Here I am poking my head out of my hole. I have missed writing and interacting with you all. Seems that lately my days are planning me instead of the other way around.
I recently posted on my fb page that I would write about a large (650 piece) international order I worked on for an overseas company. Between that post and now I have received several emails asking questions about handling international inquiries. Identifying if an inquiry is valid and if the company will actually pay you for your product should be more than just taking a leap of faith. Here are my tips for qualifying an international inquiry before moving forward with the order.
1. Hello Google my old friend!
It is amazing how much you can learn from googling an email address. Even an international one. I have been able to weed out an inquiry from Japan that was just a mom blogger wanting to offer her friends cheap American clothes. I have been able to identify an inquiry was from Syria who we are not allowed as Americans to conduct business with. I have also been able to find the person inquiring on LinkedIn and was able to verify they had a valid business.
2. Will I get on a watch list for doing business with you?
Be sure to look up US Sanctions regarding the company making an inquiry. My recent order was with Lebanon, a corner of the world the US does not have good relations with. There are many people and companies in Lebanon and surrounding countries that the US has sanctioned US citizens cannot do business with. If you do, your assets and the FBI will be at your door. It doesn’t matter what you sell them, cotton balls are still a violation. To look up a country just google “united states sanctions ______” the blank is the country you plan to do business with.
3. Ask for a web address.
Just as you want to be sure quality retailers are offering your product in the US take the same care in other countries. Check out their web page to learn about their company. Some may not have one if they only sell in a store.
4. Ask for a 50% deposit or all the money up front.
You need to secure the materials to complete the order so this will cover costs. It will also cover you if the company backs out of the order at the last-minute leaving you with product and debt. A company not willing to give a deposit should raise a red flag for you.
So now that you have qualified your order you can write your PO and terms. And that my friends is a future post.
I always welcome your questions and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also on the lookout for guest bloggers. Email me if you are interested.