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…to them and I do my best to answer them. You guys know that are long time listeners this is my favorite part of the week because I get to connect with you. I get to listen to you guys ask questions. You guys probably heard me also talk about recently, I was in Denver and we had a great time. I was able to meet a lot of the TASers there, the community and also have one of our own live events which I was able to meet 30 people that are doing this business and also listeners and just really an awesome time. So I love doing this stuff.
You guys know I get all excited about this and a little giddy. Right. I wanted to just say thank you so much for submitting the questions. If you have a question you want me to air on the show, go over to theamazingseller.com/ask. Once again, that’s theamazingseller.com/ask. You can do that. You can leave a short voicemail. Leave your first name I’ll give you a quick shout out and we’ll go ahead and listen to your question like we’re going to do today. I also want to give a little shout out to our Facebook community. Our TAS Facebook community that is amazing, it’s growing. A lot of great people in there. If you’re not connected there, please do so there’s a ton of knowledge there.
You can go up in the little search bar if you have a question, you can to go up to the little search bar inside of Facebook there inside the group and you can search for whatever you’re looking for and you’ll get a ton of answers, it’s what I’m trying to say back at you and from there you can go ahead and see through the ones that pertain to your question or your issue or problem. Then now from there you can engage with those people that were already talking about that topic. Alright so that’s theamazingseller.com/fb. You guys have heard me say that time and time again. So again that’s theamazingseller.com/fb. Alright. One last thing, I just want to remind you that all of the transcripts for this episode and most of the past episodes now have transcripts. If you wanted to download them, you can head over to this episode or any of the other episodes. This one here is theamazingseller.com/208 and you’ll see the show notes there. There’s any links that we’ve talked about, any resources that we’ve talked about will be there. Then now there’s transcripts that you can either read on that page or you can download them. A lot of people wanted them, we listened, now you got them.
Alright. Hopefully you’re using them and if you are, let me know. Let me know that you’re enjoying the transcripts. We know that all that hard work that’s going into those is paying off by you being happy because of course that’s why we’re doing them. Let’s go ahead and get into this. What do you say? Let’s listen to the first question of the day and I’ll go ahead and I’ll give you my first answer of the day. What do you say, let’s do that.
[00:03:02] James: Hey Scott. My name is James. I just wanted to ask you a question when it comes to picking a supplier. I have one I’m looking to pull the trigger on. They only seem to do wire transfers or PayPal. Just trying to see some ways to combat this. I know with Escrow you can offer to split the fees with them. I know sometimes that works. I was just seeing if there was any way for me to cover my butt in PayPal, excuse my language. Any feedback would certainly be appreciated. Look forward to hearing from you and thanks again for everything you do. Talk to you soon Scott.
[00:03:36] SV: Hey James, thanks so much for the question. I’ve talked about this quite a bit in the past. Anyone that’s on the blog at any time you can always go there and just search in the field that says ‘search the site’. You’ll probably find an answer. But I have recently, I had a guest on that we talked about how to protect your money when ordering products from China. He gave some real examples from things that he’s encountered and things that he does now differently. Just to let you know that the best way to really protect yourself is to run it through Alibaba or Aliexpress. Use their Escrow function. That is the best way. But you would hear in this interview or you will hear if you listen to it, episode 180 where I interviewed a gentleman that used Alibaba and he also used the Trade Assurance and he still had some issues. He was able to get his money back but there was some hoops he had to jump through.
I would advise listening to episode 180. Again that’s theamazingseller.com/180 or you can go to the show notes to this episode. You’ll find that there and anything else we discussed will be on the show notes page. Episode 180 is definitely to me a must listen. It’s some real examples that he encountered, things that he’ll do a little bit differently. One of the big things is starting small. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that but rather than going all in, you really need to start slow in a sense that, maybe instead of doing 1000 units, you start with 300 units or 500 units.
