Trent: Hey there everybody. My name is Trent. Welcome back to another episode of the Bright Ideas daily nugget. This is episode number 106. And in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about different methods to source products for your Amazon wholesale business. And once we’ve talked about that, we are going to answer a question from Chris McNamara. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
When it comes to sourcing, there are four sourcing methods that I think all of you should be doing, and we are doing all four of them. Email sourcing, first of all, this is what the folks at the TWF group teach. This is what our web’s product is exceptionally good for and that is, we’re basically just using software to suck big lists of products down into our potential products that meet your criteria in the spreadsheets, and then you’re emailing, cold email to all of those particular brands.
This is an actual extremely effective method of sourcing; it is what grew our business from zero to a peak of $280,000 per month. As we’ve slid into a bit of a hole, it is the one of the primary methods that we are using to crawl back out of that hole again. And I have covered email sourcing at length in other videos, and I’ll make sure that I put a link to some of that other content in the comments for this particular video. So email sourcing, absolutely critical. That’s the blocking and tackling of product sourcing in the wholesale space.
In addition to email, I know personally, several folks who’ve done very well with distributor sourcing. And we’ve never really put a whole lot of effort into it in the past, but it is something we are going to put a lot of effort into in the future and here is why. When you source from distributors, profit margins are probably going to be narrower, you don’t have to get an exclusivity contracts, you don’t have to talk them into selling to you, etc. You’re simply just calling up a sales rep at a distributor, you’re using software to analyze their large price lists, and you’re looking for opportunities.
Now, you may need to get a little bit creative to find opportunity to find margin. Things that you could consider doing of course, are bundling, looking at, well, here’s a popular product that has lots of demand, and maybe here’s some other sort of related popular product. And no listing exists where these two products are together, maybe there’s an opportunity for me to try that. And that’s a very low risk thing to do because worst case scenario, if it didn’t sell, you could just do a inventory removal order, you could split them back up, and then you could sell them individually on the other listings, assuming that you had access to those listings, of course, so you would know that in advance. And you might not make any money, but you get your working capital back.
So distributor sourcing is something that we are diving into. As a matter of fact, my wife is going to be the one in charge of that initiative for our organization. Then we have what I call dream 100, or direct mail sourcing. So this is where you identify a group, a list of brands with which you would like to have a relationship. We use Viral Launch typically to find these brands. We’re looking for brands that are doing at least $100,000 a month on Amazon across their product portfolio.
And maybe you’ve tried to reach these folks with email and not had any luck, because guess what, they’re getting a lot of emails from a lot of other people. And it’s really, really difficult to stand out from the noise. That’s what makes email great is it’s easy to do. What isn’t so good about email is it’s easy to do. So everybody does it. So you may need to compliment your email strategy with a direct mail strategy. And I would encourage that you set up campaigns that last. In our case, they’re going to be eight weeks. People will get stuff in the mail from us for an eight week period of time before we put them into just a regular email or a phone call drip sequence.
If a brand is worth carrying, you never stop unless they literally tell you to go f off and never ever contact them again. And even then, I probably only wait three months and then I’d continue my pursuit. So direct mail, relatively easy to do, the thing there what you — the concept, it’s an old tried and true concept, you’re looking to take advantage of something called lumpy mail. People are much, much, much more inclined to open something when it arrives on their desks and it’s lumpy as opposed to just a flat on below.
Put some creativity into what goes into those envelopes that’s going to make the lumps. Send them coffee cups with maybe your brand or some humor on it, send them t-shirts with your brand or some humor on it, send them things that they might use in their office. You can get all sorts of ideas just by looking at promotional gifts and so forth on Amazon and other places where that type of stuff is sold. Think your strategy out in advance and combine that with the same high value content that you would be creating and or curating so that you’re not just the guy sending them funny coffee cups. You’re the highly informed, well educated person sending them relevant and useful content, and it came with a funny coffee cup that got their attention.
And then the final one is trade shows. And I forget the interview but I’ll put a link. I interviewed a fellow by the name of Ryan Grant, and Ryan was having great success with trade shows. The key to making trade shows work is that you have to have a name to drop, and you have to have a story to tell. If you’re going around to trade shows, then you make sure you do your homework before you get there. And if I have a video on how to prepare for a trade show, which I think I do, I’ll put a link to that in the notes as well.
But make sure that you arrive at that trade show, you’re not just wandering the aisles wandering, oh that booth looks nice, I’ll go over there. That’s the worst way to do it. You want to have your shopping list done in advance, you want to know exactly who you’re going to talk to, and you want to know exactly what your story is going to be. And then it actually becomes relatively straightforward to do. The beauty of trade shows is you get face time just like you and I are kind of virtually getting right now.
I don’t know what you look like but you know what I look like. Anyway, if it was a video conference, you get the idea; you’d be standing right in front of the person that you want to talk to. In most cases, especially for the size of brands that you should be pursuing, especially earlier on in the life of your business, the owner is probably going to be there, if there’s a director of marketing, they’re probably going to be there. If there’s a VP of sales, they’re probably going to be there. In other words, all the decision makers are going to be present.
All right, let’s get to the question from Chris McNamara, a question for you with your process hat on. I’m struggling to conceptualize the point in a workflow at which you should step out of a workflow tool and into a task management tool like Asana or Trello given you’re running checklists in the business process management tool that are formed based in what ability to set up on workflow schedules, etc. Where would you think the line is best to be drawn? It’s a great question Chris, and it’s one that there’s not really a concrete answer for.
So in our tool Flowster, you have the ability to create a template, turn that template into a workflow, assign that workflow to anyone on your team or yourself, assign it a due date and you could do commenting ad mentions, and if the workflow has multiple steps you can designate or assign each one of those steps to different people on your team. And our software will send email alerts to all the right people saying, hey, you’ve been assigned this and it’s do here and it’s do there, or a comment was made here and a comment was made there. That’s pretty similar to what Trello does.
I still use Trello, but I don’t use Trello so much for things that are done on a repetitive basis. I use Trello to manage my special projects – I can’t talk. I use Trello to keep me on point for content creation and priorities and things. And oftentimes what happens, my idea is going to Trello and then from there they shift over into a workflow which then gets assigned either to myself or to someone else on my team. So, I hope that that answers your question. It really boils down to a personal preference.
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