EA26 Listen in to 1 Hour Amazon Wholesale Coaching Call

EA26 Listen in to 1 Hour Amazon Wholesale Coaching Call

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On this special episode of Entrepreneur Adventure, Todd lets us listen-in on one of his one-on-one coaching calls. Stay tuned for exclusive insight on everything from cold-calling brands, building relationships, hiring VAs, and analyzing product lists.

Products 101

When deciding if a supplier’s products are worth your time, there are a couple of things to look for. You’re looking for products that sell well and products that Amazon isn’t currently selling. You can also look at products a brand isn’t currently selling on Amazon, but the process of integrating a new product is quite a bit of work. Todd uses Tactical Arbitrage and analyzer tools when sorting through product lists.

Analyzing Lists

Speaking of, while many sellers focus on ROI, Todd also filters products by number of reviews. His focus is finding products that aren’t selling well. He then works to improve their listing to boost sales and potentially secure an exclusive agreement with a supplier. Once you have an estimate (through plug-ins or results from a small test order) you can take an appropriate order number to suppliers and request discounts.

Building Relationships

How can you sell yourself to suppliers on the phone? Well, most of the time suppliers will say they don’t work with Amazon sellers. When this happens, listen to their reasonings and think of ways you can overcome them.

If a supplier shuts you down, follow up every now and then with suggestions to improve their existing listings and other free advice. Then, if they’re ever looking to switch up their selling strategy, you’ll be top of mind. Todd uses HubSpot to manage his CRM. Every email he sends to a supplier is tagged for tracking.

People Love Talking About Themselves

Cold-calling suppliers can be nerve-wracking. Before the call, try doing some research on the person you’re speaking with. For instance, see if they’ve liked a sports team on LinkedIn and bring up a recent game. Not to mention, in this current climate, everyone has something in common. Pick suppliers’ brains about how COVID-19 is treating their business and follow their lead when they bring up their views on politics. Taking the time to build rapport with responsive suppliers goes a long way.

Virtual Assistants

When you’re ready to outsource, virtual assistants are great for handling distributor calls and other tasks that follow a strict procedure or are simple to master. Todd has hired through FreeUp and, when it comes to training, will train the VA via Skype or Zoom, record the video, watch them nail it, and then have the VA write an SOP in case Todd decides to expand.

Shipping Best Practices

Some suppliers offer shipments to Amazon and some don’t. Todd has actually started building his own warehouse. As he points out, there are benefits to dealing with shipping yourself. For instance, sometimes a supplier will send the wrong product and you’ll suddenly have insight into products you never knew existed. Handling shipping yourself also offers an extra layer of security. After all, who do you trust more with your business: yourself or a prep center employee going through the motions?

Suspensions

There’s risk to any platform that makes its own rules (Amazon, eBay, Walmart), but as long as you’re a legitimate seller – you don’t use ungating services and you work with legitimate suppliers – you’ll be fine.

Overall

No matter where you are in your Amazon journey, hopefully this provided you with valuable insights. Thanks for listening fellow entrepreneurs. And always remember, success is yours if you take it.

Resources From This Episode

Outline Of This Episode

[00:18] Todd’s introduction to this episode

[02:10] Meet Brian

[05:20] Pursuing brands and finding profitable products

[11:05] The logistics behind optimizing listings

[12:28] Top software systems for analyzing product lists

[13:31] What happens when you can’t purchase products?

[16:20] Why listening is essential

[21:25] Tips for relationship-building

[26:13] Website advice

[29:41] How to hire and manage virtual assistants

[35:34] Analyzing product lists

[39:56] Shipping 101

[48:12] Amazon risks

[53:52] Todd’s closing thoughts on this episode

Transcript

Announcer (00:01):
Welcome fellow entrepreneurs to the entrepreneur adventure podcast where we talk about Amazon wholesale and how you can use it to build an eCommerce empire, a side hustle or anything in between. And now your host, Todd Welch.

Todd (00:17):
Hey, what’s up everybody hope everybody else out there is doing well. Everybody’s safe and we’re going through some crazy times right now, but e-commerce is booming so I hope your business is doing well. I hope your family is doing well. Everybody’s safe, but today we’re going to do something a little bit different. This is actually a public coaching call that I did with Brian. He purchased a coaching call from me and he was gracious enough to allow me to put it up for all of you out there to learn from it as well. So Brian, I really appreciate you allowing me to do that and throwing it up there and allowing other people to learn from the questions that you had for myself. So this is going to be episode 26 of the entrepreneur adventure podcast. So if you want to get the show notes or the transcript for this episode, make sure to head on over to entrepreneur adventure.com forward slash 26 as well as any of the links or anything else that we talk about in this episode.

Todd (01:27):
You can get those over there and of course always make sure you subscribe by podcast and if you’re on YouTube watching this, hit that like and subscribe button as well. Now the quality, the audio quality of this is not quite up to par of what my normal episodes are. I filmed this in my warehouse and I did not have my setup there yet with my nice Mike or anything. So I apologize if the audio quality is not up to par and the video is a little bit shaky, but it’s fantastic information. I think you’ll really get a lot of value out of this, so stay tuned. So with that, let’s go ahead and dive into this episode with Brian. So Brian, just going over here, email here says that you’re selling on Amazon. You’ve been selling for one to two years. Do you want to go over the basics and get some clarification on how to handle calls?

