Working with REAL Wholesalers

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How to Find Real Products You Can Sell Online

Now that you know how to find real wholesalers of just about any product made, itís time to actually contact them and try to set up an account. The account youíre trying to set up will allow you to buy products from the wholesale company, and re-sell the products at retail to your Web Store customers.

This process will be the same no matter how you found your real wholesale supplier, but weíre going to assume here that you found them by asking the productís manufacturer for a list of their Authorized Wholesalers.

Start calling the list of wholesale suppliers you got from the manufacturer. When you get an answer, ask for the Sales Department. When we talked about calling the Manufacturer, you were asking for the Sales Department as well, but that was different. You were calling a Manufacturer, and their Sales Departments only sell to wholesalers. All you were looking for during those calls was information on who their wholesalers were.

This time, though, youíre going to be talking to the person who is either going to give you a wholesale Account, or isnít. Your attitude on the phone during this first contact actually goes a long way toward determining whether the Sales Rep will give you an Account.

These wholesale company Reps are looking for business-like professionals to sell to. They honestly donít want to waste their time setting up an Account for someone that they feel isnít going to place any significant amount of orders with them. They would much rather spend their time setting up an Account for someone they think is going to actually buy products, than someone who they think is an amateur who doesnít know what he or she is doing.

Remember, you are the one who needs the good will of the Account Rep, not the other way around!

Here are some very basic things, as a Home-based Business Owner, that you want to remember when you call a wholesale Account Rep for the first time:

  • Donít make ďfirst contactĒ business calls from a cell phone. Itís annoying to the Reps who have to deal with your signal cutting in and out, and will feel unprofessional to them.

  • Make sure you donít have a stereo blasting in the background, or kids screaming and running around the house, or dogs barking. You want the Rep to think youíre calling from an office, not a home. Offices are quiet!

  • Never call with an attitude. If you act like youíre doing the Rep a favor by calling them, or if you act like they owe you something, that Account Rep will most likely blow you off after your second sentence, and then youíll have to move on to another wholesaler. This needs to be a respectful business conversation. That doesnít mean that you have to demean yourself in any way. Just be professional, polite, and listen when the Rep is talking. Weíve spoken to many people who have asked us why they canít get Accounts with wholesale companies, and while weíre answering that question, theyíre interrupting us, and treating us like weíre their indentured servants. Thatís their answer, right there!

Letís remember that most real wholesalers unfortunately still see Home-based Ebiz owners as a very small market. And, as business owners, we have to understand that itís not just the Account Repís time that is taken up by setting New Accounts up. The wholesaler themselves spend money on this process as well. They have to pay their Account Reps, maintain offices, computers, phone lines, etc, just so they can set up new Accounts. When the new Accounts in question look very small to them, they honestly figure that itís not worth the cost of setting up and dealing with those Accounts. They also know that itís a statistical fact that most Home-based Business Owners wonít follow through with orders once they have an account set up. Nothing against Home-based Business Owners; thatís just the way it is.

So, most wholesalers youíll deal with probably have some kind of policy in place regarding dealing with Home-based businesses, and that makes it harder to get the Account you want.

What makes it harder still is the fact that most real wholesalers have designed their Account setup process to weed out, so to speak, the people they donít think theyíll make any money from. That isnít new; that process has been going since long before the Internet.

In other words, theyíre going to ask you questions you may not be prepared for right now, and ask you for documentation that you may not have yet. You can prepare for those questions, though, and you can get your documents in order before you call, so that you wonít lose a chance to work with a wholesaler before you even get started.

Letís give an example of how we might start an initial phone contact with a new wholesale supplier that we want to work with. We call the wholesaler, and someone named Mike answers the phone.

We give him our name and the name of our business. For example, ďHello, Mike, this is Chris Malta calling from Worldwide Brands. Can I speak to someone about a new account, please?Ē

Mike tells us that heíll transfer us to the Sales Department. He does, and Melissa answers the phone, asking how she can help us.

