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How To Make A Transaction an Unforgettable Event


Asian Seafood Review - 30th January 1999

by Chris Erik

How to make a transaction an unforgettable event A guideline for processors/exporters to take the importers by surprise

Business transactions have been taking place ever since mankind existed. However, nobody talks about them as long as everything goes smoothly. We all take this for granted and don't even appreciate it any more. So why not do something unusual? Ensure that your business partner overseas seeks continuous communication with you, even after the arrival of the cargo! I'm not talking about criminal or dangerous ideas, such as pieces of lead or nails being inserted into prawns. Nor am I suggesting that hooks be left in octopuses, or wrong sizes and specifications being shipped out. No, I'm just trying to give you some ideas that will serve the purpose: to baffle your client.

Every importer requires the master cartons to bear an inscription, and putting a label often does this. If you stick it with a special type of glue, the labels will stay on during the loading of the cargo into the container. SGS or Lloyds will be happy to certify that this is in accordance with importers' instructions. After a couple of weeks in the reefer containers, miraculously, those labels fall off. Upon opening the container the surprise is guaranteed! Hundreds of labels floating freely around! Not even the vet authorities can now complain or reject the cargo, as obviously the cargo was labeled as required.

With this trick you even fight the unemployment rate, as now the importer will have to get new labels printed, pay people to stick those labels, and even to open each MC to verify the contents. You ensure a dramatic effect if you do everything right except the fact that outside labels bear another validity date than the inside packs. The client will find this quite amusing. When a customer asks precisely to print the necessary "Product of XX" in smallest possible letters, you can opt to ignore this instruction, or on the contrary, make the imprint as big as possible. You can even add another MC (to make it bigger!). The buyer will just love it.

Another good surprise is to ship out an empty container. (Please only do this when payment after receipt has been agreed upon!) Make sure this container is correctly closed, all seals are put, cooling device is set to minus 18C and then get it shipped. Nobody can detect that the container is empty - not while lifting the container on board the vessel, nor when putting it down onto the container carrier. Only upon opening the container at the cold storage is the surprise revealed.

If you have two orders at the same time from importers roughly in the same area, just swap the cargo. Each will wonder what kind of cargo has arrived (in the correctly numbered containers). Only after making a number of calls, do the importers get what they originally wanted. Communication between the two importers is guaranteed, a good way to get to know people.

Ever thought of overdoing something? In case you have to deliver octopus, it is usually understood that all the 8 tentacles are intact. If this is not so and one or two tentacles are cut or torn off, you can stitch them back. It might be a bit problematic, though, with the product liability nowadays. You can also overdo the packing, a red snapper fillet portion that should be only wrapped is kind of waiting for a nice little rubber band to secure the wrapping! But don't forget to find a matching colour. As mentioned earlier, think of the people seeking jobs overseas! There are quite a lot of ways to break the boring everyday routine (all mentioned cases are true and witnessed). Maybe you can come up with a whole new set of surprises for your steady clients, which will surely brighten up the days of everyone involved.

Highlights

Ensure that your business partner overseas seeks continuous communication with you, even after the arrival of the cargo!

There are a lot of ways of breaking the boring routine. Maybe you can come up with a whole set of surprises for your steady clients, which will brighten up the days of everyone involved.

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