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Oct 10, 2003
Part 13: Setting Up Accounts With Distributors

Our Drop Ship Source Directory represents more than half a MILLION brand name products (as of this publication) that you can sell on your Internet Store. Every one of them meets the following criteria:

They will ALL Drop Ship for your Internet Store.

They will NOT charge you an account setup fee in order to do business with them.

They will NOT force you to buy a minimum number of products; single products sent directly to a single customer of yours are just fine with all of them.

They are ALL genuine Factory-Authorized Wholesalers, or sometimes the actual Manufacturer of the products they sell.

They all carry only brand new, factory warranted products.

They ALL KNOW that they are listed in our Directory. They are EXPECTING calls from people just like you.

Wholesale distributors are the middle link in the “retail chain”. They buy in bulk from manufacturers, and they sell in smaller quantities to retail operations (like your Internet Store). Remember, real drop shippers do not "grow on trees"! The vast majority of distributors will ONLY sell in bulk. However, there are more and more top quality distributors who are beginning to drop ship for Internet businesses. They see that Ecommerce is the wave of the future, and they know that they’d better be positioned to ride that wave.

Finding quality, brand name wholesale distributors that satisfies all the 6 criteria that I list above is VERY difficult, but they’re out there. We’ve found them, and we find more and more every month.

They are CRITICAL to your success if you want to retail on the Internet without stocking products.

I’m going to talk about contacting and establishing accounts with the distributors we list in our Directory, but the same basic principles hold true no matter what distributor you’re contacting. It’s just a lot easier with the companies we list, because as I said, they KNOW they are listed with us, and EXPECT calls from Netrepreneurs like you.

We list contact information such as the distributor’s company name, address, contact person, phone number, fax number, email addresses, ordering methods, credit terms, drop ship fees, shipping methods and regions, and a comments section that tells you special things you should know about them. These are all important things to know, no matter what distributor you are trying to contact. The Directory will tell you whether you should contact them by phone, email, or start an account on their web site.

If you call, sound professional. It’s better if they can’t hear your kids screaming at each other in the background, or your Kid Rock CD blasting from the stereo.

When I call, I say something like this:

"Hello, this is Chris Malta, from WorldWide Brands, Inc. I'm interested in retailing your products on my ECommerce site. Can you tell me how I can get started with a drop ship arrangement?”

Use your name, and always use your business name. If a distributor thinks for one minute that you’re trying to buy products for your personal use at wholesale prices, you’ll probably never hear from them again.

Let the sales rep tell you what they need from you on the first call. Don’t ask too many questions about what you get from them yet.

They may want you to fax or email them some combination of the following:

A copy of your Tax ID Certificate. We talked about this before. A real wholesale distributor MUST have a copy of this in order to sell you products at wholesale.

Some form of credit references. Don’t Panic! Virtually all of the distributors we list will accept personal credit information, such as the name of your bank. The majority of our distributors won’t even ask for this unless you are trying to set up a “Net 30” (where they bill you once a month) account with them. The most common way to get started with these distributors is to simply pay them with your personal or business credit card as you order products for your customers. You can also use a Debit Card with a Visa or MasterCard logo on it. In a situation like that, they are unlikely to ask you for credit references.

Wait two or three days after you think they've received your information. If you have not heard back from the sales rep, call a SECOND time. Simply ask if they received your information, and if they need anything else from you. If they want further info, send it as soon as you can. If they say they’re working on your account, thank them and hang up.

Sometimes it takes days to establish an account, sometimes weeks, depending on who you’re dealing with. Most of the time it’s days.

Sometimes it’s immediate; some of the drop shippers we list in The Drop Ship Source Directory will set you up during your first phone call, and give you an account number within minutes.

Remember, if you’re looking for distributors on your own, there should be NO CHARGE associated with "joining a Site" when dealing with a distributor. If a distributor tries to charge you an account setup fee, they are NOT a real wholesale distributor. There are some drop shippers who provide you with extra tools for your business, and do charge for them. However, there are very few of these.

There are things you will need from THEM as well. Most distributors will give you an information packet containing all the answers to those questions, right up front.

Once your account is set up, you can call and begin asking questions such as "How soon after I place an order do you ship it?”, “Do you have overnight shipping available?", and (my personal favorite), "Happy New Year, Dave; it’s 82 degrees here in Orlando...how’s the weather up there in Saskatoon?"

Some of them have secure Internet sites that they will give you passwords to, so that you can access images and descriptions of the products you want to sell. You can go there and download (copy to your computer) all the images you need. You can also highlight the product descriptions, copy them to your computer, and place them in a word processor document, for later placement on your Store.

Some of the distributors have all this available for you in a single download file. Others will send you a CD. As I said, they already know what you will need, and should have no trouble providing it.

However long it takes to get that account, be patient, don’t bombard the rep with phone calls or emails, and above all, LISTEN to what they are saying to you. A sales rep that likes you will go out of his or her way to help with other issues in the future.

Please remember "Email #3" in Chapter 7!!

Don't be rude to these people! Don't be pushy or arrogant! We're in the Real Business World now; you're dealing with people who will be more than happy to tell you to get lost if you don't treat them with a little common courtesy!

Simply open a polite conversation with them, listen to what they tell you, and you'll be fine.

Setting up an account with a distributor is easy when you do it right. The distributors we list are used to dealing with businesses such as yours, whether you are a start-up, or a ‘Net veteran. They’ll help you with what you need. If you have questions, just ask.

However, you should not ask a distributor’s sales rep technical questions about how to place products on your web site. He or she is a salesperson, not a technical help desk. That's something you should ask the Tech Support people at your Internet Store's hosting company. :o)

Ok, we’re ready for Part 14: blu_link Choosing Your Products

Posted at 08:56 pm by dropshippindan
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