Once again, we identify ourselves: ďHello, Melissa, this is Chris Malta, calling from Worldwide Brands in Orlando, Florida. I got your number from Acme Manufacturers. Weíre a retailer interested in carrying several of your products. Can you tell me how to apply for a new Account?Ē

Now, please notice a few things here. When Mike answered the phone, we didnít simply assume he was a receptionist, and ask for the Sales Department. For all we knew, Mike could have been a Sales Rep himself. So, we told him who we were, what our company name was, and what we wanted to do. Even if Mike is the Receptionist, he may not have let our call go through if we hadnít done that.

Receptionists are far more than people who simply answer phones, at any kind of company. They are the Gatekeepers who separate the people who get to talk to someone, from those who donít get to talk to someone. They are the ones who can decide to bestow upon you the gift of speaking to a live person, or decide to throw you kicking and screaming into a circular automated telephone system that could take forever to get out of.

Be nice to receptionists.

People who donít get to talk to someone are usually people who donít identify themselves properly, donít sound like a business caller, or act rudely. If we hadnít given Mike the information we did, it would have led to more questions.
For example, if we had just asked for the Sales Department, Mike would have been forced to ask us who we were, what company we were with, and exactly what we wanted with the Sales Department. You see, if Mike lets just any phone call through to the Sales Department, heís going to have Account Reps complaining to him that heís letting through calls that waste their time.

We gave Mike all the info he needed, right upfront, so that he didnít have to ask any questions. There are certain things that you donít want to reveal to the wholesaler right away (like the fact that you are a Home business), and any chance you get to avoid initial questions is a good thing! We also spoke to Mike clearly and professionally, in a casual, friendly manner. We want Mike to think that weíre professionals who set up new wholesale Accounts for our company all day long, and twice as often on weekends!

The same exact thing is true with Melissa, the Rep we got transferred to. The first words she hears from us are the first impression we make on her, and weíll never get another chance at that. We want her to think we know exactly what weíre doing. We gave her a little more information, because at that point we knew we were talking to an Account Rep. An important part of that extra information was mentioning that we got her companyís phone number from one of the manufacturers they are Factory Authorized by. When doing this, we could also mention the name of the manufacturerís Rep we spoke to. The wholesalerís Rep probably wonít know that person, but it helps if the Rep thinks weíre calling on a personal referral.

Now that weíre talking to the Account Rep, there are some things sheíll ask right away and some things that weíll have to supply in writing later.

When we get to this point, all companies do things a little differently, so we canít go in any kind of order here and expect it to be correct every time. Letís just list the most common things that most wholesalers will ask for.

What a Wholesaler Wants

The Account Rep may ask you a few initial questions over the phone, or they may simply refer you to a page on their web site where you can fill out the information they need.

There are still a large number of wholesale companies who donít use the Internet very efficiently, so they may ask you for a mailing address instead, so that they can mail you the forms you need to fill out.

Business Name and Tax ID

One thing you can be sure theyíll want is your business name and Sales Tax ID number. We donít care who tells you that you donít need this to buy from real wholesalers. You do. That is the number one thing that so many people simply refuse to understand. If youíre going to deal with manufacturers and wholesale suppliers, then you absolutely WILL need a business name and Sales Tax ID.

If you come across someone claiming to be a wholesale product supplier that doesnít ask you for this information, they are not a real wholesale supplier.

If you come across someone claiming to be a wholesale product supplier who has some kind of explanation as to why they donít require this information, they are not a real wholesale supplier.

As we said earlier, there are two basic kinds of Tax IDs. One is called an EIN Number. That means Employer Identification Number. If you start a business using just a sole proprietorship (DBA, Fictitious Name, etc.), like most people do, you simply file papers with your state and youíre in business. You really donít need an EIN number at that point. The EIN number is usually used to report earnings that you pay your employees, among other things.