Todd (02:23):
If when I’m assuming brands and distributors and stuff do give you a call. And what I’ve been doing, it’s more or less sending out emails and mass and then now the next step would be if they don’t Mark down, if they don’t respond to track, follow up with a another email via a different way, different email or portal or different email on their stuff and that doesn’t work, then follow up with the call. I know that’s like the most important thing, but it, it’s like, it is nerve wracking for sure. I don’t know, cause I don’t know these people, I don’t care, but still it’s kind of like in that thing, like an inherited thing. No, I definitely understand that. It’s, it’s not something that’s natural for most people. So, um, before we dive into, we’re, where are you from right now? I’m in lockdown in Chicago, in Chicago, city of Chicago.

Todd (03:20):
I’m like 45 minutes outside. Okay. Naperville area. So the suburbs. Yeah. Okay. All right. Close enough that everything is locked down. That’s a bummer. So you guys are still locked down pretty heavy right now. Even out here in the Burkes, it’s flat out and you have to wear masks to go into most stores. It’s like a mandatory thing. Yeah, for sure. Here in Utah. And where are you at? I’m in over in Orem, Utah. So we’ve been pretty locked down light here I suppose. Um, didn’t really lock anything down. It was more just recommendations and suggestions until April. Strong suggestions. Yeah. Yeah. And then May 1st they basically ended a lot of the lockdown so we can go to restaurants now. Um, but they have like every other table or every third day kind of thing and stuff like that. So it was mostly not too bad here.

Todd (04:29):
Um, the only thing that really got shut down were like restaurants you couldn’t go into and then, um, like salons and stuff like that they did for the month of April. But you have pretty locked down light here for the most part. Yeah. I was just looking at an app, like only like a few States were hit really hard, like restless States. It’s like not that bad. It’s still bad. But yeah, it’s interesting. He’s like, some people are dealing with it like 10 times worse than other people, but yeah, for sure. Yeah. Not a good situation, but in my opinion, a great time to be selling on Amazon so that, absolutely. So why don’t we go ahead and dive into uh, what you want to go over and just ask me whatever questions you got. Basically while you just are, when you’re looking, let’s say you’re not using your VA whatever and you’re just starting and you’re looking for brands to contact, like what are some of the free West prerequisites that you look for when deciding if a brain is a good one to contact? Like I know you’ve mentioned like Amazon not being on it, but is that like a blanket statement or can they be on maybe some of the products, like let’s say they have 50 products and they’re on all of them except for maybe two or three, but those two or three are, they’ve never really been on those three and they’re good sellers. I don’t know if that’s a situation

Brian (05:58):
that exists, but

Todd (06:00):
yeah, yeah, definitely. I sell a lot of products like that where Amazon is on some of their listings, but not all of them. So, uh, we’re, when you’re doing like the reverse sourcing and stuff like that, you’re just looking to find some products that Amazon is not on. Um, you know, sometimes you can find some really good products by searching for a brand name and then finding those listings that are like two packs or four packs or maybe a combo of a couple of their products or something like that in Amazon’s not on those listings. And a lot of times those can be really good products to sell. So yeah, definitely not. Once you’re actually looking at a brand, you’re just finding whatever products sell. Well, same thing with a distributor. When you’re looking through their big list, you’re probably gonna find a lot of products at Amazon selling a ton of their stuff, but there might be one or two or handful that they’re not selling and those are the ones that you’re really looking for.

Brian (07:07):
Okay, cool. I just didn’t know if it was kind of like just like a blanket, ah, Amazon’s on it. Forget it. They’re eventually gonna find those products, forget it.

Todd (07:19):
Amazon’s really weird sometimes in that it’ll carry like all of the brands products, but then they’ll be like one or two that for some reason they don’t carry or they’re like out of stock like 90% of the time. I don’t know how that happens. They admit they’re, I guess they’re just dealing with millions of products. They just fall through the cracks maybe kind of thing. But yeah, you find that quite a bit.

Brian (07:44):
And then I’m guessing probably sometimes these distributors don’t always have their all their products up too. So maybe those one or two products, maybe they have more that they have enlisted or not too hard. Just have overlooked or

Todd (08:02):
you know, that’s kind of a whole nother game. Helping brands bring new products to Amazon. Uh, it’s a lot more work. But if the, if it’s a brand that is selling really well, then there’s definitely an opportunity. If they have other like similar products that are known, the Amazon, you could try throwing them up and see if they get any traction just off of the brand name. If people are searching for brand, uh, they might find those products and maybe get selling. I’ve done a little bit of that before. A lot of times that’s with like an exclusive agreement or something like that so that I have a little bit more of a guarantee. But yeah, that’s definitely something you can do.

Brian (08:45):
My next question is can we look at an example of a good listing versus a bad listing? You know, like what, what might a, it’s like when you get the buy box, does all the info, the page, does that change for each person who holds the my box or is it the same listing information for that? Like does that make sense?

Todd (09:07):
Uh, what do you mean by information? Like the title and the bullet

Brian (09:11):
when like your own description, like your own bullet points, your own photos or whatever. Does that pop up when you are the buy box owner or

Todd (09:22):
no? Um, Amazon will like collect all this stuff together and put in the information from whoever thinks has the most authority. So if the brand is registered, then it’s only gonna show up, whatever the brain, if it’s not registered, then it’s going to be, you know, whoever has the most authority can make some changes potentially. Um, but there’s also times, a lot of times where you have to have Amazons or make any changes and then you’re going to have to share with them, approve like a picture of the product with the UBC and the information that you want to change the manufacturer’s website, stuff like that.

