China as we all know by now is one of the most inexpensive countries to source almost any kind of industrial or consumer goods. You name any product of your daily use and you will surely find a certain Made in China product.
Today, China has virtually captured the market almost all over the world and is rightly called the factory of the world. All companies from the western countries are now interested to outsource their own products to China so that they can increase their bottom line.
China has the maximum well-trained and educated manpower compared to all over the world. China is quite known as the most highly populated country in the world.
However, if you want to do any business with a Chinese company, it will not be as simple and straightforward. Besides the geographical location, there are many other barriers that can make it extremely challenging to do business with Chinese companies.
Language and cultural barrier are one of the great reasons that can hold many businessmen in the western world to start any effective communication with the Chinese companies.
Therefore, appointing any sourcing agents in China can be the best alternative available for the companies from the foreign countries to make any meaningful collaboration with any Chinese company.
However, finding any reliable and trustworthy sourcing agents may not be as easily discovered overnight. Although there are much available and also there is plenty of competition among them. Hence, if you search online then you can come across many such agents.
However, whether the agent that you will fish out will be able to meet your needs or not always remains a big question.
Most of these sourcing agents are local among the native Chinese people who are well versed in speaking and writing good English language and also of course the native language as well.
There are quite a few such agencies available that are run by westerners who employ the local Chinese people and provide necessary services for the interested companies.
Let us discuss in this post the few norms that you need to set while selecting suitable sourcing agents in China to help your business interests.
One of the best things that you can do is ask a few good questions to find out whether the agent really fulfils all your needs that you are looking for while doing any business with any Chinese company to increase your profitability.
Before we go further, let us set a profile of your agent in China so that you can decide what you want to see in him.
- A person or the company must have the necessary qualifications and who is quite familiar with the market of China and also well aware of the particular products that you are searching for.
- He should have the capability to explain technically about your needs to any Chinese manufacturing companies
- He should be very much familiar with the culture of Chinese business, and the Mandarin language, and also equally proficient in conversing in English too. Proficiency should be in both written and spoken English.
- The agent must be quite resourceful and must have a wide network within the Chinese industries and have enterprising quality.
- Should be able to maintain a cordial business relationship.
- Last but also not the least, the agent must be reliable and honest enough about whom you may have trust. You should be able to confirm his profile through a certain trusted reference of your own.
Here are the sets of questions that you must ask any of your prospective agents in China with whom you are going to enter into long-term business relationships.
1. Are you fully aware of the product that I need and also its manufacturing process?
Ensure that your agent is familiar with your products and has experience in dealing with them.
2. How do you generally communicate with any Chinese suppliers?
Whether he communicates only through email/telephone or also visits the factory and meets the management.
3. Can you provide us with a minimum of three references who were/are your clients?
If any prospective agents hesitate to offer references, then reject them.
4. Since when you are involved in this business?
Ensure that agent has a minimum of 5 years of experience.
5. Whether are you working as a company or as an individual?
It is better to choose a company as an individual may recommend based on kickbacks.
6. How would you qualify a certain company and declare it as a very good source?
Listen carefully to how he qualifies any company before recommending it.
7. Are you familiar with quality parameters and their checks particularly that of my product?
Prefer an agent who is fully aware of the quality parameters of your product well.
8. Is it possible for you to arrange for any third-party inspection?
You must prefer such agents who are ready to do this.
9. How will you decide about your fee?
As plenty of competitions exist, it is quite interesting to hear.
10. Is it possible for you to do quality checks of my products during the manufacturing process at the factory?
Prefer those agents who may be ready for this offer.
11. Are you aware of all the regulations of your country?
Prefer a certain agent who is familiar with all regulations of China as well as your country.
12. What will be your terms and conditions if we enter into a contract?
Read the terms and conditions carefully and also ask questions if in doubt.
13. What kind of support will you provide to me?
Let your agent be specific in which area he can support you.
14. Can my company representative visit the factory with you?
This is a subjective question and it is up to you how you will take the answer.
15. On what basis you will charge your fees?
Try to understand on what basis he will charge to see any scope for negotiation.
16. Will you receive any kickback from a company that you will refer?
Lastly, you can confront your prospective agent with this uncomfortable question.
Based on the answers given by your prospective sourcing agents whom you have interviewed, you can decide who will be most suitable for you to work with.