Over half of the emails we get in Indosight are about finding suppliers from Indonesia, For various reasons it is often difficult for foreign companies to get in touch with the Indonesian suppliers. In this blog post we will describe some of the common obstacles foreign companies face and how to overcome them.
Contact information in the supplier’s website is not valid
Majority of Indonesian companies are still at a very infant stage when it comes to internet. Even if they have a website, it’s rarely updated. And if it’s a smaller company, it’s common that after a while their phone numbers and emails have changed.
Our recommendation: still use the contact information on the website but pay attention to when was the website created. If it was before 2010, most probably the information provided on the website is not correct. Unfortunately there is not a good solution here, but trying to find company’s contacts from multiple channels can be helpful.
I don’t get replies to my emails
Many Indonesian businesses don’t answer to emails from senders who they don’t know. Indonesians are usually skeptical about email communication and email only works after you have established a previous relationship.
Our recommendation: sending emails to companies that don’t know you is pretty much a waste of time. Always aim for phone and face to face communication first.
I call to reception but they don’t forward my call
Receptionists can be a nightmare when starting communication with a new supplier. They are often afraid to connect you with their manager if they have even a slight doubt that perhaps their boss would not like to receive your call. Because of that you will often hear claims like “Mr. Xyz is on line right now and cannot answer”.
Our recommendation: Before calling to a company’s general number, try to get to know the name of the person you actually want to talk with. And then confidently ask to be connected to him. You can even say that he is expecting your call. And for the future, try to get this person’s personal number or extension to avoid the receptionist. Or even better – a Blackberry pin.
Can I trust the companies listed in Alibaba?
When it comes to Indonesian companies in Alibaba, then it can be a good starting point to find the suppliers. However keep in mind that many Indonesian companies in Alibaba are not listing correct information, especially when you see products listed with very low price or by traders.
Our recommendation: when using Alibaba, aim for the suppliers who give full contact information and then call them directly. At least half of the companies probably won’t anymore exist but by calling you will know exactly which ones are still in the business.
I cannot find suppliers from Google search
Even if Indonesian supplier has a website then it’s not very likely that this company is good at search engine optimization.
Our recommendation: be ready to go to page 3,4…10,11 when searching for suppliers in Google. You can expect better results when you search for the term in Indonesian language, use Google Translate for that. Always prefer the supplier’s website over various business directories created in Indonesia.