Brian (10:07):
Yeah, no, that’s a super new question. But all the sales that I’ve done are, have been used products up until this point, like media books a month EVD and CDs. So that’s been really good. But I know that’s all I’ve dealt with, so I send it in and know about that, but I wanted to ask. That’s good to know.

Todd (10:27):
No, that’s a good place to get started doing the doing retail arbitrage kind of thing.

Brian (10:31):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s, so I have, I have like whatever, it’s not an email business anymore. It’s across many platforms now, but I don’t know like 2000, 2000 items store. Um, so that’s kinda how I got into it. I built that up to a point where it’s now 90% automated, VA’s taken care of pretty much everything and then work on it like 10 hours a week. And now I’m not at that point. That’s why I’m not focusing on something else this, but I’m nice. So then piggybacking on that question, when you’re talking to suppliers and you’re telling them what you can do for them and one of those things is optimizing listing, how much can you even really do that or like

Todd (11:14):
quite a bit. Um, if you’re dealing with the brand direct, then when a lot of times I try to do is, uh, get them to register their brand if they have a trademark and then, um, they will share access to their Amazon account. So I can go in there and make changes. Um, if that’s not the case and we don’t have like an exclusive agreement or something, then I will just work with Amazon support and make the changes. I’ll make the changes on my backend. If they don’t take, then I open a case with Amazon support to get them to try to make the changes. In those cases though, if you’re not with an exclusive agreement, then you’re really just trying to optimize the listing to get more sales and if it works, awesome. If not, well you’re, you’re selling the product anyways because it’s getting some sales and it was worthwhile to begin with. So if you’re really diving into it and you’re getting an exclusive agreement, then you’re going to be working more closely with the brand. Hopefully you can get the registered and stuff like that.

Brian (12:27):
Yeah. Next question. What, what software are you currently using for analyzing lists?

Todd (12:33):
Analyzing lists, so I’ve been going back and forth between analyzer tools and tactical arbitrage. I like the interface of analyzer tools better than tactical arbitrage, but I really like that tactical arbitrage will show like a 90 day section of the keeper graph. Right in the results so that way I can more quickly just like scroll through and if I see orange that Amazon’s on the listing, then I can just keep scrolling down until I find ones that they’re not and then dig a little bit deeper. So I’ve been using tactical arbitrage a little bit more because of that recently.

Brian (13:09):
Yeah. That’s super nice. Cool. Um, is that like to keep a graph right there for you?

Todd (13:14):
Yeah, and Jules has that as well, but in the desktop version you got to hover over the rank for Depop up and then in the web version you have to click on it and go to another page to see the keeper graphs. They’re just having it all right there is really nice.

Brian (13:31):
Yeah. So like, uh, I know I’m wondering, your videos, you mentioned that you come across, you know, after a while you end up coming across more products and you have to buy, um, or maybe, I don’t know if that’s your case now, but I imagine that’s the case for a lot of people. What do, I’m sure you don’t just throw away those products to forget about them or lose them. So like what do you do with those products? But do you try to set up connections with other wholesalers that you can then be a middleman or you just keep them on the back burner when you do have money or

Todd (14:04):
mostly just the back burner. Um, I might order like a small test order just to make that account active, you know, with the brand or with the distributor so that you don’t just disappear. Um, but yeah, then you just kind of hold it and you gotta buy whatever gives you the best return. So until you have the money to buy deeper than it just kinda sits there. Maybe throw in a small order every once in a while just to, you know, so they know that you’re still alive and still going. But yeah. Yeah. Unfortunately that’s the case that you don’t may have so much money to deal with. So there’s going to be products that you can’t purchase a whole of time.

Brian (14:53):
I guess I was just thinking that’s just like way above my league right now. I just like thinking thoughts and ideas or whatever means you add kind of like, um, group of other wholesalers that did have a lot of cash, maybe not as many products to spend. What made you hooked up those two people? You know, the products that you can, products that you can’t sell and people who do need a product that don’t have money. Maybe you could take a middle piece in there.

Todd (15:19):
Yeah, yeah, a hundred percent. There’s people out there who do that sell, you know, lists and brands and stuff like that. I’ve thought about it because it’d be, you know, it’d be easy way to make some extra money. But, um, for me, I kind of decided that it was a little bit shortsighted because my goal was to have enough money to just buy everything and it’s hard enough to find really good products to just of sell those for a flat fee and then not have access to it anymore or just have more competition. So I decided not to do that. You definitely could. I mean there’s people out there that do that for sure. There’s lots of people that that’s just, that’s their business, right? They’re basically finding products that people could sell and then selling those lists. So you can definitely do that. I decided not to, um, I figured, you know, figure out a way to get the money if they’re good enough to sell.

Brian (16:20):
Like two of the big things that when you’re like telling them things and why you should go to either products or why they should sell you their products. Like what are the big things like, so you’re telling them that I can optimize the listing if you need, I can run that, you know, protection or whatever. I can teach you how to file violations and this and that. Um, do you, what are the smaller skills that you might need to know? Like running? Like, do you need to know how to run at campaigns? Um, like is that something we should not do?

