How to Submit a More Perfect Order

Stephanie Bishop, Contributor

These days everyone is busy, over-taxed, multi-tasking and sometimes stretched to personal capacity. There are always hundreds of details to tend to in our personal and business lives. Placing an order, whether for promotional products, or goods or services in any sector is one of those details.

With our hectic lives and responsibilities, the chance we may overlook, forget or make an error is an everyday possibility. This may cause stress, complications and frustration. In addition, it may cost budget dollars, cause a decreased bottom line, and lead to less-than-happy suppliers and recipients.

A few simple notes, checklists and attention to planning may help circumvent a major faux pas when placing your next important order.

Plan Ahead

You’ve been assigned the project of sending holiday gifts to 500 of your best clients. Your deadline is December 13. It’s June. You have plenty of time.

Don’t put that project on the back burner! Use the slower summertime to knock out all the details and fine print in advance, so when the holidays roll around, you won’t be stressing about getting an order placed, going through a list of 500 addresses to confirm they’re correct, your budget, your message and expectations. Think about what you want before you make a call-know your parameters. Gather as much information for the project as you can, well in advance of it being due.

Create a folder with all your details. Who are you sending to? Make a list, check it twice.

What are you sending? Confirm with your company the budget, details and expectations. Get it in writing.

What do you want to say? Compose your message(s). Make a note for yourself. When placing an order, be very exact about punctuation, spelling and grammar. Define any acronyms, abbreviations and styles for your supplier before calling.

In your mind, you know what you mean. Don’t assume the person you are speaking to does.

Don’t trust spelling and grammar apps; they’re only as good as their user. Verify what you want to say is accurate and grammatically correct. Articulate very specifically when actually ordering.

Do you want to…

Cross your eyes and dot your T’s?

Cross your ayes and dot your tees?

Cross your I’s and dot your teas?

Or cross your ei’s and dot your tease?

Confirm Your Information

Go through your recipient list with a fine-tooth comb. Come December you will be grateful you did. You can always submit last minute changes and additions, but the devil is in the details. Get it done as soon as possible.

Verify with your company billing and PO information. Complete it as soon as possible. Again, get written copies of procedures and parameters. Include this in your folder. You will thank yourself in December. Verify phone numbers, email addresses, fax numbers, contact information and each stakeholder’s expectations. If specific people on your staff require notification or confirmation, verify their information is accurate and up to date. Email and copy in these individuals on a regular basis with the status of your project. Convey these requests when you actually place an order.

Ask and You Shall Receive

When placing an actual order, inquire as to promotions or discounts currently available or upcoming. You may receive a discount by ordering early or for quantity! You could potentially save your company a significant amount of money!

Note Changes

Has your billing address, fax, or physical location changed? Do you have a new website, phone number, expanded product line or management? Share this with whomever you are placing an order with. Have the updated information for them before they ask.

Carefully Review Samples, Artwork and Virtual Samples

When submitting artwork, text or other content, verify with all involved in the project it is correct and accurate. If one person approves a proof and 2 others do not and there is a spelling, punctuation or grammatical error, it may be too late. Pieces may have already been produced, shipped and received before the discovery. Share your proofs and have several people review them before approving.

Check the Calendar

Verify your calendar as to staffing, vacations, leaves of absence, holidays, special projects and events in relation to your order. If specific individuals are required to approve or facilitate your project and may be absent, get their approval in advance.

Share the Love/Patience

Love what you do, do what you love. Understand the person you’re speaking with or emailing may be having a difficult day. You may be having a difficult day. The business world is full of taxing demands. We all make mistakes. If the unfortunate occurrence of one is made, deal with it with grace, patience and forgiveness. The person you are dealing with most likely is trying very hard to get it right, and do the best possible job, and feels awful and embarrassed. Move forward without aggression. Think how you would like to be dealt with. Make a personal connection, work together to get it right. Have some fun, laugh a little and make the world a happier, sweeter place. This enhances our work life, personal life and profitability. The smallest gesture may be the segue to a beautiful, lasting relationship, that will benefit all, not only in our business, but personal lives as well.