Since I sell my recorders as pre-orders, I spend some time during the first lesson with 4/5 on how to fill out and return their order form. I find this time well spent. I know there are others out there who feel that getting started on making music right away is important. While I don't disagree with this thought, I find that not taking time to go over things like recorder letters during the first rotation results in wasted class time later because students have questions and concerns. With around 300 kids potentially completing these orders, I need to make sure everyone is on the same page.
This is the letter I send home with students. I posted it last year but I realized I never put it up as a Freebie. I have added an editable version; you can request it here.
Students can start returning their recorder pre-orders as soon as they have the money. I usually collect orders for about a month before calling West. Once orders start rolling in, I have found that collecting the slips and depositing the money with my secretary wasn't enough organization for me. To help make sure that I didn't lose any slips, I started keeping a spreadsheet of all received orders.
My students have the option of ordering the blue, green or pink Yamaha recorders. So, to keep track of how many of each color, I use separate books. If you click on the image above you can see the tabs labeled by color. I also color code each book so that I will know which order I'm looking at. This has helped me tremendously when it comes to orders. I can quickly find an order or let a kid know whether or not they have turned one in without digging through a stack of papers. It also helps me make sure that I do not lose any.
In addition to ordering a recorder, my students have the option of ordering a lanyard for their recorder. The lanyards I sell are shoelaces from U.S. Toy. They are a great deal and work wonderfully as a way for recorders to be hands free. In my spreadsheet, I have a column for lanyards. I'm able to order so many of these at once that I don't worry about color selection until they arrive. As you can see below, if this was an order I had received, the student would be ordering 1 pink recorder with a lanyard.
In addition to the color coded books, I also have books for orders with multiple colors and for lanyards only. In the multi tab, I list any orders that have multiple colors, ex: 2 blue/1 green.
When my recorder deadline arrives, I total up my orders and call West and U.S. Toy. I charge a bit over the cost of the recorders and lanyards so that I can order a few extras for students in need. When they arrive, my orders are easy to distribute thanks to my spreadsheet.
I have uploaded a Recorder Spreadsheet Template to my Freebies section. It may seem like extra work but it definitely helps keep me sane. Do you have any tricks for making recorder sales go smoothly?