Bringing the money in can seem scary for many. In truth, unless there is a question of adds or service quality or service timeliness, collections is nothing to fear. Treat it like you’re making sure there aren’t any outstanding issues. You’ll never get blindsided and the customer will never get amped up.
I have literally made thousands of collection calls over the years. The process is very basic. When they don’t pay, the process needs to be defined and you need to be disciplined about following the process. Know your process for escalating the issue and don’t compromise the process. Especially if you are a small business and can’t afford to carry the receivable or worse yet write it off.
Your credit terms will likely be industry specific. If you’re business doesn’t carry receivables, consider yourself lucky and focus your extra time on marketing and operations. I am in a made to order business. This means you are buying something very specific to your needs.
1) For special order items, charge prepayment for smaller orders. In our case for orders under $500.
2) For orders over the threshhold, charge 1/2 Down, Net COD
3) Collect your COD’s
4) Know your cut-offs – product in versus product out
5) If you can’t get it out, bill it in time for the customer to pay it when you need it
6) Some positions in an industry can afford offering discounts; match the terms to the need
7) Our position in our industry, provides for Net 10th terms
8) Develop a routine to communicate with your customer
9) Follow it
10) Be the nicest, most focused collection person
11) Don’t be afraid to show up
12) Wife’s can be deal makers or at least force the communication
13) So can collections
14) Realize lack of communication generally doesn’t mean unwilling to pay, but rather unable to pay without a timeline
15) Document every call you make to your customer
16) Know at least 2 contact numbers
17) Google the mailing address to make sure it is not a post office box of some sort. You want a physical address.