Good day everyone. I will share some stories between me and my foreign clients in next days. Today my first story is about Leo(not his real name) who is from Europe. I was graduated from university in year of 2003, although my major was Foreign English, we actually learned only a little bit knowledge about Foreign business. So when we started to work in company, we have to learn from the begainning.
My first job position was International trade sales in a factory. We didn’t spend a penny neither for any promotion on internet, nor any international exhibition. The boss only offered one computer to each sales, and told us he will fire us if there is no order during 3 months. Time flies, it has been two months but I still have no potential clients. I really had big pressure. I don’t know what to do but only keep learning how to find a client by surfing on some foreign business forum, or reading others’ experience and stories.
Finally, somebody posted in the forum, it was said that her German client Leo was interested to purchase Carbon Steel seamless Pipe and Carbon Steel Flange. This message was like a life-saving straw to me, I contacted with her at once. Her name is Wendy, she has a German friend who was dealing with importation. She gave me the buyer’s contact information and asked me to contact with the buyer directly. You can imagine how excited am I. I finally got the chance to contact with real buyer. I wrote an email with self-introduction, full of enthusiasm. Then I sit in front of my computer, did nothing but stared at my email box, had been looking forward to reply. When I heard a BEEP sound from my email box, it had been mid-night, but it was only a read receipt notice. There was no any response in the other day, then I sent another email, and another email, and another email, all without any reply. I went to ask a favor from Wendy, but she told me she cannot do anything but only offered me Leo’s contacts.
I don’t know what can I do for next. At night I cannot sleep, just checked mail box occasionally, browsed some news. Suddenly I noticed Google (Google was not blocked in China at that time), it occurred to me, why not to make a search for client’s more information in Google? Then I googled client’s company name, email address and telephone number, but nothing special.
But I didn’t give up, tried many functions of google. “Where there is a will, there is a way”. I finally found something special. It was a photo of a cute baby, very adorable. I thought that was Leo’s baby son, then I sent this picture to Leo, and said some compliment about the baby, being hoped to leave a good impression.
As expected, Leo replied me at that night. I was so excited when I saw the topic in the email box. But I was frozen when I opened and read the mail. He wrote like this: “Who are you? What have you done? I was blamed because of your email and picture!”
The baby on the photo was not his son, but his sister’s. He loves his nephew very much and posted the photo in his MSN space, then extracted by Google. His sister blamed him with same words ” what have you done”.
Of course Leo was not real mad about that, he was just curious how could I find this photo from innumerable internet data, I was the first one who found that and shared with him. Through this “issue of photo email”, I attracted his attention successfully. Every day, he recieves hundreds of business developing emails which have similar topics, it’s impossible to noticed mine before. After that, he asked me to send again my self-introduction and price list of carbon steel fittings and flanges. After 15 days, I got my first order from Leo, 1x20FT container of carbon steel seamless pipes, and 1x20FT container of carbon steel flanges. Although it was not a big order, this was the first client I earned by my own effort with the help of Google and other internet tools. My job was saved too.
Leo assured me that he will place more and more orders to me, then 2008 international financial crisis broke out, his business was influenced. Actually that order was the first and last one he gave me.
But still I really appreciate for Leo’s first order, which helped me to get through the first crisis of my career. I never doubt his sincerity when he promised he will give me more orders. Through the years, I understood that life is full of complexity, not that as easy as a pie.
I also appreciate Google, it’s impossible to drag Leo’s attention so quickly if I didn’t find that cute baby photo.
And I learned another principle: it’s not enough to send normal business developing letter to clients. You have to use your brain to study, to learn, to search, to get a smart inspiration.
Well, that’s all for today. Next time, I will tell a story about my first South American client who is purchasing Stainless steel flanges from me. Our first cooperation was because of a theft. Coming soon, stay tuned.