1000 sets bathtub drain,a novice foreign trade salesperson first order

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I am Samia from Uni-moulding, a recent graduate majoring in International Economics and Trade. After graduation, I entered the foreign trade industry that aligns with my field of study. Recently, I successfully completed my first order, and I would like to share my journey of growth as a novice foreign trade salesperson with you through this article.

Uni-moulding is a foreign trade company with its own factories, catering to both B2C and B2B markets. We operate on platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba International. In February 2023, when I first joined the company, my main task was to familiarize myself with our products by browsing the ones we were already selling on Amazon. Subsequently, I uploaded our products on Alibaba International.

In April 2023, I encountered my first customer, Jonathan Morel, a Frenchman who owns a bathroom supplies chain store in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. After our initial conversation, Jonathan Morel made two separate purchases of samples. The first sample purchase consisted of low-value bathtub face plate (matte black and chrome) to assess the product quality. My manager taught me to showcase the product's advantages to the customer when sending samples. For example, the anti-brass face plate has a unique and beautiful color that cannot be fully captured in pictures. Therefore, in addition to the matte black and chrome face plate that the customer purchased, we included an anti-brass bronze face plate as a gift.

Upon receiving the samples, the customer was very satisfied with the product quality and expressed interest in purchasing the tip-toe bathtub drain and face plate kit as a second sample. He wanted to confirm if the size and thread of the face plate were suitable for local use. Those familiar with the tip-toe bathtub drain product know that it comes in two sizes: 1-1/4 inch and 1-1/2 inch. Although we were confident that our threads met the ASTM standards, to avoid losing the customer due to size issues, I requested my manager's permission to include an extra brass nut when sending the samples. By adjusting the nut, the customer could fine-tune the size of the tip-toe bathtub drain, increasing the likelihood of placing an order. This idea stemmed from my manager's advice to showcase the product to the customer. Even though the customer only purchased the 1-1/4 inch size, adding a nut allowed the customer to make a more accurate judgment regarding whether our product met their local market standards.

After receiving the second set of samples, the customer was very satisfied and decided to place a formal order. Additionally, he separately ordered an additional 300 brass nuts beyond the originally planned quantity. However, he requested TWO  changes to the product:

Change 1: In terms of product packaging, he wanted the face plate and tip-toe bathtub drain button to be packaged separately in PE bags. Our original packaging sold the face plate and button as a set. He mentioned that many end customers might only need the face plate or button, so separate packaging would facilitate individual sales.

Solution: Since both face plate and button are metal products, without proper protection , the product surface would likely be scratched during transportation, affecting subsequent sales. Ultimately, we developed a new packaging solution to meet the customer's request: using transparent boxes to package the face plate and button separately. This packaging not only provided sufficient protection but also showcased the aesthetics and quality of the brass bathtub drain, making it suitable for offline store sales.

Lesson learned: Do not blindly comply with the customer's ideas. From the customer's perspective, product production and transportation processes are relatively unfamiliar, so certain requirements may not be fully considered. A competent foreign trade salesperson needs to stand in the customer's shoes and provide a better solution.

Change 2: In terms of product processing, the customer wanted the length of the screws to be half of our original length.

Solution: Since our product has been selling well in the North American market, based on our experience, we believed that the original screw length was appropriate. We suggested that the customer use our standard screw length. However, the customer insisted on shortening the screws based on the sample he had and provided the precise screw length: 3/4 inch. After confirming through text, pictures, and email with the customer, we ultimately made the product changes according to the customer's requirements.

As shown in the image,





Lesson learned: Under the customer's insistence, it is necessary to respect the customer's ideas because there may be subtle preferences for products in the customer's local market. However, such unconventional changes need to be confirmed multiple times through text and pictures to avoid misunderstandings. If the changes are more complex and significant, even sending samples may be required for confirmation.


In September 2023, the customer confirmed receiving the goods, expressed gratitude for my service, and mentioned that they would place another order in the future,

as shown in the image.

It was this email that suddenly made my six months of work meaningful! To be honest, these six months were not as easy as I portrayed in my article. Initially, even sending emails was not so proficient for me, and coupled with my unfamiliarity with the products and various processes, I encountered many setbacks during this process. Although my manager's guidance helped me overcome various difficulties and I experienced significant growth, setbacks naturally brought a sense of defeat. It was the customer's positive feedback that swept away my six months of frustration. It turned out that I had done a decent job in the eyes of the customer, and I suddenly regained the confidence that had been shaken for the past six months. Presently, Samia is full of enthusiasm and welcomes new orders!


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