whole day calling as many as you can. Why is this a bad idea? What happened in my case is that I got 6-7 approvals and product data sheets within the first two weeks of beginning my supplier outreach, and the second brand I uploaded to my store started giving me consistent sales during my 3rd month in business after I’d made design changes to my store. Being so busy still learning many new things in addition to running all operations myself, months went by with the other 5 product spreadsheets sitting on my computer before I had time to upload these brands to my store.
I would advise receiving 1-3 suppliers product spreadsheets and uploading them first to learn the next crucial part of on-page white hat SEO creation through product uploads, analyze the data you’ll get from this in your Google Analytics, Adwords, and Shopify dashboard pages, learn how to fulfill orders and the intricacies of your niche (this could be installation, freight shipping, or prescription requirements), get better at Adwords, and *then go and sign another 2-3 brands and repeat the process.