What Kind of Buyer Are You? The Surgical Buyer or The Gambler


When first looking towards China to handle your manufacturing, most buyers are attracted to one thing and one thing only, cost saving potential. This hope of saving a serious amount of money can often engulf the more important aspects of choosing the most qualified supplier and buying based on the proper quality to price ratio.


Below I have laid out two buyer profiles. Both of these profiles are derived from countless conversations I’ve had with importers of varying scales.


After reading through both types, try to ask yourself, which kind of buyer are you?

The Surgical Buyer Profile

  • Organized, knows exactly what they are looking to purchase
  • Does their own due diligence on three fronts: sourcing, production, logistics
  • Has at least one quality gate in place to protect themselves from loss
  • Takes their time, and works with certainty
  • Ensures the blind is not leading the blind

The Gabler Buyer Profile

  • Only focused on price – sources with price in mind and tries to qualify suppliers who meet their price point (instead of vice versa)
  • Takes any advice they get and does not qualify the source – an online group of amature suppliers giving out advice based on thought and not experience
  • Rushes everything without understanding the implications
  • Blames the supplier, even though their specifications were unclear
  • Uses bar napkin designs to lead the production  

While everyone should strive to be a more Surgical Buyer, it does take time to not only educate yourself on understanding proper sourcing techniques, but to test and implement them as well.

Importing from China takes time and experience to navigate safely. Heck, I’m responsible for managing the importing of hundreds of millions of dollars in client revenue, and I still can’t justify calling myself an expert. I can however, classify myself and my team at Guided Imports as Surgical Buyers.

One of the earliest techniques I put in place when I started our sourcing company was to promise myself never to make the same mistake twice. Any mistake must act as a learning experience. And every learning experience needs to carry a newly formed rule that will be implemented in every future sourcing project.

Manufacturing and importing from China is a lot of work. And, while we offer an awesome service to take over all aspects of that work on behalf of our clients, every importer should remember that Surgical Buyers operate with precision and diligence on every single order. The second focus is taken off the order, the second your investment turns into a huge risk.

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