2.3 – Request For Quotation (RFQ)

Request For Quotation (RFQ)

Now that you have put together a list of approximately 12 potential suppliers it is now time to contact them and gather additional information.

We will be working towards completing Template 2A, whereby we will then be able to keep a track of all information provided to enable us to further narrow down our choices and work towards finding our ideal supplier.

In this stage we will be requesting the following information:

  • Price Per Unit
  • Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)
  • Product Sample Cost

1. Contact Suppliers & Include Product Specifications

Each day manufacturers are flooded with “Requests for Quotations (RFQ’s)” and also requests for samples.

They often have certain filters in place to prioritise. One of these filters is certainly clarity and ease of processing.

By ensuring your paperwork is clear, detailed and specific they will be able to process it in a timely manner. Also if your initial contact shows professionalism and understanding of the process they should also follow your lead in maintaining an extremely professional line of communication from that point forward as they will see you as a serious buyer.

We have put together the following steps for you to follow to help you achieve optimum results:

Step 1: Choose one by one the shortlisted suppliers and visit their contact pages on the Alibaba or Global Sources platforms.

Step 2: Email them using “Email Template 1-RFQ” and also attach “Template 1A-Product Specifications” along with all other relevant files.


Download both of these if you have not done so already:

Email Template 1: RFQ Product Specification Template

2. Communication Platforms

In China many websites and platforms are blocked.

List of Blocked Platforms:

  • Facebook, Whatsapp
  • Twitter
  • Google, Gmail, Youtube, Google Drive
  • Dropbox

Most suppliers in China will use one of the following to communicate:

  • Email
  • Wechat / QQ / Skype
  • Phone
  1. Email: It is common for Chinese sales reps to use their personal email accounts even when sending business related emails. Don’t be too alarmed if you see some qq, Hotmail or 163 domain names when you receive email messages. Unfortunately it is also common for English language emails to find their way into the spam folder and vice versa so keep a good eye on your spam box and also chase emails with calls if you do not get a response within a few days.
  2. Wechat: Facebook messenger and Whatsapp are blocked in China. Chinese use the large and powerful Wechat platform instead. If you download and use wechat you will find it much easier to contact your suppliers. Typed and voice messaging, document sharing and voice calls are all supported on the platform. Wechat is free and can be found on Google Play or Apple Store.
  3. Skype: is also used by the larger manufacturers/suppliers as they are aware that it is commonly used overseas. However not all will use it.
  4. Large Attachments: If you have large files to transfer then perhaps try QQ. This again is available on Google Play and the App store. This is both an email provider and your account will enable you to send massive attachments. If you don’t have QQ and wish to send large attachments you can use wetransfer.com.

To be safe: It is best to request your point of contact’s preferred connectivity platform ID’s and usernames from the suppliers when you contact them and give them yours also if you wish to.

3. Following up on RFQ’s

1. It is advised to follow up every two days. As mentioned email can go into spam. Also it should generally not take more than a few days to receive a response.

2. Never assume: If the supplier has not included all of the information that you requested then respond to them politely asking for an updated quotation with all of the relevant information included.

Also check that all relevant product specifications are listed in the quotation file. This will ensure that the quotation is based on the design and materials that you requested and expect.

4. Be Organized

Download this “Supplier Research Spreadsheet” excel template to facilitate your supplier research and keep it organized. Any information gathered regarding your filtered panel of suppliers can be added to the spreadsheet to enable you to access received information quickly, easily and all in one place:

Supplier Research Spreadsheet

See you in the next lesson.