If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve had cash flow problems
Cashflow is the #1 issue that keeps business owners up at night. ~ Anthill Magazine.
This is the second of two posts that will show you why good customer relations are important to help you get paid, get more orders and improve your cash flow.
Being a small business owner automatically makes you a busy person. When would you have the time or inclination to make your clients feel loved – and why should you?
Well, if your customers like you, they’ll be much more inclined to pay you on time and buy from you again – it’s as simple as that.
The importance of giving customers good service
No-one likes dealing with grumpy people. You certainly wouldn’t pay grumpy people first – not many people would. We all like to pay people we like first.
None of us want to call and speak to people who are grumpy, either.
I’ve seen admin people grumpily treat valuable customers like ‘the enemy’ because they have an invoice outstanding. That’s a good way to put a customer off side – and most likely they’ll put your payment to the bottom of the pile. As a result, that will increase your cash flow problems.
How to make sure your customers are always happy to pick up the phone to speak to you
It’s really not that hard; there are no costs involved and everyone gains. Here are some ideas for you and your team:
• Always give your customer your full attention -they can tell if you’re distracted.
• Always use your customer’s name.
• Positive language makes communications flow. Adopt a ‘can-do’ attitude and use ‘can-do’ expressions.
• Say ‘yes’ as often as you can, and you’ll stand out from the crowd.
• Negative language hinders communications, so keep negative words out of your conversation.
• If a customer asks how you are, be positive (regardless of how you feel!).
• Return customer calls promptly and with grace.
• Listen carefully to what your customer is saying and don’t interrupt or pre-empt.
• If a client calls at an inconvenient time, explain the situation and set a time for you to call them back.
• End your call with your customer on a positive note.
How service with a smile reduces cash flow problems
Having everybody in your business committed to providing ‘service with a smile’ is another tweak you can make that will help you get paid. It takes no more time, costs nothing, and everyone has a nicer day.
In addition, customers on the receiving end of your good service get to like you and enjoy interacting with you. Your invoice is then much more likely to go to the top of the payment pile. As a result, that’ll help you reduce those cash flow problems.
Can you see how great service can have lots of benefits for both the giver and the receiver?
Customers are much more likely to pay you or let you know if there’s a problem when they enjoy communicating with your business. Here’s a good example…
Trevor’s landscaping business
An early client of mine (we’ll call him Trevor) ran a high-end landscaping and garden maintenance service. He knew everything there was to know about gardening.
Trevor’s clients weren’t short of money, but many of them paid his invoices late. He always had serious cash flow problems because it wasn’t uncommon for them to be months overdue. When he asked my team for help, we checked his office procedures, and then we talked to his clients.
Everything seemed good in the office, but his clients told a different story. Trevor knew a lot about gardening, but he also thought that he was the best. He hand-delivered his invoices each month with an attitude that seemed to demand payment.
One of his clients explained the situation perfectly: “I always put his invoices to the bottom of the pile. He’s such an arrogant fellow, I like to let him sweat.”
Trevor laughs about this now, but it was a hard way to learn that there’s a difference between confidence and arrogance!
Reduce cash flow problems in your business
How could you build stronger business relationships with your customers, so they get to like you and pay you on time?
You could put one or two post-it notes on your computer screen to remind you – or write some helpful hints up on your whiteboard if there’s a few of you on the team:
‘This is how we talk to customers here – we make them feel valuable and welcome!’
(I use marker pens on copy paper and blu-tac signs up on the wall near me when I’m teaching myself something new).
You could write up something like this:
‘Today, I will delight every person I speak to.’
‘Everyone I speak to today will feel that I’ve helped them.’
Improve your conversations. It’s a simple way to How to Ask for Payment and improve Cash Flow…
To your business success!