Cut the risk in half and in this way here you can learn how well that company does from, you know, wiring the money or whether you’re using the Escrow or the communications or any of that stuff. You can learn a lot by building that trust and doing it but just on a smaller scale. That was one thing that he had said but definitely listen to that episode. I would just say like right here if we’re talking about wire transfers or Escrow or PayPal, PayPal just made a change I believe to their terms of service that they are not really going to be protecting us from money that’s being sent internationally or at least to China. Again, don’t quote me on that but I thought I just read something on there that they are not being liable for that.
There’s not going to be a lot of protection there for you using PayPal as much as it used to be. Now with credit card, that’s probably a little bit different but I think that every credit card will be a little different as well. But I do think that it would be, at least it would be an easier way to fight it than to have your money wired into their bank account and then you have nothing to really show for it. You have no trail other than the wire transfer and then those people can just run. At our live event, we had a gentleman that shared a story about how he wired gosh I think it was like 20k, it was like 20 grand and they just kept prolonging the order and prolonging the order. Long story short, it was a nightmare.
[00:06:46] SV: That company, the guy that was handling the money ran off with the money and like two other people. He was out there with like 80 grand and he was gone. So those stories are real. His thing was, I probably should have started small rather than just jumping in and sending a $20,000 wire transfer for a deposit. That would be my advice, my recommendation to anyone that’s just starting is, number one, try to start smaller as far as don’t go and send over $10,000 on your first run. Do something small. Try to use Escrow because the Escrow to me is really, really one of the best ways because they’re holding the money in a separate account and it’s not released until you say that you’ve received the goods or until you’re happy. You’re right. Some companies don’t want to offer that service and to me that could be a sign that you might not want to deal with that company.
I would at least try to explore other companies that would accept the Escrow and then from there go to them. There’s tons and tons of other companies out there that will do the Escrow. They’re not just as many as people that t won’t. We might have to look a little deeper. Now I also know that Alibaba just not too long ago, they added a credit card feature that you can pay with credit card and that’s why I think that you should do all of your ordering through Alibaba at this point in time.
I would not try to go outside of Alibaba because then what’s going to happen is that you’re kind of off on your own. Alibaba will try to help you if you’ve been scammed because they don’t want that going on them. The minute you go off of Alibaba or Ali Express you are kind of on your own. It’s like you don’t have any insurance policy at all. Not that it’s an insurance policy to be on Alibaba but you are going through their channels, they’ll have a record of all of your interactions. They’ll have a record of your invoices because all those invoices are sent through them. I would recommend in the beginning especially keeping things all under Alibaba, Ali Express or whatever other company that you’re using to manage the interaction back and forth and the money transfer back and forth.
Western Union I would not even touch, if you ever see anyone saying that they want to take Western Union I would not do it. Again I just recently did some wire transfers and I’ve had good luck with that but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t nervous and that doesn’t mean I didn’t start small. We did smaller orders and now we’re starting to build that trust but in the very beginning and still with a few of the companies that I deal with, we do all Escrow. Even though it costs me a little bit more, that’s an insurance policy for me. Also it keeps them wanting to keep being on the up and up because they know that if they don’t deliver the product I can just hold the money or tell them to hold the money and just say I never received my product or the product that I got was damaged. I’ve got something to hold over their head versus going out there and just saying, “I’m going to give it to you all and I’m not going to Alibaba and hopefully I’m going to be happy”.
You might even put a little stipulation there that says, “The money’s going to be released after my third party inspection company comes in and approves it. That’s when the money is going to be fully released as far as even the down payment goes.” You need to work with your supplier, you need to work with your manufacturer, your agent whoever you’re dealing with to really protect yourself. This may slow down that process just a little bit but it’s worth it. Remember you’re dealing with people you have no idea who they are and you want to screen them in any way that you can. And it all starts with communications and then also from there also how willing they are to work with you. A lot of them are starting to use the Alibaba credit card system. Maybe you’re going to take them up on that instead of the Escrow. It’s better than doing nothing. That’s what I would say. So good luck to you. Keep me posted on that. Again, I’d go listen to episode 180. That one there will help because we talk all about protecting your money when ordering products from China and there’s real examples there for you as well. So let’s go ahead and listen to another question and I’ll give you my answer.
