As a DropShipping retailer, you repeatedly find yourself in the situation of wanting to know in detail from one of your suppliers under which conditions you can purchase a certain product from them. This requirement for wholesalers or manufacturers is called an inquiry. In this context, many DropShipping dealers are confronted for the first time in their lives with having to formulate an appropriate cover letter. We will show you exactly what is important and provide you with valuable tips.
The inquiry decides on the offer
Communication is everything in modern business life. We are accustomed to communicating with each other particularly quickly and purposefully and to getting straight to the point. In everyday working life, you are bound to notice situations in which you are annoyed that a customer, a business partner, a supplier or even an authority does not express clearly enough what they actually want from you.
You are already under stress and have your hands full, and now you have to guess what your counterpart might be up to. If you put yourself in the position of a supplier who receives numerous requests for conditions every day, you can perhaps imagine how often he has to be annoyed by the fact that these requests do not correspond to the general standards and are also sometimes formulated completely incomprehensibly.
This article is therefore about showing you, step by step, how to create an optimal request that even critical manufacturers and wholesalers find impeccable. Of course, this is far more than just the desire to please the supplier well. The specific nature of your request clearly determines the quality of the offer you receive. Thus the inquiry affects your complete business development and even influences the question whether you make a profit or a loss.
Profit or loss – the request can have serious consequences
We will take a brief look at why this is the case before we talk specifically about what your request should look like. There are two forms of bad requests and often they are combined with each other. On the one hand, an inquiry can be formulated in an unfriendly or even impertinent manner, thus annoying the supplier. On the other hand, it may also be incomplete and may not take sufficient account of really important factors and aspects.
If your request is unfriendly, the supplier will probably not hurry to answer it. Who can expect to be perfectly served if he doesn’t know how to behave? So if there is something else for the supplier on that day, he will probably put your offer at the end of his to-do list. In addition, you are unlikely to assume that you will be offered particularly good conditions if you are rude and unfriendly.
If your request is even faulty or incomplete, you can expect even harsher consequences. Here it can easily happen that you receive an offer for a completely different product or at least a different design. If you do not notice this in time, then negative consequences for your business model threaten. And this should not be in your interest at all.
Always strive for what is known as good sound.
In terms of the tone chosen within business communication, we have experienced two extremes in recent decades. In earlier times, there were distinct hierarchies in business life. These also referred, for example, to the relationship between customers on the one hand and suppliers on the other. The supplier was clearly in the subordinate’s position and therefore had to put up with being approached by his customers in a rude or condescending manner. And the suppliers mostly did not react with contradiction or refusal, but rather with submissiveness.
In the digital age, on the other hand, we are dealing with a completely new trend. The simplified communication, as we know it from e-mail or short messages, for example, in many cases completely does without politeness. Here you quickly get to the point without a salutation, don’t bother with spelling mistakes and don’t bother with what you could call a good tone.
Both extremes are not exactly conducive to a good business relationship. What is missing in both cases is a clear expression of mutual respect. It goes without saying that this should be paid in taxes independently of hierarchies and dependencies. And even within the shortest of communications, there must be a little room for words that show the other person that he or she is valued and that he or she is important.
Politeness is absolutely indispensable
So when it comes to writing requests for your company, you should take the time to formulate sensible, friendly, polite and respectful sentences. Speak to your contact person correctly by his name, express yourself in whole sentences and do not forget the usual phrases of courtesy.
This advice, moreover, is not about cultivating manners for their own sake. The elaborate courtesy rituals of past centuries should not be revived at all. It is only a matter of making mutual contact as pleasant and positive as possible. After all, it can’t be in your interest to make your suppliers feel that you don’t care about them personally. Instead, establish a personal connection in your correspondence and treat your business partners as you would like to be treated yourself.
Our tip: Get advice and instructions that are already a little older
In earlier times, there were numerous guidebooks for people who worked in offices and for whom a good tone was important. If you go back a few decades, you inevitably come across rules that seem funny today. However, it makes sense to deal with the previous habits of courtesy between business people, because you can learn a lot from them.
Only if you imagine yourself at the beginning, a bond can develop.
A really terrible habit in the context of modern communication is that one completely neglects to inform the still unknown counterpart first of all who he is dealing with at all in the context of an inquiry. This plays a decisive role in business life. Thus one discovers on the desks and in the E-Mail entrances of many manufacturers and wholesalers a whole set of inquiries, with which not only the salutation was renounced. The recipient will not learn anything about the person who is interested in current prices and conditions.
This information plays a very important role if the supplier wants to arrive at an assessment with regard to his potential new customer. Is it the representative of a large company with which lucrative sales can be achieved in the future? Or is it just the request of a curious private person from whom not a single significant purchase can be expected? This is of utmost importance for the motivation of the supplier and for the concrete conditions he will grant.
