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Three Questions You MUST Ask A Potential Supplier

So you’ve found the wholesale source you were looking for, or perhaps you are still deciding between a few sources, attempting to narrow down the potential choices as to who to place your order with. Either way, before you pick up the phone, or take the plastic out of your wallet, here are three questions you must ask your supplier. The answers you receive can help you decide whether to go ahead with a purchase, or can help differentiate similar suppliers from each other.

  • “What grade is the merchandise?”

Closeout merchandise can vary drastically in quality, and so it is imperative that you have the seller describe in as much detail as possible the type and quality of products you’ll be receiving. Remember, there can be significant differences between the myriad types of liquidation merchandise – salvage, shelf-pull, and overstock are all definitions you should make yourself familiar with before picking up the phone. You can check out our post on liquidation terms if you are new to these or simply need a refresher.

It is important to verbally ensure that you and the seller are on the same page when it comes to the quality of the merchandise, as descriptions can sometimes be (purposely or not) misleading. You may wish to ask if there will be many repeats (many of the same exact items) since, depending on your outlet for selling, it may be difficult to sell multiples of the same item.

  • “Is There A Return Policy?”

Are returns accepted? Under what conditions? Who pays for shipping on returns? Many closeout sellers may not offer returns, which again makes it imperative that you ask specific questions about the quality of your liquidation lot and conduct the appropriate due diligence on the supplier.

  • “Hey, How About A Discount?”

Okay, you don’t have to ask this one, but the real question is why wouldn’t you? Don’t be afraid to negotiate! In this business, few things are set in stone, and the worse a business can do is say no! Also, how about “If I order more can I get a better price?” Take a minute to find out if your supplier will give you a better price based on volume – if you’re not ready to by a large volume yet, at least you’ll have a good idea of what you might be able to save on future purchases.

Additionally, if a company has too high of a minimum order for your taste (or your budget), don’t be afraid to try and negotiate that down.

Keep in mind that by asking these three essential questions, you will be able to get the most out of your supplier and greatly benefit your closeout business.

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