You’ve made the sale. Provided the product or service. Sent the invoice. Waited. Waited. Waited. And now your stomach is in a knot because you absolutely HATE having to call customers for cash?
When I first got into sales, my biggest complaint to my boss was about collecting. I HATED IT. I told him: “I feel like I’m playing Good Cop and Bad Cop”. Meaning – I’m the “Good Cop” who sells the customer something and then I have to be the “Bad Cop” when they are slow at paying or WORSE haven’t paid at all.
Here’s what my old boss said: “TOUGH. It isn’t a sale until you’re paid.” Good advice from a crusty old sales guy from San Francisco. I’ve never forgotten it.
Pull Up Your Big Girl Panties
Listen – no one really likes collecting. But I got over being SHY about it years ago. In fact – it doesn’t bother me at all now. Why?
What bothers me instead is NOT getting paid for something I have provided. (I will always find a way to get paid – count on it)
It’s happened to everyone sooner or later. Your cash flow is going through a tight spell – so you’re paying slower than usual. Your customers go through it too.
The problem is that it still causes STRESS for both the customer and the salesperson who sold the product or service.
6 Sales Diva Tips To Collecting Without Guilt
1. Set The Stage. Be upfront about your terms and ask your customer if it works with their payment policies. Discover the department and person you need to send the invoice to as well as what day. This way you’ll NEVER miss a billing cycle.
2. Cover Your Hard Costs. Depending on your industry – you can charge a deposit. This is the status quo in the speaking industry as well as many others ie/ web design. Never do deals with someone who has less to lose than you do. If they want to hire you – they have to commit.
3. Get It In Writing. A contract outlines every detail of what you and the customer are doing together. Signed contracts can be taken to court (your last resort). As well – don’t do everything on the phone – make sure you send a follow-up email stating what was covered in the call. Otherwise – you’ll be in for a not so fun game of “He Said – She Said.”
4. Ask For The Money Honey. Get on the phone and ask when you can pick up the cheque etc. Usually customers fully intend to pay – you’re at the bottom of the supplier pile. Be fair, firm and friendly and it will be appreciated.
5. Learn From The Past. History can repeat itself. Offer different terms for clients with a history of slow payment. Ask for 100% of the money upfront until credit has been established. Charge to credit cards, get a wire transfer, ask for a bank draft. Help your client but still find a way that you can sleep at night too!
6. Stick To Your Guns. It can be tempting to walk away from a bad deal and write it off. Don’t do that. It isn’t fair to all of your other customers and it certainly isn’t fair to you. If you need to – take them to court. You aren’t going to keep the nasty customer anyway (you don’t want them) so you may as well go all the way!
Remember – most customers are FANTASTIC. There may be an occasional glitch but those who are respectful, listen, show value and be pro-active are likely to have long, prosperous relationships together!
Love From Your Bossy Sales Diva,
Kim Duke, The Sales Diva, provides savvy, sassy sales training for women small biz owners and entrepreneurs. Kim works with clients internationally, showing them The Sales Diva secrets to success! Sign up for her saucy and smart FREE e-zine and receive her FREE Bonus Report “The 5 Biggest Sales Mistakes Women Make” at http://www.salesdivas.com