If you sell services (or anything, for that matter) and extend credit to your customers, collecting your receivables is something you likely need to do. Making collections calls can be super awkward; we don’t generally like having to ask for money that is rightfully ours to begin with. It is uncomfortable for the asker and the askee…
Here are some tips to deal with this difficult, but sometimes necessary, task:
There is nothing like having the phone answered when you are not ready. Don’t take a sip of your coffee after you dial that last number and minimize distractions and interruptions
Have the Facts
- Make sure you are aware of the exact amount owing, including all open invoices, even if they are not due yet.
- Know the payment terms or, at least, the outstanding due date of the invoice(s) you’re calling about.
- Be aware of what product or service was sold.
- Gather background information on the client. Do they have a current situation that you need to be sensitive to? Are they prone to being late?
And the excuses….
People will always have an excuse as to why you haven’t received payment. Be primed with a response for a few of the standards:
“The cheque is in the mail.”
Ask for some details, possibly the cheque number and dollar amount so you can verify your records.
“I don’t have a copy of the invoice.”
Offer to fax/email that over right away. Get confirmation of the customer’s number/email address.
Having a positive attitude, undoubtedly, goes a long way. Although the customer can’t see you, a smile on your face can be heard loud and clear. Along with your positive attitude, be professional and confident. Don’t chew gum or drink coffee while on the phone. Speak politely, assertively and with conviction. You are looking for results!
Making these calls can be frustrating, so the fewer you have to do the better off you are. Get a commitment of when you will receive payment or, at the very least, set up a payment schedule. Otherwise, your call was a misuse of your time and you will be repeating the action again.
Remember this money is already yours. Stay calm and it will get where it needs to be.
Written by: Holly Mackie