I was asked if there is a way to utilize the positive persuasion methods we discuss in this blog when having to collect money from a late-paying client.
The questioner was not referring to those who might simply have forgotten, and for the first time. When that is the case, just call and politely remind them. There shouldn’t be a problem.
He was asking about collecting from those for whom – while it seems they will pay – it does not appear to be a priority. Perhaps you’ve called and have been told it will be there by next Tuesday, but it hasn’t arrived.
You’ve got that feeling in the pit of your stomach that:
1. You are either going to be scr…err, I mean, cheated out of the money owed after you’ve already completed the work or provided the product or…
2. If you do collect, it will be the result of having had to threaten or cajole or in some other way ruin the relationship, and you’ll lose their future business.
Regarding this last point, some might advise, “just don’t do business again with that type of person.” And, in a perfect world, that works. But, maybe now you still need their business. And, if you can both collect the money you are owed and “re-train” them to pay on time while continuing to do business with you, isn’t that a better alternative?
Here are the basics:
1. Communicate The Issue. Compose a letter. This could be email or snail mail, depending upon how well you know them and their online habits.
2. Utilize Tact. Compliment their values and integrity.
3. Show Gratitude. Express how much you enjoy serving them, and that you hope they feel the value you provide them exceeds what they pay.
4. Have a “Call to Action.” Let them know that it would “mean a lot” to you to receive payment today.
5. Allow Them to “Save Face.” Add that if there is a problem you are not aware of, you’d appreciate their letting you know so you can discuss.
The key is to not be demanding, but also to not come across as weak. A day later follow up with a call and ask if a check has been sent. Assuming they actually do plan on paying you, this should work.
Next post, we’ll look at a sample letter. Meanwhile, feel free to come up with one of your own and share it with us. You might save me from having to write tomorrow’s post. 😉