There is a reason AliExpress dropshipping is competitive these days, no approval is required! You simply email the supplier, notify them you’re dropshipping and they ship products on your behalf.
Dropshipping with domestic suppliers is often very different, depending on the supplier. It may require some carefully worded persuasion to secure them to dropship for your business.
To be clear, this article is not about how to find dropshipping suppliers. This article is about how you can get approved to work with dropshipping suppliers in countries other than China as they work with everyone.
I have an article on “How to Find Dropshipping Suppliers in the US” if you need some help sourcing suppliers. These methods also work outside the US.
This article is a complete guide to getting approved by dropshipping suppliers. As a quick overview, there is a number of things you can do to get approved by suppliers for dropshipping.
You must convince a supplier that you will represent their brands in a way that maintains their perceived value. This can be done by having a professional website, providing exceptional customer service and not selling below the product’s minimum advertised pricing.
- 1 Which are the Best Suppliers to Work With?
- 2 How Do You Approach Suppliers about Dropshipping?
- 3 Phone Script for Contacting Dropshipping Suppliers
- 4 Common Questions You May Be Asked and How to Handle Them
- 5 What Questions to Ask Dropshipping Suppliers?
- 6 What if the Supplier Does Not Dropship?
- 7 Why Some Suppliers Won’t Approve You?
- 8 Final Tips for Securing Dropshipping Suppliers
Which are the Best Suppliers to Work With?
Unfortunately, not all suppliers are equal. Some will be easy to get approval from whilst others will take some serious convincing.
The easiest suppliers will approve anyone who wants to work with them. Simply contact them and tell them you want to sell their products and they will send you an agreement to sign and you’re good to go.
There are a few problems with these “easy to get approved” suppliers;
- Everyone within your niche is already selling the same products, making it difficult to stand out.
- They often aren’t exclusively a wholesaler and will sell their own products on their website making it impossible to compete.
- They may provide poor customer service and returns and refunds can be a hassle.
- Some will not enforce minimum advertised pricing, meaning it will cause price wars between online retailers which in turn provides lower profit margins.
- They may have no restrictions on where you can sell products, therefore products could be sold on online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.
This is not to say you shouldn’t work with such suppliers, but it would be best not to make them the focus of your business.
Ideally, you want to work with suppliers who vet their applicants to ensure they are a good fit for their business prior to approval. Here are some reasons why;
- There will be less competitors selling the same products.
- They enforce minimum advertised pricing meaning you’ll have healthier profit margins.
- They usually stock higher quality products and brands.
- Customer service will be much better.
- Due to exclusively being a wholesaler, these suppliers don’t usually sell their own products on the side.
- If approached by buyers the supplier may refer customers on to your business.
How Do You Approach Suppliers about Dropshipping?
Most beginners to dropshipping want to know, is it best to phone or email suppliers about dropshipping? Either option can work although phoning is the preferred option. Generally, the only suppliers who will approve you via email are the ones that approve everyone.
I understand a lot of people can be nervous and apprehensive about making a phone call but it really is the best way to secure premium suppliers.
An email can still be sent to introduce yourself, your business and your intentions before letting them know you will call them in a few days. If you do this, you must call them when you say you will. This can be a good way of forcing yourself to make that phone call if you’re trying to put it off.
Suppliers may not reply to an email which is another reason to call. They receive so many emails that yours can be missed or ignored as it’s just not a priority to them, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t receive a reply.
For more information, I have a complete guide on the best way to approach a supplier to sell their products.
If you do want to go down the route of email initially, I recommend you view my article; “Supplier Email Templates for Dropshipping” first.
Phone Script for Contacting Dropshipping Suppliers
When you first phone a company there is a good chance you will be greeted by a secretary or someone who is not responsible for approving stockists. If so, you want to be as brief as possible and avoid telling them too much information.
Tell them who you are, your business and what you need. Your goal is to have them put you through to the person making the decision which is often a sales manager.