Todd (16:53):
Um, yeah, it’s definitely a skill. I mean, they’re all good skills to know. Um, you know, and, and right up front when you’re first trying to buy from a brand, you’re not gonna want to necessarily be like, yeah, I’ll do your ads and optimize your listing and all this other stuff. Because just think of a, if a stranger calls you up and asked if they could do all this stuff for your business, you’d be like, who the heck are you? You know, why, why would I trust you to do anything with my business? So in the beginning, it’s just all about building their relationship, getting to know them, um, asking questions about their business. And of course, when the dreaded thing comes up, when they ask you if you sell on Amazon, you know, you’re kind of like, well, yeah, of course we’re an eCommerce company, Amazon’s our biggest channel.

Todd (17:52):
Um, so we sell a lot of product down there kind of thing. And then if they don’t want any more Amazon sellers, which is a lot of times, well, we don’t want any more Amazon sellers, then, um, probably the first thing that I asked them is just, do you mind if I ask you why? You know, and that’s when you can just be quiet and listen to what they say because then 95% of the time they’re going to tell you exactly why they hate Amazon seller. And so then that’s your opportunity to try to work around that and get into being able to sell their products even at all. Right? We’re not trying to get an exclusive agreement or anything. The first time we talked to them, it’s basically just all about trying to sell their products. So if they say something like, well, we’ve got too many of them.

Todd (18:48):
I don’t even know where any of them are getting their products and stuff like that. Um, then you can start talking about, you know, how are you, how do you handle your supply chain? And, um, have you asked people for like their Amazon seller ID number, which is the number that is locked down to every list. Every seller, even though they can change their name, they can’t change that. And a lot of times they don’t know that kind of stuff. And you’re basically just going to give them free information, whether you get to sell their product or not, you’re just going to try to help them out of the goodness of your heart with the hope that maybe you can sell their product someday. And then what I’ll do if, if they still don’t want me to sell their product, that’s completely fine. But what I would do then is just start like following up with them every month and just send them emails.

Todd (19:48):
Like, Hey, I took a look at your listing and you know, if you change your title to this, who would really help in your search results? So just like, just give them value and um, yeah, that’s kinda just like a go, just give them little snippets of value and I hope for something back. I don’t even ask for anything, you know, I’m just throwing information out there and maybe, maybe in a year, maybe in six months, maybe in five years they’ll be like, Hey, I remember we’re, we’re trying to make a change on Amazon and there’s this guy who’s always been emailing me, let’s get a hold of him. Maybe he wants to help us out. So, and I’ve had that happen, you know, it doesn’t happen all the time. Sometimes they just ignore you. I use HubSpot for my CRM, so all my emails are tagged for that. So I can see when people open my emails and how many times they open it. And when you send suggestions like that, you’ll see that they open it like three, four, five, 10 times. They’re probably coming back in there to read what you said and maybe do it or something like that. So, um, not always, but it’s always interesting to see how many people times they open your emails. So, and maybe it’ll turn into something, maybe it won’t it or no, but you just keep throwing out value and eventually, um, it’ll come back around.

Brian (21:24):
Cool. And then the, yeah, you were just touching on this. Um, the videos that I’ve watched about wholesale and everyone talks about building relationships and uh, you know how it can take days, weeks, years. Um, I guess as somebody who hasn’t done a ton of phone calls, who knows exactly how those conversations go. To me, it’s like how does it go any farther than, and can I slate products? No. Okay. You know, like how do you, how do you continue? Like what do you mean, what do you just use talking about you to shoot the shit or shoot the, sorry, just shoot, you know, just talk and get to know each other. Like they’re willing to do that or they want to do that or build a relationship supplier.

Todd (22:09):
Yeah. Sometimes. I mean, sometimes they’re willing to talk, sometimes they’ll just be cold. You never know. Um, but you just kind of got to think about it. Uh, people like to talk about themselves. So if you can get them talking about themselves and asking questions, then a lot of times people like to talk about it. Like if you’re dealing with a brand, especially a small brand, you can be like, you know, how’d you come up with the idea for making this product and just let them start talking about it. And that’s, that’s why I talked about too about starting in a area that you’re familiar with. Maybe you’re, you, it’s a hobby that you like or something like that because then you can talk about that hobby more and just continue asking questions and drill deeper and things like that. Just find out more about them, about their company. Um, you know, a lot of people are proud of the products that they made, so they’d be more than happy to tell you about how they came up with the idea and how business is going and things like that.

Brian (23:22):
And so then you’ll just like, so as you, you haven’t gotten the guests yet, but maybe I haven’t gotten to know either. It’s kind of like whatever. So when you keep reaching out or like every, every now and then.

Todd (23:34):
Yeah, yeah. It, depending on how that first conversation went, you know, if it went really well and you kind of develop the connection with the person, like you got along on the phone, then yeah, you can follow back up in a month or two and just check in and see our things are going. How’s Amazon treating ya? Is there anything I can help you with? Um, other things that you can do to make it a little bit smoother. And I’m still no professional at this, just learning the alarm away. I’m trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. But for example, in the past I’ve looked someone up on LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter and found out, you know, where they’re from, what kind of, uh, if they like sports, maybe they like football team or baseball team or something like that. And then you have something else to talk about. Right now it’s really easy because if you can find out where they’re at, then you can ask, you know, how are things going in Florida right now with lockdown and stuff. And you have like an immediate connection with everybody right now because everybody’s going through the same thing. So right now I found it’s even easier than normal because we all have something in common in the entire country right now. So,