The kind of Tax ID you need is a Sales Tax ID. Youíll remember that we said earlier that a real wholesaler cannot sell you products at wholesale, unless you show them proof that you are authorized by your state to collect that sales tax from your customers.

As we talked about before, there are five States in the U.S. that do not have a State Sales Tax. If you live in one of those States, you obviously canít get a Sales Tax ID from your State. However, the wholesaler will still require proof of your legal business, and may even ask you for an EIN Tax ID.

In a case like that, you can get an EIN number for your legally registered business at Itís free, and doesnít take long to get. So, if youíre in a sales tax free State, you should look into getting an EIN before contacting wholesalers.

Business Information

The wholesale Account Application will probably ask you for more information pertaining to your business.

These things can include your Business Address, Business Phone, Business Fax, Hours of Operation, etc. When youíre a Home-based EBiz, questions like these can make you nervous. Wholesalers arenít always looking overly anxious to do business with a Home-based EBiz, remember. So, when you answer these questions, consider your answers carefully before submitting the Application. That Application should look professional, and it helps if it looks like it comes from a business location, not a home.

We are not suggesting that you want to hide the fact that you are Home-based. Youíll tell the wholesaler that before your Account setup is completed anyway. It just helps if you can legitimately get further into the Account Setup process with them before you end up having to tell them that. By that time, your Rep will have gotten to know you a bit, and will already be feeling comfortable that youíre serious about your business. He or she will have fewer concerns about your business at that point, and will be much more likely to grant you an Account, even if the wholesaler generally does not work with Home-based Businesses. Weíve seen that happen many times.

If they do ask you that question upfront, be completely truthful with them about it and take your chances. The worst thing that can happen is that you have to go to the next wholesaler of that product on your list. Never lie to people you work with in business.

Here are some things to remember about the business information you put on your application.

  • Business Address: Your Business Address is, of course, your home address. If your home address is 100 Merchants Road, then it will look to the wholesaler like you have a business office. However, if your home address is 234 Sunny Morning Way, Apartment #5, the wholesaler is going to know right away, without a doubt, that you are a Home-based business. The problem with that is that your Application could end up being trashed before they even give you a chance. Thatís unfair, but it happens sometimes. You may want to consider renting a local Post Office Box in a commercial area, in order to give your business a more professional look. Theyíre cheap, convenient enough, and this isnít the only reason youíll want one. When you deal with your customers, itís better if your business address sounds business-like to them, too.
    Business Phone and Fax : You should put a phone number here that isnít likely to be answered by one of your kids, or by someone who simply says ďHello.Ē When youíre first starting out, I know itís hard to justify spending money on a second phone line, so in this case, you can use a cell phone number if you have one. Again, this isnít just for your wholesale Account Application. Anyone you deal with in your Internet Business that you give a phone number to should get a business-like answer when they call you. If itís going to be your cell phone, change your cell phoneís voicemail message to something like ďThank you for calling Mary Smith, of Smith Enterprises. I am currently on another line or away from my desk. Please leave a message, and Iíll get right back to you.Ē As for a fax number, if you have one, great. If you donít, just put N/A (Non-Applicable) on the Account Application.

  • Hours of Operation: When you own an ECommerce Business, your real hours of operation are 24/7! At least, itíll feel that way. Keep this one simple, though, and say Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Even if youíre working your day job at that time, your Account Rep can still get your professional voicemail, and leave you a message.

  • Business Status: You might come across a wholesale Account Application that asks you what the status of your business is. That means they want to know if your company is a Partnership, a Sole Proprietorship (one person), a Corporation, a Retailer, etc. Sometimes your business will be more than one of those things, in which case you write them all on the application. You could be a Corporation and a Retailer, for example.

The wholesaler is probably asking this question in order to determine how solid your company is, and once again that has to do with extending credit. They will consider a Corporation that is a Partnership to be a stronger business than a Sole Proprietorship.

