Been promised payment? Don’t make these 5 common mistakes

“Send me the details and I’ll pay it tonight”- Who doesn’t get a little excited at hearing these words from an overdue customer. It is completely normal and expected and you should feel happy at the thought of receiving your money. There is a major difference between a promised payment and actual payment however so keep the champagne on ice UNTIL you see the money in your account. Here is what not to do if you want to make sure they do pay:

1. Not providing your bank account details. Yes, they are on your invoice and yes they have your invoice, but the mere fact you are having to chase them up shows they can’t be relied on, so always give them your BSB and Account Number over the phone. Better yet, tell them you will text them to them.

2. Assuming because they have promised that they will. Assume nothing- customers will often tell you what you want to hear just to get you off the phone. Until you see that money in your account, treat it like it is- an outstanding invoice and a liability and risk to your business. Remain ultra vigilant.

3. Not following up in writing to confirm. The moment you put the phone down, email or text them confirmation of the payment. This is easily the most powerful tip we can give you- a written confirmation reinforces what they promised and you will be seen to be thorough, diligent and professional- three qualities that should ensure they not only pay, but come back and use your business again.

4. Not explaining what will happen if they don’t pay. This is a big one and something we see an awful lot of- yes, they have promised to pay, and yes, they probably will, but you must let them know what might happen if they don’t- emphasise the consequences to ensure that paying you is the much more attractive option. Legal action, debt collection, credit default, escalation of account, stop credit- whatever it is, tell them- not as a threat but as a explanation of your options. For those who are conflict-averse, just a simple “Please email me a receipt once you have paid it otherwise I can’t guarantee it won’t leave my desk”.

5. Forgetting to finish the call by summarising what they have promised to do. “Ok so just confirming you are paying this outstanding $1200 today, and will email a receipt, is that right?”. If their answer is not a swift Yes, then alarm bells should ring- watch out for “It should be”, or “Yep I’ll do my best” or “Yes that is the plan”.

These 5 tips are very cynical and assume the worst of people, but it is much better to start from a position of doubt where there is only upside rather than one of trust where the disappointment will be much worse if they let you down. Cheers

Been promised payment? Don’t make these 5 common mistakes

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