Does the thought of asking customers for payment fill you with dread?
You are not alone. Lots of people feel the same way… but here’s the solution…
… there are a few simple strategies you can easily put in place to make sure you always feel 100% confident about asking customers for payment of your invoices.
Here are the best two ways to feel confident asking for payment:
1. What Do You Know About Your Customer?
‘Knowledge is power.’ ~ Francis Bacon
Knowledge really is power, so before you contact your client, you need a little background knowledge about their previous history with you. Check out past orders and invoices and then check the details of their current invoices and any other items on the account.
The more knowledgeable you are about your client and their dealings with you, the more confident you’ll feel.
Make sure you know your clients’ order number, and what’s on their invoice. That’s even more knowledge, so more power.
Whatever they ask you about their account, you will already be familiar with it.
When you’re interacting with your customers, having knowledge will make you feel powerful, and knowledge and power = confidence.
Ideally, you’ll have all the details on your computer screen, or maybe a detailed printout of your customer’s account. This way, you can be well prepared for any questions your customer might ask.
You can write a checklist of information to collect before you contact customers to ask for payment. That way, you’ll feel prepared.
2. Build Your Knowledge With Collections ‘Shorthand’
Collections ‘shorthand’ is just a way to make quick, brief notes during your conversation with your client. If you always have easy access to your notes, you can jog your memory about what has been discussed and agreed before.
I used to make ‘personal’ notes too. Maybe something about their hobbies, their studies, their office move, pets – anything that I thought might help me build a strong relationship with clients.
I quickly glanced through my notes before I contacted clients. You can easily do that too.
Taking notes in collections ‘shorthand’ will help you build your knowledge about clients. The more knowledge you have, the more confident you will feel asking customers for payment.
I used shorthand like this:
Collections shorthand: ‘Called x 3. 3/3.30 & 4 pm no an ea time’
Translation: ‘Called three times at 3 pm, 3.30 pm, and 4 pm – no answer each time’.
Sometimes Stuck for Words When Asking Customers for Payment? Try This…
Even with all my preparation, I once felt completely stuck for words when I was asking a customer for payment. The customer asked me how we had resolved a tricky problem in the previous month’s invoice.
It caught me off guard. I could tell that it was important to him, and although I had been involved, I couldn’t remember the specifics about the incident.
I didn’t like the feeling of being ‘stuck for words,’ and I felt all my confidence draining away.
After that incident, I developed my ‘fake it till you make it’ strategy so that no one in my business ever felt ‘lost for words’ when speaking to a customer again.
My new strategy guaranteed that we all felt confident, even when we didn’t know the answer to a client’s question.
Having knowledge helps you feel confident, but there will always be occasions when you don’t have the knowledge to answer a customer’s question.
Fake It Until You Make It
My ‘confidence-building’ strategy is sometimes called: ‘Fake it till you make it.’
‘Confidence…can be developed by acting as if you already have the
confidence you desire to have.’ ~ Brian Tracy
And this is how it works. When you’re not sure of the answer to any question, say something like this:
‘I’m sorry, Mr. Client, I’m not 100% positive on that. Let me find out and come back to you straight away. I’ll call you before noon today. Will that suit you?’
There’s nothing wrong with admitting you don’t know something.
It’s much better to admit you don’t know and offer to find out than giving incorrect information. And, it’s great customer service to commit to a time to call back.
Even if you haven’t been able to find the answer, just call back to let your customer know what you’ve done so far, what you’ll do next, and when they can expect to hear from you again.
Don’t know the answer? It’s OK! Arrange a call-back time.
What strategies do you use when you are asking customers for payment?
To your business success!