Typically, when your customer owes you money from past due accounts, the reality is, he owes other people, too. It’s not that he can’t pay YOU. He probably can! It’s that he can’t pay everybody. How do you become that one person your customer decides to pay over the many other creditors he could pick over you?
Consider this: Everyone trying to collect is hearing at least one claim in common – that there’s a cash flow problem. Some creditors simply accept that excuse at face value. Armed only with that useless bit of information, they press on to collect on the debt, becoming more and more frustrated in the process. It’s not unusual for those frustrations to become evident in a less than a professional attitude. This approach is a fail almost 100% of the time.
But there’s a better way. With just a little further effort on your part, you can be the one your customer chooses to pay over the others.
Once you obtain every bit of information from your customer as is possible, validate the story with other creditors. Request the last 6 months of Merchant Statements and call their bank to see if there are sufficient funds to cover the amount owed.
You’ll learn through that process if your customer actually has the ability to pay you. And that’s really YOUR bottom line – not if he can pay everybody he owes – but if he can pay YOU!
Once you’ve established that he has the funds to pay what he owes you, have another conversation with your customer. When he learns that you have the facts about his financial situation, he may be much more likely to pick you for payment. This is especially true if you remain poised and professional while you speak frankly about resolving the debt. Throw in a little flexibility by remaining open to options for payment, and you’ll stand out from the crowd as the one who got paid!