A few weeks ago, I promised you the conclusion to this article on finding product sources. Here are a few more ideas to help you out.
Using Your Local Library
Not many people think of using the library, but it can be a great place to do your research. Go to the reference desk, and tell the librarian, you want to look up products by manufacturer. The librarian should be able to point you to two or three sets of reference books you can use for this research.
Network with Local Retailers
Visit with local retailers that carry products you would like on your site. Ask the business owner if he/she would help you get in touch with vendors. If yes, then you are on your way. If not, come back later. Find the products you would like to market and get the names of the manufacturers. You can then look them up at your library and/or perhaps the Internet.
From your research through the library or networking with local retailers, your follow up will be to contact the vendors. This might feel a little daunting, unless you have your game plan.
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Finding a vendor who will work with you takes a little work. But, in order to get your foot in the door, you have to fulfill the following requirements:
1. Your business must be registered with your state or local government.
2. You must have a resellers license.
3. You have to have a business account.
4. You need to be registered with the IRS — www.irs.gov
What You Need to Find Out about the Vendors
Before you call a vendor, get prepared by making a list of questions you want to ask them. Here are a few that we suggest:
* Does the vendor do business with Internet retailers?
* Will they drop ship to your clients? And will they drop ship with your label?
* What is their return policy for products because of breakage, spoilage, or dissatisfied customers?
* What warranties do they carry on their products?
* What´s their expected payment method and schedule? How do you set up an account with them?
* Do they have pictures of their products on the Internet, on a CD, or in a catalogue you can obtain?
First, don´t try to be somebody you aren´t. Be yourself. That´s it.
When you call, ask to talk to the person how handles setting up new business accounts. If the company representative you are talking to asks if you are a new company, and you are, say yes. It´s no big deal. The bottom line is that the company will either work with you or they will not. It´s that easy.
Overall, keep your tone relaxed and your attitude positive and professional. Ask your questions clearly and directly, and when you do not understand something, ask them to go over that part again.
It´s really important to take notes during your call. If the person you´re talking to goes too fast, let them know you are taking notes to refer to later, just so you keep things clear in your mind.
Directly after the call, review your notes. That´s when your mind will be best able to recall any details you might not have had time to record, or clear up notations you made that may not be all that legible.
In your notes make sure you record:
* Date you called.
* Time you called.
* Person you talked with.
* If you were going to send, fax, or email anything to them and when.
* If they were going to send, fax, or email anything to you and when.
* Any special phone numbers, email addresses, or mailing addresses.
* Any names the company representative may have mentioned and their connection to what you called about.
* If you are supposed to contact them again, who to call and when.
* Ask them if they are the person you should talk to if you have questions later.
* Thank them for their time and help.
Perseverance is the Key
Ultimately, it might take a few tries to come up with a vendor who matches your needs and is willing to work with you. But, be reassured that if you persevere, you will succeed!