Brian (24:59):
so you’re kind of just like filling out, playing it by ear, whether you’re going to reach back out or that’s even worth it or not. It’s kind of like a case by case basis. Yeah,

Todd (25:09):
yeah, yeah. And a lot of times I’ll ask that right up front, like, Hey, how’s everything going with this crazy world that we live in right now? I hope your family’s safe and businesses doing good. And then just listen to them and I’ll try to judge you know, where they’re coming from politically and emotionally and everything, and then just kind of go down that path. Like I’ve had people say, Hey, yeah, I’ve had the police come and they made me go home. And it’s just crazy what the governors are doing and it’s not acceptable. And so I go down that path. I’ve had other people tell me that. Um, yeah. And it’s really good that we’re locking everything down and hopefully we don’t open up too fast. And so I go down that path and I can relate to both, right? Because politically I’m very much in the middle, so I agree with both aspects of it. And, um, I’ve gone down that and that’s worked really well lately because people have pretty strong emotions one way or another.

Brian (26:12):
Basically building connections. Yep. Yeah. Sweet. I did build a quick website. It’s e-comm intelligence. I just made it like a few days ago. It’s a, yeah, it’s not until stop. It was just like a quick, I think I botched your video.

Todd (26:33):
Protect, optimize, win. Nice. I like the, the main page here. Um, can, uh, I’ll share my screen so that people are watching this. Can see. There we go. Can you see your website? Yep. All right. So yeah, I love to grow, protect, optimize land. We’re not just another online seller. We’re so much more. We actually care and with Karen comes quality, really awesome to have the people here. People like to relate with other people. And so having the smiling people there is really relatable. Um, the colors are nice and they go well together as well and yeah. Nice. You followed my video here really nicely. Follow map building, brand product perfection. AB testing. Yeah. Very nice. I like it a lot. You built this yourself?

Brian (27:33):
Yeah, that’s a word press. Like driving drop ins. But yeah,

Todd (27:38):
very nice. Now I feel like I need to make mine better. Here’s even better than my website. I think it’s very nice. Good work.

Brian (27:47):
Thanks. Yeah. So I just want something to show or whatever and I have the email address, but um,

Todd (27:54):
very good. Um, one thing I would probably add on here is an about us page, um, that is nine times out of 10, the most clicked on website on the website. Uh, people will always click over to the, about us, so definitely add that on here. Cool. Yeah, I’ll make a note of that. Yeah. Very nice. I like it. Good work.

Brian (28:23):
I’m guessing you have VA’s that are working for you on this right now, but, uh, like the one thing just that I learned big time with, um, eBay and the stuff that do over there that I basically do new shoes mostly. Um, new English shoes. Uh, no, no, that’s just poor [inaudible] on my part, new and used.

Todd (28:48):
It’s new and used. Okay. I thought it was some brand name.

Brian (28:51):
I shouldn’t get into that English shoots. Oh, that sounds cool. Got it. Okay. But yeah, so the one thing that I really learned about that was that there’s just so many tedious tasks and, uh, after doing thousands upon thousands of individual species myself, I’ve just gotten to the point where I cannot really stomach doing tasks that I know that I can hire out. Um, and I’ve been getting, I’ve been working on building SOP is for different, uh, different things I’m doing. Um, I’m pretty much finished with the one that I’m working on for this. Um, but yeah, so you, you were saying you do have BAS working on it, um, or you have like, just like one VA that does like a source sourcing or something and

Todd (29:41):
yeah, I’ve got

Brian (29:42):
one VA right now who is doing like the sourcing. Uh, he’s doing the reverse sourcing and finding brands, distributors and emailing brands. He’s emailing brands and calling distributors. And then I follow up with phone calls to brands directly. Um, distributors are just so easy. Most of the time it’s just basically, Hey, how do we open up an account to sell with you guys? Uh, what’s your email? I’ll send you over the paperwork. And then that’s about it. Nine times out of 10 with distributors, brands, it’s a lot harder. So nine times out of 10, they’re like drilling you about stuff. So I try to do all the brand stuff and build that connection and things like that. He’s getting better from the Philippines and he’s got very minimal, uh, accent. If he didn’t know he was from the Philippines, you speak great English and there.

Brian (30:46):
And so I’m trying, I’m hoping that I can eventually build him up to that. That’s kind of the goal. So he is doing sourcing and sales calls? Correct. Two distributors. I set them up with Nextiva phone. It’s just a phone on the computer so you can call it has a Utah phone number and everything and he’s calling during USA business time and opening those accounts and he does really good at that. And then he’s also shooting off the emails, uh, replying to emails, filling out applications and things like that. And you find you have to train them from scratch or did you find him on online jobs? I found him originally on, uh, free up. So F R e.com. Um, and that went really well. We worked for there for about an hour and then I hired him director for an hour for a year and then I hired him directly after that.

Brian (31:53):
But he did well with them for a year. Uh, worked with them for a year through free up the free out platform. They’re like a hiring agency, they find good VAs and stuff like that. Um, I don’t use them any more, but I definitely recommend them to anyone who doesn’t have experience hiring because they do a lot of the legwork for you in finding good candidates. But now I’m using online jobs.ph basically just a job board in the Philippines. I post a job there, I interview and then hire. Um, now that I’ve got, you know, a lot of experience in hiring and stuff like that. Yeah. I could have been benefited from free up probably toward two years ago when I hiring people for random tasks because at first online jobs it was, it was really hard, like figuring out how to, just like the levels of tasks that I expected for them and what it can do and what can’t do. And just like eating them, breaking things down so they can digest it in a way. So like it took me a long time. But um, yeah, no online jobs, pH, it’s a great source. It’s the only one that I use or have used, but so that’s cool. And then pretty much trained them from the ground up I guess. Sounds like.

