For customers, no matter how excellent our descriptions may be, they are just words; the final decision relies on seeing the actual product. Often, customers find it inconvenient to visit in person, which makes sending samples an essential means of engaging with them.
But how should we go about sending samples? Should they be entirely free, or should customers cover the sample cost? Today, I've summarized some insights from experienced foreign trade professionals to share with you.
I. When can samples be sent entirely for free?
Generally, there are three scenarios:
1. When samples cannot be used directly, serving only as a quality reference.
For instance, if a company manufactures glass products, there's no need to send an entire glass sheet; a small piece is sufficient. Such samples are not suitable for direct use, making them suitable for free provision.
2. When there is a deep relationship with the customer.
After a significant follow-up period, you have gained profound insights into the customer's needs. There is a strong mutual intention to collaborate, and you can clearly sense the customer's sincerity. This is evident in repeated inquiries about products and prices.
3. When the customer is a potential target.
You have verified that the customer genuinely needs to import the product, and there is data to support their stable procurement needs. In cases where you have initiated contact and established a good rapport with the customer, you can demonstrate your cooperation intentions by sending samples for free.
II. When should fees be charged?
1. When the samples have a relatively high value, sample fees can be charged.
For samples with a high value, a portion of the cost can be charged, depending on the circumstances. This typically applies to small equipment, electronic products, or products that require custom molding.
Related Phrasing: Given that many customers in the past have requested samples without any response, this has caused the factory to lose confidence, and as a result, they are not very willing to provide free samples. Therefore, we kindly ask for your understanding and request that you cover the sample cost, while we will take care of the shipping expenses.
2. When shipping costs are high, shipping fees can be charged.
If the shipping cost is significantly high, you can choose to provide the samples for free, but request the customer to cover the shipping expenses. Before sending the samples, it's essential to inform the customer in advance and ensure the clarity of shipping fees before dispatch.
Related Phrasing: We sincerely hope to do business with your company and are willing to provide free samples. However, please understand that, as our offer has been quite favorable, we kindly request you to share the burden of shipping costs by providing your account number.
3. Charging both sample fees and shipping costs.
When the customer is not a target customer for your industry, or when it's challenging to evaluate the customer, charging both sample fees and shipping costs can be considered.
Of course, to demonstrate our cooperation intentions, we can promise that sample fees and shipping costs will be reimbursed upon placing an official order.
For those in the business, we may all understand the significance of customers' requests for samples; however, sometimes, providing samples can be a source of frustration for manufacturers.
Customers request samples for one primary purpose: to assess the factory's quality and use it as a basis for contract signing. Requesting samples is entirely reasonable, but the question remains: how many customers genuinely prioritize assessing factory samples?
Most customers primarily focus on two aspects: price and efficiency. As long as the product meets the necessary requirements, major issues are generally not of great concern. Sending samples is a way to demonstrate the sincerity of suppliers, and customers typically do not object to paying for them.