If you see this question on an Account Application, youíre probably dealing with a wholesaler that is pretty demanding in their criteria for setting up Accounts. Thatís okay, just write in the answers and keep going.

  • Time in Business: The wholesaler will also probably ask you how long youíve been in business. You HAVE to tell them that you are a new business, if thatís the case. Once again, never lie to anyone you do business with.

There will always be people out there who will tell you that a certain amount of deception and underhandedness is unavoidable in business. Thatís not true. On the Internet, your reputation is critically important, and if you are not always honest with everyone you deal with, people will find out. Then theyíll post it all over the Search Engines, and everyone else will find out.

If you mislead a wholesaler and get caught later, youíll just end up running a bunch of auctions that you canít get products for anymore because the wholesaler found out you lied, and cut you off. Sometimes theyíre willing to work with new businesses, sometimes theyíre not. You need to always tell them the truth and take your chances though, if youíre going to establish successful business relationships.

Even so, if youíve been at this for say, a few months, you probably donít want to say ďfour months.Ē You can say ďless than a year.Ē If they ask you for the date you started your business, you can just put down the year alone.

  • Trade References and Bank References: Another question youíll have to answer for most wholesalers is ďWho are your Trade References?Ē What a wholesale Account Application is asking here is ďWhat other wholesalers have you bought from in the past?Ē

For most Home-based EBiz Owners, thatís a tough one, because itís a Catch 22. If youíre trying to get set up with your first wholesaler, you donít HAVE any trade references. But your first wholesaler may not set you up without them.

Along those same lines, theyíll probably ask for business bank references. Theyíll want to know who you bank with, and may ask you for certain business bank account information. What theyíre looking for is information on banks that may have extended business credit to you in the past.

So, theyíll want trade references and bank references. Most Home-based EBiz Owners wonít have those at first. But, there is a completely legitimate way around those issues which works almost every time.

It has to do with the reason theyíre asking you these questions. Most wholesalers are used to extending credit to their Retailers. That means, of course, that you can place orders now and pay for them at the end of the month. Itís called Net 30: you have 30 days from the order date or invoice date to pay them for the products.

However, if you tell the wholesaler that you donít want credit terms, the need for the Trade References and Bank References goes away. You tell them that you either want to pay for the products with cash upfront, or by credit card, which is what the vast majority of Home EBiz Owners do anyway. If they donít have to process you for an extension of credit, they have a much easier time giving you an account.

Later on, when youíve worked with a wholesaler for a while, you can ASK them for credit, and you may get it. Then, THAT wholesaler BECOMES your first Trade Reference, for when you talk to OTHER wholesalers.

  • DUNS (Dunn & Bradstreet) Number: Dunn & Bradstreet is, for the purposes of this discussion, basically a Business Credit Reporting agency. They do much more, but the main reason a wholesaler may ask you for a DUNS number is so that they can pull a credit report on your business.

Once your legal business gets rolling, itís a good idea to look into getting a DUNS number and begin building your Business Credit Record.

At this point though, the wholesaler is asking you for this for the same reason they wanted Trade and Bank References. They think you want them to extend you Net 30 credit.

You can make this issue go away in the same way as the other. Simply tell them you do not want Net 30 at this time, and you will pay by Credit Card as you go.

  • Estimate Purchases From Current Suppliers: This one is fairly rare, but you may see it from time to time. A wholesaler who asks this is trying to establish potential sales that they may make to you. This number will have some effect on their decision to give you an account, but will also be used internally by the wholesaler to estimate their own quarterly sales. If youíre new, and donít currently purchase from other suppliers, just write N/A here.

  • Product Mix: When you see this, the wholesaler is looking for information on what other products you already sell. A wholesaler of candles and incense might feel like theyíre wasting their time setting up an account for a Retailer who currently sells radio controlled cars, for example.

