The only good customer is a paying customer, and if you are afraid to ask for payment, you might not get.
For large or important amounts, telephone before the due date to make sure everything is OK and then ask for payment.
Make immediate contact with the customer when payment has not arrived.
Be assertive about what you expect and when you expect it.
Make the consequences of non-payment clear.
Follow up promises to make sure they are met.
Do what you say you are going to do, and do it when you said you would.
Which call would you rather make?
- a cold call to prospect a new customer, or
- to a customer because they are now 2 months over due with payment, again!
Its a tough call, pardon the pun, neither is an easy call to make. And for those of you who would rather make the Prospecting call, DON’T. Because if you don’t have what it takes to phone and ask for ‘Your’ money, its not worth making the prospecting call in the first place.
Most people, particularly those motivated purely by sales, wouldn’t think twice about the sales call, but when it comes to asking for payment its a whole different ball game – why is that! However that’s not a question we are going to answer here, and one best left for a physiologist.
And because these Collection Calls are difficult to make even business owners ‘pass the buck‘ by delegating the task to an even less skilled and qualified person. Furthermore does this employee have the motivation to actually collect the debt, do they care – will they really try!
If you are the owner of the business, the owner of your destiny – and that of your employees – then there is no better person for this job than YOU.
Who is going to make that call?
Sales-person: By nature a sales-person is usually very reluctant to visit the customer in a debt collection capacity to ask for payment for fear of destroying a relationship and therefore future sales, (but isn’t the relationship already at risk if the customer does not pay?). One might also argue that the sales-person, who is known to the customer, is the best person. Foot in the door, they should also be able to look around for signs of ‘decay’ (empty shelves, reduced staff, poor maintenance etc)
Management: When the owner or senior management in your company calls the customers owner or senior management the message is clear to both parties – we take the collection of overdue debt seriously. If the size of the debt / customer is large, then it is essential that management make the call. An employee who needs to report back to his / her management can be just the excuse the customer needed to buy more time. Only management can assess the potential risk and then decide on what actions to take.
SME’s: For many small and sometimes medium business owners, its left to the wife / partner / son / daughter or office worker. Which is fine IF firstly they enjoy it and secondly have been given the proper support, training, and incentive, and know and understand the companies Debt Collection Policy.
Outsource: If you don’t have the time, head space or staff to spare then Outsourcing to a specialist Credit Controller or Debt Collection agency such as Shark Patrol’s Net Collect Team is a very cost effective solution.
Don’t be afraid to ask for payment
A sale is not a Sale until the money is in the Bank.
There should be no hesitation in contacting the customer at the earliest sign of delayed payment. The more rope you let go the bigger the noose around your neck – as the saying goes….