Todd (33:12):
Yeah. Yeah. But what I’ve found works the best for me is we basically jump on a training call. I’m using zoom or Skype just like we’re doing here. And I record it and I go through the task and show them exactly what I want them to do and that way they have that video and then they do it and perfect it. And then I have them write in SOP. So a step by step procedure. So that I can then save the video and that step by step procedure, uh, if we need to expand or maybe they leave and I need to hire someone else. Um, now we have that documentation and training.

Brian (33:56):
Yeah. And usually once, not, not like you would think. Sometimes it’s not, it can be confusing. Right. So it’s like, it’s good to have the three step that the written the video and then jumping up tall and like actually like hands on practice. It’s like the chart that trifecta failed experience before. Like,

Todd (34:21):
no. Um, he had, well he had worked in a call center so he had experienced talking on the phone in English to people. Uh, so he had that but not really sales or anything like that. I pretty much trained him on all of that. And I actually bought grant Cardone university. Um, grant Cardone is a sales guy. He has sales training. So I bought that forum and I had him go through that just to give him some training that that’s like a hundred dollars a month. It changes depending on where you buy it from. But, um, I had him go through that and had listened to some of my phone calls as we went through and just got them up to speed like that. And then I would have him do the calls and I would listen in, you know, we do like a, a Skype call and I would listen into his conversations so

Brian (35:15):
that the people know you’re on the other end, are you just kind of like shut up

Todd (35:21):
because he was using the, the Nextiva phone and then we would have a Skype conversation going as well. So I could hear everything that both sides were saying.

Brian (35:30):
So like when you, uh, you know, switching topics a little bit, like when you’re like analyzing, um, what’s like the minimum ROI or it’s like 30% don’t want to just like keep flat. He just be able to keep the cashflow going that we set up.

Todd (35:46):
Yeah. Yeah. So in the beginning, I’m going pretty wide right now. Um, I’m actually going all the way down to 0%. Not that I would buy that product, but in my initial check I do 0% or higher. Um, and I’m actually focusing now more on reviews. So if the listing has like five or use or more is what I’m filtering it on 0% ROI or higher. And because I’m looking for like those deep products that maybe are not selling well right now, but I can make some changes and get them selling more or maybe they just haven’t been sold for awhile or people are selling them at really high prices and I can undercut the price and get them selling well and then I’m going to the brand or the distributor and asking for discounts. So that’s why I’m going down to 0% because I don’t want to miss any potential because then I can make a list of everything that I think I can buy and send it over to the brand and be like, this is what I think I can sell per month. If the price is right. Um, you might even want to put like a price, a target price. Like, if you can get to this price, I think I can sell 50 a month or a hundred a month, 20 a month, whatever you estimate from jungle scout or tactical arbitrage or whatever you’re using. I use a combination of a jungle scout, tactical arbitrage and the kipa statistics kind of get a guesstimate, um, and then send that over to them and see what kind of discounting they can give you.

Brian (37:25):
Right. Cause most, um, was um, less, um, on the, on the surface are not going to be proud of them.

Todd (37:36):
95% of them are not. There’s, there’s maybe 5% of distributors and brands out there that will not discount their price at all. And I’ll tell you that. Um, but most of them will discount something, whether it’s a couple percent, 5%, 10%, 20%, you know, whatever the case may be. I’ve had some discount up to like 30, 40, 50%. Um, it’s not common, but it does happen sometimes. So if you don’t ask, then you don’t know.

Brian (38:10):
Yeah, I’d say like, I’m on Q and a like a thousand bucks. I’d say. Um, you don’t have to order a thousand dollars worth each skew. Like could you buy like even maybe just five of one skew and maybe in a couple of hundred XQ as long as it adds up to a thousand or, or like usually like you have to do whatever a hundred this product add up to a thousand.

Todd (38:36):
It all depends on the brand and distributor. They’re all a little bit different. Typically what I see is that they’ll have like a minimum order quantity that they want you to get. Maybe it’s a hundred, maybe it’s 500 or a thousand or other times what they’ll do is they’ll do like free shipping over a thousand dollars or something like that. And then they’ll want you to buy in case pack quantities possibly. So maybe it’s four, 10, 1224 5,000 depending on their case pack. It’s not always the case. Some distributors will let you order whatever, as long as you meet like a hundred dollars or $500 orders or something. It varies all over the place. From distributor, distributor, usually there’s some kind of minimum. Um, but even if there’s a minimum, you can say, you know, this is what I think I can sell, but we want to get our own numbers. Is it okay if I buy just 20 of these upfront and then make bigger orders in the future? Even if you have to charge me a little bit more or charge me for shipping or whatever. Maybe I’ll just break even on the first order, but I can get real world numbers and see what the sales are going to be.

Brian (39:56):
In general, do most suppliers offer shipments to Amazon or do you typically have most of your, I know most is going to various suppliers, supplier, but then use some it in or do most of them send it straight in?