[00:10:59] SV: Hey Scott, my name is Jason. I’m a long time listener, first time caller. I’m working on setting up my first product and I’m looking on the keywords page. You’ve got your search terms which as I understand are important keywords that I [inaudible] The subject matter of the actual use and intended use and target audience, I don’t know if you’ve ever covered these? Are they important? Do I need them? And what is it that I’m supposed to do with them? Can you help me out? Thanks I appreciate it.
[00:11:31] SV: Hey Jason thanks so much for the question. Your audio was a little weird. It was breaking up a little bit but I pretty much made out your question so let me go ahead and try to tackle this. This is what I think that you were asking is in the back end of our listing we have options to add certain things to certain fields. There’s platinum key words, there’s search terms. There’s what kind of people are looking for this or who would it pertain to. It could be a girl or a boy. Could be a man, woman, could be family. All of these different things. My first suggestion is this, fill everything out that pertains to your product. If your product could pertain to a boy put it in there or a man or a family, or whatever if it makes sense, put it in there. The more information we can fill at the back end, the better we are. We don’t know what that’s going to do necessarily.
But we do now that at least it’s there and if it has any any reaction or any benefit for having it there to the Amazon algorithm we want it there. I’m not saying go in out there and fill in stuff that doesn’t make sense. That’s not going to help you. We don’t want to get someone to our listing and then have them be there like, “Oh this has nothing to do with anything.” I don’t think that would necessarily happen but you wouldn’t want that anyway. You only want to pertain your product to pertain and be seen by people that it could benefit or that they would be looking for. So that’s the first thing. Anything in the back end that we could fill that pertains to our product fill it out. Now second part of that is the search term fields. Those are to me the most important in the back end. Because those are telling Amazon exactly who this is for and what search terms you feel that your customer would be searching for. Alright.
Now they’ve just recently updated this where you can now add 1000 characters per line and you get five lines in the back end. Use all of them. You don’t want to repeat your words. You don’t have to repeat garlic press ten times. Stainless steel garlic press, brown handle garlic press. You don’t need to do that. What you want to do is put your most important keywords in the front end. What I mean by that is the front of the start of your search terms. That’s what I do. And mainly the first one because after the first one with 1000 characters, you’re going to start seeing it’s going to be hard to come up with random words that could pertain to your product.
[00:14:05] SV: What I’ve done and I still do is I’ll take all of the key words whether it’s a Google planner search, whether it’s using keyword inspector, if it’s using just the front end stuff that my competitors have. I’m just grouping all of this stuff into this giant bucket of key words. What I’ll do then is that I’ll de-dupe them. So any words that are repeated it’ll strip them out and it’ll only give me the single keywords that have not been said again and again and again. Now what we can do is we can take those and then we can sought them if we want to and say okay let’s take the first line, the first search term field and let’s make that one as laser focused as possible so it makes the most sense. After that you can randomly put in the left over ones in the second, third, fourth and fifth one. They’re still going to want to make sense. They’re not going to want to be just a character. They are going to want to be something that could fit with one of the other keywords whether it’s in the front or back of that line.
I know your question was how much attention should we pay to some of these different fields. The truth is wherever you can put data that could tell Amazon what your product is and who it’s for, put it in there. The main ones you want to focus on are those five fields for your search terms. Those are the main ones. The other thing that you can do to run a test in a sense is when you run Amazon pay-per-click, whether you’re going to run it for short term or long term, it doesn’t matter. If you go in and create an ad for that product or those variations whatever it is and you want to go and see how well your Amazon listing is being identified by Amazon for these keywords, just run it as a suggested keyword campaign. Then what it’s going to do is Amazon is going to go and it’ll look at your listing and it’s going to tell you what keywords you could be and should be being seen for.