Hi (Person who answered), my name is (Your name), I’m the owner of (Your business name). We are online retailers looking to stock your catalog of products and create an account with your company. I am hoping you could put me through to the best person to talk about this with, please.
You will then either be put through to the sales manager or they will ask for your details to get back to you. If so, always leave your phone number and not your email. If you have not had a response within 2 days, phone back.
If it’s a supplier who accepts everyone, chances are the secretary will simply send you a contract for you to sign without needing to put you through to the person in charge of sales.
Here’s what you can say when you speak to the sales manager:
Hi (Sales manager’s name), my name is (Your name) from (Your business name). We are an eCommerce store focusing on (Your niche of products) which we will be launching very soon. We/I have been researching your products and believe they would be an excellent fit for our business. I’m very interested in creating an account with your company.
With any luck, they will send you an account form, however, chances are they will ask you some questions which I’ll cover in the next section.
After the initial introduction, try not to follow a script. Instead, have a few key points you want to mention, questions you want to ask and some answers prepared for common questions you may be asked.
There is nothing to be nervous about as it’s simply a conversation between two people, so allow the conversation to flow in the direction it goes and don’t try to control it.
If the sales manager wants to talk about the weather or politics or where you’re from, just go with it. Your personality will then come through which allows a relationship to form and trust to build.
If you read from a script for most of the conversation, they will know and if they know you could be finished. Nobody wants to create a business relationship with a robot!
Even for the opening line of the script, you don’t need to say it word for word. Say it how you would talk. If you’re not comfortable talking the way the script is written, change it to suit you.
Common Questions You May Be Asked and How to Handle Them
A good supplier should ask you several questions before approving you. They don’t know you and they need to be sure they can trust you and you will represent their brands the right way.
Do you run any other eCommerce stores?
Let them know of any other experience you have had in the past and definitely exaggerate it a little to make it sound better than it is. If you’ve had no experience with eCommerce in the past you can still try and impress them with your skills.
Tell them this is your first major eCommerce venture but you have studied online marketing in-depth and you’re an expert with the latest online advertising methods including; SEO, Google PLA’s, social commerce, Facebook ads and much more. Chances are they won’t know what you’re talking about and it will sound impressive!
Are you working with other companies?
If this question is asked, they are asking what other suppliers you are already working with. They don’t want to be the guinea pig who is taking a chance with you first.
This is why it is important to get approved by the easiest companies first. Ideally, you want to have a few of the easier suppliers secured so you can mention them when you get asked this question.
Can I see other websites you have created?
If you have created other websites before, send through the URLs.
Whether this is your first website or not, it’s very important to create the website before you start contacting suppliers. With platforms such as Shopify, you can create a professional eCommerce store in a few hours.
Create the store and add some demo products from suppliers you have already secured or from Alibaba and AliExpress to make the store look complete to the supplier. Let them know it is a “demo store” so they don’t assume you are trying to deceive them.
Even if it’s your first store they will see that you know what you’re doing.
What are the estimated orders you will do with us?
Tell them you simply can’t give them an answer because you would be guessing and you have been surprised by the response of other stores you have created in the past. (If you have experience!)
Tell them you believe with your unique advertising methods you can target an audience who will respond well to their products. Let them know that it will take some time initially to optimize your store and ads to ensure they don’t have unrealistic expectations.
What Questions to Ask Dropshipping Suppliers?
It’s important to ask potential suppliers several questions too. Don’t feel like this is only a great opportunity for you, make them feel as though it is a great opportunity for them as well!
What is your preferred way of processing orders?
The larger suppliers will often have a section of their website where you can log in and simply input all your orders. The smaller companies may prefer you to email them each of your daily orders.
What is the best way of handling shipping?
Most suppliers will offer to ship the product for you on their account and charge the shipping price to your account. Some suppliers may expect you to take care of all the shipping yourself. (I’ll talk more about this in the section below.)
How do you handle returns and refunds?
Each supplier will have different terms when it comes to returns and refunds and you need to know this information beforehand. You need to make this very clear to your customers as each brand may have a slightly different returns policy.