Todd (40:13):
Yeah, it’s like 50, 50. Um, but half of them would probably send them straight in for me, half don’t. And that’s why I got the warehouse that I’m in today because then there’s just more opportunity to bring in products. And just yesterday I received a shipment from one of my distributors and they sent me the incorrect products. Right. Which sucks. But as I dug into a deeper, I didn’t even know they had those products. I looked at them on Amazon, I’m like, Oh, those are actually might sell really good so I might start carrying them. And so that’s one benefit of having the warehouse. Now if I had those go to a prep center, they would have just told me that on every wrong product and I probably would have sent them back and I wouldn’t have been able to inspect quite as much as I did. So sometimes there’s some benefit to having it send it to you. Like now there’s some products that I’m not going to have them direct ship anymore for me if they offer free shipping because if I can get it to my warehouse and have it in my hand, you never know what you might discover along the way. And I’m not paying for that shipping leg anyways so I might as well get it here, make sure everything’s perfect and then I can send it into Amazon myself.

Brian (41:36):
Just a couple more security checks there if it comes to you.

Todd (41:41):
Yup, exactly. You, you, you’re going to be able to pick up on a lot more than just some prep center employee who is just going through the motions, you know, if something’s not right or you know, normally there’s a security tag on this or something to keep it shot and this one’s missing it or it’s broken or something. And you know, the prep center is not necessarily going to care about that.

Brian (42:06):
So when you’re packaging these things, is there anything that you like, again, my experience with Amazon shipping, you know, DVDs, books, stuff that just throwing a box and it doesn’t really matter when you’re packaging these things to keep them from being destroyed. Is there anything that you do, like do you line the box with bubble wrap or you do anything or you just kind of throw it in there and hope for the best?

Todd (42:29):
It depends on the product, you know, uh, if it’s like a glass product or fragile, then I’ll be more cautious with it.

Brian (42:37):
Let’s say there’s like new box. If they did get banged around, they couldn’t, you know, the box got a little bit damaged. They wouldn’t be new anymore. Like what, what kind of, what would you say?

Todd (42:47):
Yeah. Then I would, yeah, just put a little bit more bubble wrap in the box. Maybe put them in a smaller box instead of, you know, Amazon’s limit is 24 inches, 50 pounds, you know, use a little smaller box and not pack other things in there perhaps. Um, that, that kind of stuff really helps to order case packs so that they’re going to come in a box, you know, that they got shipped to the distributor or the brand from the manufacturer and they made that journey just fine. So they’ll probably make the journey to Amazon just buying if you just keep it in that case pack. Um, so if, if it’s something I really worry about, then I’d just make sure I’m ordering that case pack so that it’s just coming in that original box that they ship it from the manufacturer.

Brian (43:38):
So then if, if, uh, if you’re getting my case back, um, they have to break it down.

Todd (43:44):
No. Because if you select the case back option when you’re sending it into Amazon, Amazon won’t break it down smaller than the case, but the case pack is 24 and you say the case back is 24 and Amazon and you’ve got 48 of them, they might send 24 here, 24 there, but they’re not going to split up the 24.

Brian (44:05):
Okay, cool. Are you still doing your membership group program? And I heard something about that in a video a few months ago.

Todd (44:12):
The vendor, what did you say? Vendorship

Brian (44:15):
it was a your mentorship group program

Todd (44:21):
done it yet. So there’s a little bit of a delay because I decided to open this warehouse, so that’s taking all my time right now. Yeah. Um, so I don’t want to do that and not be able to dedicate enough time to it. And you know, last thing I want to do, if people feel like they didn’t get what they paid for, so I still want to do it. I’m hoping to do it here in the next two to three months where we’re basically going to have a group of eight to 10 people and I want to have people kind of like yourself who are familiar with e-commerce a little bit, maybe have sent some stuff in Amazon. Um, cause I don’t, I don’t want it to be like, okay, this is how you print out a label, put it over the Barcade. I want to be like, this is how we’re finding more distributors. This is how I can talk to them on the phone. Let’s jump on some phone calls and basically more like a higher level university class. Right. So, um, it’s going to be kind of like the path to six figures where we’re, we’re all working together to get on the path to six figures in sales on Amazon.

Brian (45:34):
Yeah. That’s really quick and support. It’s almost paramount. Like I’m always so jealous and I’ve seen videos of like, uh, e-commerce couples. I just think, man, I hadn’t had a second person that was just always running with me and agreeing with me and doing stuff with me. Like I’ve been doing twice, two, I’m doing it right now, but it’s also good to have a support group.

Todd (46:00):
Oh yeah. Big time. That’s, I’ve got some that I, you know, different sellers that I meet with. I’m in a mastermind and things like that and it helps a lot. So it’s, it’s can’t be underestimated

Brian (46:15):
most stuff when you’re looking at Prada to cipher, whether you think it is a good one to order, um, what, what is considered a not enough sales? Um, I know that depends on like things

Todd (46:32):
different. Everybody’s different. Uh, if you’re just starting out then you can probably go a lot lower and I still go a lot lower. You know, I usually say out there like 20, 30, 40 sales a month for you. But some of the products that I’m starting to sell, I got a bunch over here that I’m going to be entering in when we’re done with the call here. I don’t know how many they’re going to get. They might only get five or six upfront, but I see an opportunity in either optimizing the listing or maybe running some ads or decreasing the price. And just looking at the history from kipa, like a lot of them, they’ve never been sold left BA before. They’ve only been sold FBM so just by doing, being their first FBA seller, it’s going to boost sales. Um, some of them might work, some of them won’t.