Then that’s going to tell you, okay I’m being seen for ten keywords. That’s not really that good. Because you shouldn’t be showing Amazon that you have a lot of keywords that you could be pertaining to in certain words. So you want to be able to have at least 50 but I’ve had as many as 500. It really just depends on how many keywords it picks up and that can change over time too. But when you do this and then you’re able to run that little test there. It’s going to help you know if you’re relevant or not. It’s also going to tell you if you have room to improve. So that’s just one little trick for you. To go back to your main question, fill out as much information there that pertains to your product and your listing. The main one that you want to focus on the back end is your search terms. Of course there’s other aspects of the back end but we’re talking about keywords right now so that’s what I would focus on there. Hopefully that’s been helpful. I know I had a mouthful there, but again this is a pretty important topic because if you can’t be found then you’re not going to be seen and if you’re not be seen then you’re not going to have people be able to buy your products.
This is pretty big and this also helps us rank, it also helps us be relevant for pay per click and all of that good stuff too. Anyway that’s it. That’s going to wrap up that question. Hopefully it’s been helpful. Keep me posted on how that works for you. Alright. Let’s go ahead and listen to another question and I’ll give you my answer.
[00:17:30] Amelia: Hey hey what’s up Scott. This is Amelia. I am from Argentina but I am living in London. I love your podcast I think it’s great. I’ve been learning a lot and taking action as well. I am in the process of placing an order and my question is when you ask for a supplier different questions and then they want to reply to you on your email. Obviously the communication gets better when I do it on my email but then I would like to place the order through Alibaba to have the same assurance that Alibaba will give you. Basically my question is do you always or have you always placed your orders through Alibaba or at least the first one then the rest you did that with the suppliers through your email. I don’t know I find it a little bit scary because this is my first one. But I think it helps the communication to go through my email. Basically that’s it for now. I love your podcast. Thank you for all the amazing work you’re doing and keep up the good work. Thank you.
[00:19:09] SV: Hey Amelia thank you so much for the question. This goes back to the first question that I answered. It’s similar, it’s not exact but it’s similar. Again, whenever you think about going off of Alibaba, you run the risk of getting scammed. Especially especially, and I need to highlight this, I need to really let you guys really know that you are running a risk by going off of Alibaba or one of these platforms when you decide to go and start communicating off of those platforms. I’m not saying that you can’t communicate with your agent or your supplier through Skype or through email. That’s fine. The main thing that I’m really saying here is when you start to transfer money or talk money or any of that stuff, you really want that stuff inside of that platform so you have a running record of it. I know you have emails and you can go back with the emails but Alibaba is going to want that stuff. So this way here it’s a case that they have against their supplier, you know the people that are using their site. They don’t want you to have any risk.
They’re doing everything they can to make it a safer environment. Once we jump out of that environment we are at risk. So my advice to you especially anyone that’s brand new, stay inside the platform. Do your communications inside the platform and any money that you want to send, try to send it through that platform as well. And like I said, whether it’s Escrow or whether it’s using their Ali Pay Now you want to make sure that you keep things inside of there to protect you at least the best way possible right now. That’s what I would recommend to you. Again anyone that is brand new also I’ll go back to saying start small as far as maybe do a few test orders. Make sure that you see that they are going to uphold their end of the bargain. And also you want to do a little back search. Maybe do a little bit of research on that company that you’re dealing with. Maybe you look at again hopefully that you’re doing what I’ve said in the past, look at only gold suppliers, maybe gold suppliers that are at least two years old on Alibaba and they haven’t had any complaints against them.
Those are different things that I would want to make sure especially, especially when you’re brand new. Hopefully that’s helped you. Again, take it slow at that point and really the last thing I should say here too again is if your supplier that you’re dealing with doesn’t offer escrow or doesn’t offer credit card payments or anything like that, you may need to start looking outside of that one and then finding another one. I know a lot of us are looking inside of Alibaba and that’s good but you may need to look elsewhere and then hopefully they are on Alibaba because what you can do here and this is something that was discussed at our live event is going out and finding an agent on your own by going to like Upwork or any other VA hiring service like a virtual assistant.
