Recently on the Plastics Injection Molding LinkedIn group, someone wrote inquiring after a good mold manufacturer in or near Ohio to serve a Tier One molder. Since we’ve been down this road before, you can guess what happened. Yes, a number of sales reps from Chinese mold shops began writing to promote their shops as the ideal moldmaker for the job.
That led to quite a bit of conversation about knowing where Ohio is on the map, and what about “in or near to Ohio” didn’t these reps understand. And yes, I understand the frustration. When you say “in or near to Ohio” you hardly expect someone from Shanghai to write with a sales pitch. I commented that I didn’t understand why a Chinese shop would respond to a company looking for moldmakers in Ohio. As things wore on some of the conversation got a bit "testy."
This went on for more than a couple of weeks, and it was getting frustrating to the sales reps, too. Finally, this morning, one girl wrote saying that she was just doing her job and that if she didn’t contact those companies actively looking for a moldmaker, she would be fired. And yes, that included contacting companies that were only looking for moldmakers located in the U.S.
I wrote a response that I hope moldmakers in this country will take to heart.
What I said was that if U.S. mold manufacturers would market their companies, expertise, and capabilities as much as the Chinese mold manufacturers, OEMs and Tier One suppliers wouldn’t have to get in on a LinkedIn group to try and find a good moldmaker. And in Ohio yet! How many really good mold shops are there in Ohio? There must be 100 in Dayton alone!
I noted that in all my years of doing marketing and PR work, and putting myself out there as someone who can help molders and moldmakers—small companies can’t afford a big-name PR firm or a full-time, in-house person—I can count on one hand the number of shops that call and enlist my services in any given year.
That means that U.S. mold companies generally don’t do a good job of promoting themselves and their capabilities, or of educating OEMs in the value of doing business with a U.S. mold manufacturer in their own back yard. So these companies get on LinkedIn to find a good moldmaker, which attracts the attention of every shop in China.
There are a few exceptions, of course. Many of the large mold manufacturers know how to market and promote themselves, understanding that while they might not be able to quantify business gained from that ad placed in a magazine or from having a booth at a trade show, there are benefits that might be realized in the future.
The key is that you just keep trying. You get your name out there. You attend trade shows, you put out press releases and you do what’s needed to keep your company’s name in the forefront of your customers’ and potential customers’ minds. You contact people over and over – and yes, you even contact people with who you might not have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever getting work from. But you never know. So you keep trying. Just like the Chinese sales reps, you watch for people looking for a good mold shop and you contact them no matter how slim the chances that you’ll even get an RFQ.
You gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince, right?