Todd (47:28):
So you kind of got to decide how you want to play. Some people are just looking for ones that are getting them like a hundred or 500 sales a month and they’re going big and they only have a, maybe a few products where I’m going a little bit deeper and wider. I think there’s a little bit less risk there. It’s a more to manage. But if one product doesn’t work out that I’m buying, or if a brand says, no, you can’t sell my products anymore, then that’s okay. But I’ve also heard of people where like one brand is 60% of their sales and that brands like, Oh, we’re not going to sell Amazon sellers anymore. Now you’re just out. Right? So you kind of need to decide how you want to go.

Brian (48:12):
So then just last question before I let you go. And, um, on top of that, just like I’ve known since birth, what is and just me about that actually what got me into this was, um, I’ve been doing a EBITDA, Amazon flips, like marketplace marketplace flips, very profitable, but it’s kind of scary. Um, cause obviously we don’t have the invoice. It’s kind of a gray area sort of thing. And you know, I, I want to have a more stable longterm business. That’s why I’m looking at all and that like that. Um, but uh, yeah, so my question is how to stay visit actually, like can you still is, are there scenarios where you can still get suspended? And I know there are,

Todd (48:57):
yeah. My oldest son is always going to have it. The risks, any eBay is going to have its risks. Anytime you’re playing in someone else’s playground or someone else’s world will hallmark. You don’t control the rules so they can change the rules at any time. And they have, you know, reach out. Arbitrage used to be a lot safer than what it is now and Amazon doesn’t like it. So they’re trying to shut that kind of stuff down. Um, and yeah, you can get suspended. You know, I got suspended for one night because I started selling an energy drink that had a, an ingredient that apparently wasn’t approved by the FDA and what it had been selling on Amazon for like two years, three years, no problem. I decided to create a variation listing and they’re like, Oh, they shut me down and be the parent of that variation is still selling.

Todd (49:48):
So I don’t know what Amazon thinks sometimes, but yeah, it’s always a risk and I’m definitely gonna try to diversify more at some point. But right now, you know, Amazon’s got all the sales I sell, you know, a few thousand on eBay, a few thousand on a WooCommerce store, and I’m looking at getting into Walmart. But Walmart platforms you add, the more complex it gets as well, so you gotta make sure it’s worth your time. So yeah, it’s definitely a line that you walk, but everything’s got risk and there’s not really any way you’re going to eliminate completely.

Brian (50:28):
Yeah. As far as models go, will sales seems like one of the safer ones.

Todd (50:35):
Yeah. As long as you’re doing it legit and you’re not like using ungating services or selling knock-off goods or buying from wholesalers that don’t have a direct relationship with the brands, then you have everything you need to break through any objection that Amazon has. It might take a little while. So you might be shut down for a night or a week or a month, but you should be able to get back and go on as long as you’re running a legit business. Um, a lot of times I think there’s more behind the story to people who get shut down then what they’re saying. I would say almost always lose. Yeah. Say that thing that they did. It might be something like myself, like naive, you know, I didn’t know that that product was in there. I didn’t do it on purpose, but Amazon with was within their rights to shut it down.

Todd (51:34):
Um, same thing for like, uh, uh, by boxer, right? Scott Needham that I had on the show. They’ve gotten shut down before they’ve gotten shut down because brands didn’t like them selling their products even though they were buying from a legit distributor. So it took them maybe a few days or a week to get back going, but they had the paperwork to show that what they were doing was legit. They weren’t selling illegal goods or anything like that. So you just have to have to do everything right. You know, try to stay away from the line as far as possible.

Brian (52:13):
Yeah, definitely. And that’s part of why, you know, it’s good, like talk to people like you have actually already done and stepped on some of those landmines or,

Todd (52:21):
yeah. Yeah. It’s not fun when you’re going through it, that’s for sure. But you definitely learn

Brian (52:28):
well. Um, that’s my life pretty much. But I have the questions and spend about an hour, but, um, the best way to schedule the next hour.

Todd (52:38):
Yeah. So when we’re done here, I will email you the reschedule link or your second hour that you purchased and whenever you’re ready. If it’s in a week, a month, three months, whatever, just schedule on that link and we’ll be like in do the next one.

Brian (52:56):
It sounds good. I really appreciate the time.

Todd (52:59):
Yeah, for sure. I mean, it sounds like you have all the knowledge that you need to do it, especially doing eBay and stuff like that, so you just got to, are you selling anything currently? Yeah. I probably shouldn’t say that at the beginning, but

Brian (53:12):
yeah, I mean, yeah. I mean some of the stuff has been shut down, but yeah, no sales are kicking butt right now. Good,

Todd (53:18):
good on eBay or Amazon? Everything good? Good. Yeah. Yeah. Just keep moving forward. I you’ll, you’ll do just fine. You seem to know what you’re talking, so I like to pretend like I do. Me too. We’re all, we’re all pretending, right? There’s the ex. An expert is just someone who’s a little bit for had the new, I’m pretty shaman and I will get Brian. Good talking to you. Talk to you later.

Announcer (53:52):
This has been another episode of the entrepreneur adventure podcast. Thanks for listening, fellow entrepreneur and always remember success is yours. If you take it.

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