Upwork is probably one of the easiest right now. A few of the people that attended are doing this. What they do is they hire an agent that goes out and finds either other agents or other suppliers and that’s all they do. They are also going to be able to align you with reputable businesses that do accept these different payments. Now, what they are going to do is they are going to do all the legwork for you. Again if you want to dabble in this you can go over to Upwork and hire someone, put in a request. Upwork will allow you to put out like a job request out there and then people will bid on the job. You can pay them ten bucks an hour or whatever and then from there they’ll do the work for you to find the better suppliers.
Some of these are on Alibaba, some of them aren’t but they also find the ones that will accept these different payment options for you. Just another option I want to throw out there that I talked about at the live event. All right. Let me do something a little different here. That’s going to be for the voicemail. I’ve got a ton more to get to by the way and we are going to be doing this again every Friday if you guys have a question you want answered head over to theamazingseller.com/ask. What I’m going to do is I’m going to answer a question that was submitted by email. They tried to leave a voicemail but couldn’t so I wanted to just pull this up and I wanted to through it real quickly and give the answer. I think it’s beneficial to everyone that is listening.
This was the question. I’ll actually read the whole thing.
[00:23:46] SV: Hi TAS team. I’ve been listening to the podcast for a while now and I really want to take action but I have just a few questions before I jump on board. My wife and I have been looking at various products from Alibaba, Aliexpress and need a little help. Here are our questions. Is there a way to calculate the general expenses before actually starting? Like how much is FBA going to cost, how much are Amazon fees? I realized all these fees probably differ with how much you sell and purchase in general. Is there a charge per unit sold? How much should we charge for our products on Amazon? Say we purchased 300 units for 2500 bucks including shipping and fees so approximately $8.34 per unit. Should we be doubling or tripling the price on Amazon? Should we sell below what most people are selling? With FBA if we’re ordering from Alibaba or Ali Express will they, Alibaba or Ali Express that is ship the product directly to the customer or is it possible to set up, “us”, so they send the product directly to one of Amazon’s warehouses to do FBA.
[00:24:49] SV: A lot of questions there. Right. I’m going to try to summarize a lot of that. Okay. First off, to find the general expenses, it’s pretty much exactly what you said. Okay. There’s some FBA calculators out there and I’ll link one up in the show notes. It’s one that Amazon has. It also will help you identify what the advertising price is for that unit. Kind of like what the listing fee will be and all that stuff because each category is a little bit different. Some are higher, some are lower. If you punch in exactly what you’re going to be selling maybe one of your competitors it will tell you in that category what the fees will be. That’s Amazon, their little FBA calculator tool. I’ll link that up too for you.
That’s one way to figure those expenses because at first you’re not going to know any less unless you’re already currently selling. To go back to the product you’re going to need to figure out exactly how much it’s going to cost for the product to be made at a certain quantity. If you’re getting a hundred made, it’s going to cost more that if you have a thousand made. You need to know those break points. You need to know them ahead of time because you know now that if you’re buying a product right now and it’s costing you more you know as you scale and you grow that those break points are going to also allow you to make more profits. Right now if you’re only making $8 profit you know once you’re able to buy more with more buying power you’re able to make more profit then it makes sense to go in right now and make less money but know that in the future you’re going to make more money. If that makes. Hopefully that makes sense. All right.
Again. We want to figure out how much the products going to cost per unit, we want to include all shipping, all customs at all possible and again if you’re dealing with DHL you can contact their customs department and they can give you a good idea of what customs are going to cost percentage wise. They can give you an idea. You’ll need the code that your supplier will be submitting it, their custom code, they have a custom code per that type of product. From there they will go ahead and be able to tell you roughly what their percentage is for customs when it crosses over into the States.
Now, are you able to directly ship that product from the manufacturer over there and the answer is yes. That will eliminate some cost. Before you do that there’s two different things you can do. One you can have it inspected on China side. Have a good inspection company. There’s one that’s been being talked about a lot and some of our students have been using it. It’s called TopWininspection.com, TopWininspection.com. I’ll leave the link in the show notes to this episode but they’re doing it, they’re doing a really good job and then from there then you can ship it so you’ll save the cost being shipped to you and then being shipped into Amazon. Again, you might want start where you have the item shipped to you. You inspect it and then from there you ship it. You’re going to take a little bit of a hit on that extra fee but again if we know that we can eliminate that fee we’re okay with it.