Do you charge a fee?
Some suppliers will charge a fee to work with them, if they do, don’t work with them as this is nothing more than a money grab. The best suppliers won’t charge a fee as they understand that you are entering into a business relationship in which you both benefit.
You may also come across suppliers who will require a large minimum initial order. Explain to them that you cannot do this with your business model and remind them that this is a mutual business agreement. If they refuse, don’t work with them.
What if the Supplier Does Not Dropship?
You may have noticed in the phone script above that I did not mention dropshipping, that was deliberate. Dropshipping has had a bad reputation and can be viewed in a negative light by some people. This is mainly due to dropshippers deliberately selling cheap, low quality products with slow shipping times from AliExpress.
I prefer to just explain how your business operates. Let them know you take care of the advertising and selling side of things and all they have to do is ship the product.
If they mention dropshipping then say yes we run our eCommerce store using the dropshipping business model.
If they mention that their company does not dropship just say “No problem, we work with several companies who don’t dropship. We can organize everything for you, we pay for everything upfront, we can organize our own shipping company to pick the product up and we will ship it ourselves. All we need you to do is leave the product in your dispatch area so we can pick it up.”
This is a powerful statement as it makes it seem like a no-brainer opportunity for them that they would be crazy to refuse. All they need to do is have the product ready and they still make money! It also gives the perception that you are experienced and you do this with many companies.
How you say this is really important, you need to use the right tone. When they mention they don’t dropship, reply like this is something you hear every day but use a casual tone when saying we can do it this way instead. Almost make them feel like an idiot if they refused such an easy money-making opportunity.
Organizing the shipping yourself is relatively easy, there are many shipping companies who have a courier that will pick the products up for you and ship them. This may cost a little more to ship but if it gets you approved, it’s worth it!
Once you start making sales there is a good chance the supplier will ship the products for you eventually anyway. Your goal is to get them to say yes no matter what, you can negotiate better terms with them later.
If they still say no, wait a few months and contact them via phone again. Tell them your business is starting to take off and you would still love to do business with them. Make them feel as though they are missing out on a golden opportunity. No doesn’t mean no, no means, prove yourself first!
Why Some Suppliers Won’t Approve You?
It may not matter how hard you try, some suppliers won’t initially approve you for dropshipping. To trust a new business is too risky for them and you may need to prove yourself over time to have a chance of getting approved.
From the supplier’s point of view, they need to be sure you will not hurt their brand’s reputation, if you treat your customer poorly, it reflects badly on their brand.
How do you overcome trust issues to give you the best chance of being approved? You need to overcome any preconceived objections.
- Explain your plan to create an exceptional customer experience by implementing services such as, live chat for example.
- Reassure the supplier you will only sell products above the minimum advertised pricing to maintain the brand’s value.
- Discuss how you will create a large social media presence around the niche by building a community of like-minded people who will enhance the reputation of their product/brand.
- Share your website URL.
Your goal is to address every objection the supplier has until they have to approve you.
Final Tips for Securing Dropshipping Suppliers
- Research a supplier’s website before calling them. Being knowledgeable about the specific company and products over the phone will demonstrate commitment, professionalism and that you’re serious about working with them as you’ve invested time and effort into their business.
- Be clear about the fact you plan on creating a long-term business with one another and treating your customers the right way!
- Check out your competitor’s websites before creating your own. See what they’re doing successfully and implement these strategies into your own store to make it appear branded to the supplier.
- Just get the supplier to say yes to working with you (Unless they want to charge you a fee). Sometimes the terms aren’t ideal but you can negotiate with them later once you start making a few sales.
- Always explain to the supplier you are not looking for credit terms and that you will pay for all products in advance. Credit terms are riskier for them and increase the chances they’ll refuse you.
- Don’t read directly off a phone script. Have an opening line prepared, a few key points you want to discuss and some answers to common questions memorized but most importantly, try to sound natural.
- Really emphasize what is in it for the supplier. This is an opportunity for them to make a lot of money without doing a great deal of work.