As not all wholesalers serve every market, once you decide what products you’re looking for, these five steps will help you find the right distributor for your business.
1. Contact the Manufacturer Directly
When sourcing a product, always contact the manufacturer first for branded items, as their prices will be lower than wholesale distributors and they may sell to you directly if you can meet their minimum order requirements. If you can’t, ask for a list of their distributors. It will save you the time and effort of doing the research yourself, allowing you to concentrate on selling your product.
2. Research Potential Distributors
If you can’t get a distributor list from a manufacturer, you will need to do online research. Google will be one of your main tools here. Start with basic search terms, including your product name and keywords (distributor or wholesale, for example), then refine your search until you find exactly what you’re looking for. You should also use B2B sites such as Alibaba.com and professional bodies such as the SBA.
3. Reach out to Wholesale Distributors
Once you have a list of distributors, start systematically contacting them. If you can, do this on the phone as the personal approach is often the most successful one. This can be followed up with an introductory email. Before you contact distributors make sure you know what you are asking for; this should include minimum order requirements and wholesale prices per unit.
4. Develop a Vendor Management System
Once you have details of potential distributors and have begun contacting them, you will need to store in them in a database that allows you to easily access their details and keep a log of contacts made and agreements reached. A good system, such as that provided by https://www.contractswise.com/, will help you become more efficient by storing all the key information you need to run your business in one place.
5. Build Relationships
While the internet is a great source of information, you can learn a lot from other industry professionals, including recommendations for and introductions to wholesale distributors. Join professional networks, forums and other industry groups, participate in online discussions and attend networking events and trade shows in order to meet manufacturers and distributors face-to-face and develop a professional network.