If you cannot put a specific date and time in your diary that the payment should be received, chances are you didn’t ask for the money!
This could be a great exercise for those Companies who record calls “for training purposes”. Listen in to some examples of calls (If you don’t have the time I can do it for you) and ask “at what point did we ask for the money?” You just might be horrified at the answer.
The next exercise is to distinguish between calls and contacts. It is accepted that you have to make around three calls to make a single contact. Make sure you are recording both with emphasis on the contacts. It is possible to call a person ten times and not make contact once. In this case you DID NOT ask for the money! If the phone is not working, and if you have called ten times without success, then this method is clearly not working, then you have to have to find another method of communication.
When you make contact, the purpose of the rest of the call should be either to get the payment over the phone via Laser/ Credit Card etc or to get a clear commitment that is going to be delivered.
The details of the call should be noted and the exact date and if possible, time, should be recorded. Your customer will then make up their minds about how important the money is to you, by how quickly you follow up and simply ask for the money.
If you call on a Tuesday and they tell you they will post a cheque on Friday and a month goes by and there is no cheque from them and no call from you, you are sending out a clear message that by making false promises will buy me another month, so they will be more likely to do it again and again.
If you are responsible for getting paid this is a crucial lesson. Most people are afraid to ask for the money in case they will offend their customers. I will agree that there is a particular way you have to ask, it is important that anyone involved in this process is trained and educated –ask me about the new Qualified Collector Program if you are interested, this is essential to improve understanding, to improve the approach and improve the results, but even a one day training course will give enough information, if delivered by someone who knows what they are talking about. (see the BusinessPro website for details)
I was speaking to a group that received the following advice on cash flow at a new business program “Pay no one and take a day off each month to shout at your customers until they pay you”. Now if you adopt that approach you will have neither suppliers nor customers, in a very short space of time - and both are important if you are to stay in business!
On my website I have the words “For your business to be successful you must believe at the outset that getting paid is important to you, and then you must act accordingly”
Leaving balances outstanding for long periods without any meaningful contact, and then getting annoyed with your customers when they cross the line, (A line you have drawn and your customer doesn’t know where it is!) is how most businesses approach their credit control at present – it is inadequate, it is dangerous and it is wrong.