Wholesalers are the most interested in setting up Accounts for Retailers that already have an established customer base that already buys products related to what the wholesaler carries. A situation like that makes a wholesaler feel confident that you might be placing many large orders with them over a short period of time. That means sales, and thatís what itís all about. So, what your current Product Mix is can be a very important question for them to ask, although not all wholesalers ask it.

  • Size of Customer Base: Again, some wholesalers will be interested in your current customer baseóhow many people you already sell to on a regular basis. If you know those numbers, great. If youíre new to EBiz and you donít have the numbers, you can always write in ďNew Business.Ē Wholesalers donít necessarily have a problem with a new business; but if theyíre asking this question, they are probably fairly strict about new Accounts.

  • Physical Storefront: Sometimes youíll find wholesalers who want to see information on, or even an actual picture of, your physical storefront. That means that they want you to have a brick-and-mortar store out there in the world somewhere. There are several reasons for that, but mostly it centers around product wholesalers who have physical sales territories to maintain. They canít step on the toes of those sales territories by allowing people to sell all across those territories on the Internet. If they absolutely require a physical storefront, thereís no getting around that one, and you should just move on to the next wholesaler on your list.

Donít Sweat It

These are the basic things that most wholesale suppliers will ask you for in an Account Application. Overall, this sounds much harder than it is. Wholesale Account Reps are people too. Just be prepared, tell it like it is, and ask them to help.
Youíll know when itís the right time to tell them that you are a Home EBiz Owner. Sometimes the right time is during your first conversation. Other times, youíll feel like you should wait for them to ask. If they can set up an Account for you, they will. If they canít, there are a lot of other suppliers out there.

Owning a Home-based Business is great thing, not something to worry about telling people. Itís just that, by and large, the traditional wholesale world has not really caught up with the 21st century yet. There are still many wholesale companies that operate out of shoddy dockside buildings, use more pencil and paper than computer hardware, and do business the old-fashioned way. Yet, many of those companies are some of the biggest suppliers out there because theyíve been around for decades. Theyíll come around to Home-based EBiz eventually.

You can be sure that if a wholesaler turns you down for an Account because youíre new or Home-based, theyíll turn down all your competitors too, so at least nobody youíre competing against will have that edge over you.

You will get turned down for many more wholesale Accounts than you get accepted for. We certainly did, when our online business was new. Thatís okay. Just move on to the next supplier on your list, and start again. You will find good suppliers you can work with, and if youíre armed with the information above, it will happen sooner than you think.

Resource Note:
At Worldwide Brands, our business is locating legitimate Wholesalers who are willing to work with home-based online businesses. We are the creators of the Worldwide Brands Directory , the Industry Standard Product Sourcing Solution. Our Directory represents millions of Wholesale products you can sell online from thousands of Genuine, Factory-Authorized Wholesale Suppliers. Drop Shippers, Light Bulk Wholesalers, Liquidators, Direct import Buys and much more are all a part of the Directory. Since 1999, our full time Research Staff has carefully compiled this information, and adds NEW Sources every business day of the year. You can certainly do the research on your own, but that research is tremendously time-consuming. The Worldwide Brands Directory instantly brings you millions of wholesale products from Wholesalers who have already agreed to work with online retailers.

In ConclusionÖ

As you can see, how you source your products is very important to your online business. The most successful Internet Sellers understand that in order to compete online they have to use many different sourcing methods (not just drop shipping, not just light bulk, but a combination), ensure that they are working with Factory Authorized Wholesalers, and pick the right products to sell based on actual Market Research. And now you understand this as well!

Learning about Product Sourcing is an ongoing process, but itís a learning process that can take you to ECommerce business heights you never dreamed possible. Using REAL Factory Authorized Wholesale Sources and thoroughly researching what you are going to sell will be the difference between selling online as a hobby and truly running a profit generating internet business.

We hope you have enjoyed our FREE ebook on Product Sourcing!

You can find more FREE Product Sourcing information on our web site, at


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