We therefore strongly advise you to introduce yourself in detail at the beginning of an enquiry to a supplier with whom you have not yet been in contact. State your name, your company and your function. And give the supplier a direct impression of what kind of business relationship he can expect from you.
Imagine honestly, exaggerations and understatements are out of place here.
Here you should neither put your light under the bushel, nor exaggerate. Instead, just stick to the facts and give the potential business partner the opportunity to get a true impression of you. For you as a DropShipping dealer, it is particularly important that you clearly show that you want the supplier to ship the products directly to the end customer in the event of an order.
If you take this advice into account, you will immediately notice that the reaction to you is quite different. Your requests will be taken more seriously and processed faster. Moreover, this form of presentation also has an effect on the conditions. Depending on the company and position, you may have aroused the suppliers’ curiosity for a cooperation and thus offered them a good opportunity to offer you advantageous prices. So you have achieved a good effect with very little effort and at the same time created the basis for a fruitful and pleasant business relationship.
Our tip: Place your trust in a ready-made text module
We have now shown you why it is so important to introduce yourself to a new supplier as part of your first enquiry. Of course, you don’t have to rewrite such a text every time. It is better to take a little time once and formulate a corresponding introductory sentence for future inquiries. You can then use this again and again and only need to correct it if something has changed in you or your company.
The famous W-questions lead to the optimal inquiry
In the case of a qualified inquiry, the most important thing is that you provide the supplier with all the information they need to make you an appropriate offer. If you simply omit important information at this point, then you cannot assume that the manufacturer or wholesaler in question will purely accidentally come up with what you had in mind with your inquiry. Incidentally, mistakes in enquiries often form the basis of later disputes and can cost you a lot of money and time in this way.
It is better to choose a different way and make sure that the supplier has all the important information available for each request. The famous W-questions can help you to work out a really complete request. The important questions in this context are “What”, “How much”, “When”, “Where”, “How” and possibly “Why”.
– With the “What” clarify and describe exactly which product it is actually about. Always describe the subject of your request in as much detail as possible. If the manufacturer or wholesaler provides article numbers, then use them. However, in order to avoid errors, also use the product designation used by the supplier at the same time. If it is an article that does not yet exist in this form and that the supplier is to produce for you first, then your description must be much more precise and include all the details.
– With the “How much“indicate the quantity for which you require a price. Of course, it makes a huge difference whether you want to purchase a single product or a whole range of products. Interesting for you as a retailer in this context is of course how the price changes with different purchase quantities. So do not hesitate to ask for different quantity scales in order to record the price differences. For you as a DropShipping retailer it is of course always the case that the quantities purchased always refer to a longer period of time. After all, you don’t buy larger quantities at once.
– With the question about the “When“clearly indicate how quickly you need a certain product. For DropShipper, this refers primarily to the delivery time a wholesaler needs to respond to your orders and deliver ordered goods to the end customer.
– The question “Where“offers you once again the opportunity to clearly point out that ordered goods are not delivered to your company location, but instead to the addresses of the respective end customers, who you name individually with each order.
– With the “How“you can clearly draw attention to the DropShipping principle on the one hand. In addition, certain special requests can also be accommodated. If, for example, you want your deliveries to be packed in a very specific way, or if you want a catalogue or flyer to be enclosed by you, then this is exactly the right place to draw attention to it.
– And finally, you can answer the question “WhyYou can also use the “Supplier” function to provide the supplier, if necessary, with additional information that is relevant to the order and provides him with a better overview of the overall cooperation with you.
For example, a query that takes all these rules into account could be as follows:
Dear Mr. Schneider,
My name is Thomas Müller and I am the managing director of Kaffee Direkt GmbH from Dortmund. Our company deals with the online trade of coffee and coffee products via DropShipping.
We have become aware of your thermal coffee cups with the article number C17-DEF 75. We would like to offer these to our customers. I would therefore like to ask you to make us an offer in which you calculate annual purchase quantities of 50, 100, 250 and 500 thermo coffee cups.
It is important to us that there are no more than two working days between the receipt of our orders by you and the dispatch of the goods. The addressees are our different customers, so that you would have to send each thermo coffee cup to a different recipient. Shipping should be neutral. It is also necessary that you enclose one of our flyers.
Please inform us in your offer about the prices including the costs for packaging and shipping.
We are looking forward to your offer and would like to receive it within the next two days. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.
Thank you in advance
Coffee direct GmbH
Our tip: Create an individual template for your enquiries
You can see from our example that an inquiry can quickly be a rather complex piece of writing. So that you don’t have to go to all the trouble with every new request, we recommend that you create an individual template here, which you can use again and again later.
As you have just learned, a professional inquiry can bring you extremely important business contacts. However, in order to remain successful in business, one must also keep an eye on the quality of the respective suppliers. The following article contains very relevant information on internal vendor evaluation. This is the best way to find out how good your partners really are.
Check out Drop It Studio free product research tool to find Winning Products for your E-Commerce Shop now