Not knowing how to ask for a payment can be a disaster for your business.
Strong cash flow is crucial in every business. If your clients aren’t paying on time and you’re constantly having to chase up overdue invoices, it can be stressful.
According to Scottish Pacific, poor cash flow can easily take your focus away from growing your business:
“SME biggest growth barriers: 39% cash flow”
Just imagine how you’d feel if all your clients paid on time. You’d never have another overdue invoice and never have to ask for a payment ever again. Does that sound impossible? It’s not…
Getting invoices paid on time removes one of the biggest reasons for small business owners to feel stressed. I know because in my small business, all our clients paid on time. Having plenty of money in the bank to pay, staff, suppliers (and myself!) made running and growing a business much, much less stressful.
Here are a few really simple collection strategies that I used that worked really effectively. These should help you get your clients to pay on time – sometimes without asking!
Follow these easy steps and your clients will start to appreciate your great service. They will get to like you, and when people like you they pay you, so it will be much easier to ask for your payment on time!
A Different Focus on How to Ask for a Payment:
‘Build a strong, friendly business relationship with your clients so they WANT to pay you on time’
You might be surprised to know that, almost half the time, clients CAN’T pay because the invoice is missing a vital piece of information: it’s vague, sloppy or incorrect! Making sure invoices are clear, accurate and easy to understand can double the chance of it being paid on time.
And, you might also be surprised to know too that, just by adapting your collection strategies, systems and techniques a little, you can strengthen your relationships with clients. When the relationship is strong, clients are much more likely to pay you before they pay other creditors.
These are great collections tips for de-stressing small business owners. They’ll help you get paid on time and strengthen your relationships.
Strong business relationships are also an excellent way of encouraging repeat business (if people like you why wouldn’t they buy from you again?). Repeat business is a very cost-effective way to grow your business. It’s SO much easier than continually looking for new clients. That’s exactly how I grew my business.
How to Ask for Payment Without Asking: The List
- Invest a little time ‘upfront’. If you do, you will save heaps of time later. Make sure your invoices are clear, correct and easy to understand before you send them.
- Your invoices must have all the details your client needs to pay the invoice on time. Make it as easy as possible for them to pay.
- Check your calculations and extensions. Your details must be correct too. Clients don’t pay invoices with mistakes on them.
- Make sure your banking details are clear on your invoice to encourage your clients to pay on time. A bank transfer will clear funds in your bank faster than a check.
- Make your terms of trade visible on the invoice. Put them in a place where the client won’t miss them.
- Put the date your invoice is due for payment near your terms. You can highlight it too.
- Address your invoice correctly. Right person, right place. Ask if you don’t know.
- Email your invoices. They get there quickly.
- How to ask for payment the easy way: Make a ‘client service call’ about a week after sending your invoice. Make sure your client is satisfied with your product or service.
- Ask for payment politely. No one likes to deal with a miserable person.
How to Ask for Payment Without Asking: The Way Forward
The ‘client service call’ is the call you make, not asking for a payment, but to find out if your client is satisfied with your service and has received your invoice.
The beauty of this call is that you are just making a ‘client service call’. You are making sure the client is satisfied with your service.
The great thing is though, if you do find out that there is a query somewhere, you’ll find out before the invoice is due for payment.
Once you know about the query, you can fix it super-fast. If you keep your client updated all through this process, as soon as it’s fixed, you’ll be in a good position to ask for a payment before the due date.
If there’s no query, your client will be delighted that you’ve made a service call to make sure they are satisfied. This step is what builds great business relationships.
Good customer service is so rare now that your client will get to like you. And when people like you, they are much more likely to want to deal with you.
By finding out first that there are no problems which might hold up payment of your invoice, you won’t have to learn how to ask for a payment.
You can just politely remind your client of the due date and ask if there’s any reason why it won’t be paid by that date.
These are some of the easiest and most effective collections tips you can put in place to encourage your clients to pay on time. When clients pay on time, like mine did, you won’t need tips on how to ask for payment.
To your business success!