To go back to answer your question like if you know that it’s going to cost you $8.34 per unit, how much should you want to sell that for? I would say you want to triple that. You want to be able to sell that for, let’s just make it easy, let’s just say 24 or 25 bucks. Right. That to me would be what I would want to start with. Now, you want to also think to yourself, does this have room to go up. If it can go up as far as how much I can charge and that gives you more wiggle room. Now, the other thing that you can say is well let’s say I can charge 25 bucks now but I know that $8.35 I’m going to be able to reduce that to $5 when I start buying more. When I start getting new systems in place.
Now that $24 or even $23.95 might make sense. All right. Again, you have to think about all of your expenses. I like to think about how can I come out with $10 profit at the end of the day. In this case if we’re paying $8 for that and we’re going to charge $25 I can almost say that my FBA fees at a $25 dollar point are probably going to be about 6 to 7 bucks. Now I’m at $15. You see if I add ten dollars to that, that’s where I’m going to be able to come up with $25 or 26 bucks. That’s kind of why I say if you triple it you’ll probably be okay. If you can add a little bit to that, a little bit of cushion you’re probably better off as well. Again, let’s say I got that at $25 and I can sell it. Those numbers work even if I buy for $8.34 a unit.
[00:29:07] SV: If I can reduce my cost to $5 per unit, look at that. I’ve just added more to my profit without doing anything other than scaling on the back end of things. Then the other question here was, let’s see here. Will FBA, if we’re ordering from Alibaba, if you ship it directly… I already talked about that. I think I covered everything. I think I covered everything in that question. The question came from Danielle. Danielle thanks for the question. Hopefully this gives you guys a good sense of what you need to think about when you’re looking at the numbers because it all comes down to the profit. Right. It comes down to the profit.
Now, we didn’t figure in any pay-per-click and really in the beginning I don’t figure out a lot of pay per click because that’s my promotion phase. Once I get that dialed in, then from there we’re only going to be buying traffic that’s going to be converting to sales. Again a lot of times beginning is a way for us to start ranking. In the beginning I don’t really figure that out to the equation. Although you do want to figure in a little bit as an ongoing expense. If you get your margins to where they’re $10 per unit, then you’ve got some room there to use for the pay-per-click marketing. This is just a general idea of how I do it and how others are doing it. Hopefully this has been helpful. I know it was a little bit of a long winded answer but there was a lot of different things there, right?
Danielle, thank you so much for the question and again anyone else that they have a question they want submit through the podcast to have me answer it on a live podcast like this or recorded podcast, this is live right now that I’m recording it but it’s not live that when you’re listening to it. It’s long slide that day. You guys get what I’m saying. If you guys want to submit a question you can head over to theamazingseller.com/ask and you can do that. I want to also again remind you guys. If you’re brand new. This is your first time to the show I want to welcome you. I love hanging out with you guys.
This is just awesome to be able to virtually connect like this and that is why I love the Ask Scott sessions. If you are brand new and you’re just getting your feet wet. You don’t understand the entire process, the entire business model I would recommend attending one of my live free workshops. This is where I break it down for you in five phases. How to pick a market and a product, how to source it, how to do a prelaunch, how to do a launch. How to promote the product and everything in between. We go over that on a workshop and we go through every single thing. We also do live Q&A. If you want to attend one of them I would love to invite you to the next one. You can register for the next one by heading over to theamazingseller.com/workshop and you can register there for an upcoming workshop.
All right. Guys. That is going to wrap it up. This has been amazing. I love doing these and to everyone I met in Denver, once again you guys were awesome. And everyone that is listening, you guys are awesome as well. Thank you so much and just do me a favor, share this with people that you think will get value from this podcast. That’s all I ask and that would be amazing.
Guys, that’s it, that’s going to wrap it up. Remember as always, I’m here for you, I believe in you and I’m rooting for you but you have to, you have to… Come on. Say it with, say it loud, say it product, “Take action.” Have an awesome amazing day and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.
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