Distributor: 6 Out of 10 of Your Orders Are On Hold. Here’s How to Fix It. (PromoStandards Series Part 3)

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This story sound familiar?


  1. You win a big order from a new client! It’s a tight in-hands date but a big win. (Woo-hoo! High-fives all around!) You’re nervous but delighted!

  2. You email the purchase order. 

  3. You follow up with the supplier to ensure they received the purchase order.

  4. There, you think. That’s safely done. On to the next fire … 

  5. But wait … 

  6. You put the wrong run charge and forgot to put the set-up up charge on the order. Or you forgot to attach the artwork. Or you forgot to add the size. Something happened. (Because 6-out-of-10 orders that you send to a supplier are missing information or have incorrect information). 

  7. Order is set aside by the supplier.

  8. Supplier calls you. Has a question on the PO. Leaves voicemail.  

  9. You call the supplier back. Voicemail. 

  10. Two more calls later and … 

  11. Finally, you connect. You and the supplier chat. Good, that’s resolved. On to the next fire … 

  12. Now comes the proof. 

  13. But wait … 

  14. There’s a problem. The logo is fine, but the supplier left off the copy. Now you’re getting nervous about the in-hands date. Enthusiasm wanes, high-fives become low-fives.

  15. You email back the supplier the note about the copy.

  16. Supplier emails you a confirmation.

  17. You email back a confirmation of the confirmation. (Whew!)

  18. Everyone good now? Good. Can we please go on to the next fire?

  19. You finally get the corrected proof from the supplier. 

  20. Email it to the customer. 

  21. Customer doesn’t respond because they’re in meetings. All day. 

  22. You leave a voicemail. Deep breath, must maintain a cool attitude to the customer but frantic inside (“Hey, Sue … just wanted you to know I need that approval today or we might miss your event date.”)

  23. Customer finally approves at the end of the business day.  

  24. You email the supplier the approval. We good now? Good.

  25. But wait … 

  26. Supplier calls. Now that there’s been a delay (because of playing phone tag and missing information), you’re going to miss your in-hands date if you don’t rush the order. 

  27. Bickering ensues. Your fault because of missing info? Supplier’s fault because of missing copy? (Answer: Both). No-fives. Let’s just get the damn order here.

  28. You ask for an estimate on the freight costs. 

  29. More bickering: Freight is outrageous because the product is heavy. “That’s ridiculous. If we do this our margin drops by 7%.”

  30. You either go with it or miss the event date. Irritated, you approve overnight shipping. 

  31. Order ships. 

  32. You get tracking. At least it shipped.

  33. But wait …. 

  34. Next afternoon, customer calls. Order never arrived. 

  35. Fuming, you call the supplier. Supplier checks the order. 

  36. Three phone calls later, you realize that the zip code was wrong on the customer’s address.

  37. Meanwhile, your big win is now stuck in some holding pattern at UPS while you frantically try to get ahold of someone to try and find out where your damn order is. 

  38. Customer’s pissed. 

  39. You’re pissed. 

  40. And everyone lost. 

  41. Forty-steps later. 


You sick of this yet? 


Because it doesn’t have to be this way. At all. 

Here’s a shocker: There are an average of eight manual touches on every order you process. And that’s for orders that don’t have problems. 

In the above example, we covered a few (of many) problems that can happen on any given order. Multiply that process times the number of orders you do in a week and you can easily see why you spend your time babysitting orders and not selling. 

And yet we’ve only demonstrated the production side of the equation. We still have the invoicing process on this order, which will have problems because of the disagreement over whose fault it is. And freight discrepancies. And the order will sit again. Which means you won’t get paid for a while. 

All these holding patterns: You can see why margins take a hit. And profitability. And cashflow. And most of all, your sanity.


There is a fix for all of this and it’s right in front of us. 



PromoStandards is a translation protocol that automates (and therefore eliminates) virtually all of those irritating errors and missing information on orders. PromoStandards eliminates keying in orders and allows you to order the right product with the right product specs and the right details every time. 

How? 

To be honest .. it doesn’t really matter how (to you, the customer). 

You see, your customer doesn’t give a shit what pains you go through to get their orders right. And you (rightly) don’t really care what suppliers have to go through to get your orders right. It’s not that we’re all thoughtless and insensitive, we’re just busy. 

So here’s the deal. 

PromoStandards is available to all suppliers. So, why isn’t this live yet with all of your top suppliers? 

This is harsh but we have to be honest: Because they haven’t made it a priority. Many have made some progress and we’ve written about this in a previous post

But to make this a reality, they need to hear from you, their customer. When your customer calls you and complains about a problem, you jump through hoops to fix it. Likewise, suppliers do too. They respond to their customers because this is a very interdependent business: their success depends on yours. 

And when PromoStandards is a reality for your top suppliers, you’ll eliminate that nasty mess described above and use all that free time to sell more solutions for your clients. Which will make your clients more successful. Which will grow your sales. Which will grow suppliers’ sales.


Everybody wins.


So, let’s help everybody win. Here’s what you can do: 


  1. Contact your Top 10 Suppliers. Ask them where they’re at with PromoStandards. Specifically, ask them about their ePO process and what progress they are making on it. You’ll likely hear how hard it is. (And it is). But it’s not impossible. In fact, some are making significant strides but not near enough and not fast enough. 

  2. Here’s the selling point (I warned ya!) but it’s also a critical part of this process: You need to be involved in a system that integrates with PromoStandards (yes, like commonsku). Why? Because when PromoStandards becomes a reality for the majority, it will create a seismic shift in our industry (we wrote about that here). Those who are able to eliminate that mess described above will pull ahead of the pack, but you need to be on a system that is making PromoStandards a priority.  

  3. To make your life easier, start using PromoStandards suppliers now. Don’t just take our word for it, take Brandon’s, from Red Hot Promotions:

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Our developers are working critically on this process but we need more suppliers making it a priority. Not just us, but the entire industry needs to rally to this cause and keep it at the forefront of our collective mind because PromoStandards is now gaining momentum, and where that momentum can take us is beyond what we previously imagined possible. 


We’ve accepted the way it has been -like that f’d up scenario described above- for far too long.  


Let’s do it now. And create more time to sell. And more profitability.

And more joy; less stress. 

And guess what?

Along the way, we’ll discover that, with all that time-savings to sell more, we just might double the size of this damn industry.    


(This is part three of our series on PromoStandards, here’s part one, “Suppliers: It’s Not the Big That Will Eat the Small,” and part two, “PromoStandards: Here’s Why the Hell You Should Care.”)


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commonsku is an effortless business management platform that empowers you to process more orders and handle more business. Learn more at commonsku.com.