If a merchant doesn’t go after profits, then all its deed is futile. For a businessman, it’s meaningless for it to go into business if it has no intention of seeking benefits. The same is true in foreign trade.
Reed came across it recently. The salesperson, Betty in his team received an inquiry from Alibaba which was an invitation to ask Betty to go to Hong Kong. The customer was a Greek and hoped to purchase products from Reed’s company. Reed asked Betty to have a good introduction of products and the situation of the company and also be careful.
Betty came back then happily with saying something weird about the customer.
The Greek customer was pretty generous and enthusiastic and paid the bills for Betty’s visit in cash. But the customer also stated that Betty wasn’t the person in charge so he wanted to meet a person who could make decision. What’s more, the customer seemed indifferent to Betty’s introduction of Betty’s products and the company.
Reed felt strange as the customer had made it clear in the inquiry that it intended to conduct business with Reed’s company. But why didn’t he pay more attention to the products but ask another one who can take the responsibility for a decision to meet with him?
Reed subconsciously attempted to understand the background information of the customer and he knew that the customer owned a company in Hong Kong while Reed couldn’t acquire the details of the company.
Reed did suppose that the customer was a little fishy but after considering that the customer was quite generous and Reed got some guard consciousness, he made up his mind to meet the customer.
In a famous hotel in Hong Kong, Reed met the customer. The customer was pretty talky but once the conversation referred to Reed’s products and services, the customer seemed that he lost interest in it.
In the following second meeting, the customer brought Reed to a high-end Japanese Food Restaurant. Reed was about to introduce a newly-launched product to the customer when he felt that the atmosphere was appropriate but the customer asked Reed to take it easy. Reed could only glut himself with delicacies and through that, Reed also tried to know what the customer’s concrete operational projects without getting a straight answer.
After the meal, the customer paid as usual but still had no intention of mentioning products or further cooperation. Reed was confused and was utterly ignorant of what the customer’s going to do.
In the third meeting, the customer stated that he was going to develop business in Pakistan. Although Pakistanis aren’t fond of the Europeans, they like Chinese. The customer hoped that Reed could register a company in Pakistan and conduct business for him. And the customer said that a VIP from Pakistan would come to Hong Kong before long and the European investor would also be invited.
The customer asked Reed to spare no efforts to put on the dog and made the Pakistani feel at home and most of all, all the expenses would be undertaken by the customer.
As far as Reed was concerned, since the VIP from Pakistan was so important, then he should communicate with the customer on how to introduce products and make the exhibition look good. Unexpectedly, the customer told Reed to make it a normal communication, stating a point that both the documents and products were not much important and the key was that Reed must be on the spot. To convince Reed, the customer effected extra payment to Reed.
The more Reed thought of this, the more anxious he became. Therefore, Reed pleaded that he was busy with business and was unable to deal with these things when the customer invited Reed again to go to Hong Kong.
After using both hard and soft tactics, the customer gave up but still asked Reed to go to Hong Kong so as to return the down payment and they could still be friends.
With the same reason, Reed said that it’s not allowed for him to go to Hong Kong and if the customer wanted the payment back, he could just go to Shenzhen where Reed’s headquarter was located whenever he could.
The customer disappeared through several times of inquiries.
In my eyes, the customer was very aberrant. Supposing that the customer was sincere to purchase Reed’s products, he didn’t ask Reed about the product information from start to finish but behaved like a man of wealth and treated Reed feasts. Supposing that the customer was actually a liar, the cost of cheating was pretty high.
When Reed chose to back up, the customer asked Reed to return the payment after going to Hong Kong. When Reed advised the customer to gather payment in Shenzhen, the customer was curious about why Reed set so much thresholds.
Above all, the customer was suspicious when he chose to make concessions in the end. It must be that the customer had some hidden secrets and he’s afraid of entering China customs area, albeit with desire of getting the down payment back。
As a matter of fact, we don’t have to think it to be too much complicated. Our mission is to promote the products and market them. Once a customer keeps avoiding discussion of details of products, we should be careful for if there is any problem, the consequences can range from a waste of time to a loss of all bets and even ending up in jail.
The customer in the case was very likely to take advantage of Reed and deceived the VIP from Pakistan and the previous expenditure was just a piece of cake. And once things come to light, the customer could make its get-away and Reed would be the one to blame.
Reed shouldn’t make contact with the customer without scruple after finding that the customer’s company remained in name only. Don’t ever get ourselves in trouble owing to petty profits. Curiosity kills the cat.