How to collect invoices successfully
How to collect invoices SUCCESSFULLY at the end of EVERY month
Gather your ammo, always have in front of you as much information about your customer and the debt as you can, including having the invoices and their personal file at hand.
Document everything that is said, either on the phone or in meetings, have a secretary take notes or voice recordings which is very useful so you can reflect back on what has been said in case there are any disputes.
Keep a personal connection
Always keep the customer informed after sending products or providing services and ideally just before the invoice payment date arrives, ask open questions like, “is everything satisfactory with the invoice?” and “is the payment due date ok?” or “if there are any other questions?”.
Don’t jump to conclusions
The initial collection call should aim to confirm the debt has not been paid,
- The unpaid invoice should not be seen as a collection issue just yet and may be down to miscommunication, so you want to be careful.
- Consider things from your side of the business.
- Has the product or service been shipped or sent correctly in the agreed time frame or if the invoice wasn’t sent or received?
If the invoice is late, start with Hello it’s______ from company ______ I noticed your behind in this invoice. Was there a problem with it? Once the client gives you the reasons be sure to document it and be nice but in control, the tone of your voice can affect the way the conversation may go stay upbeat and cheery and your more than likely to have a more positive response from your client always ask if there is anything you can do to help with the invoice and if they need any more information about the business etc showing that you are doing all that you can to help, if the caller senses your under pressure they may try to negotiate a better deal with you so stay upbeat and positive and this should result in full invoice amounts getting paid.
If the person you call gets a little irate. Don’t automatically go on the defence, just take a deep breath, remain calm and collected and maybe suggest calling them back at another time. You can usually tell when things are turning but keep dialogue constructive, and let the person feel he’s making headway.
Try to asses if the excuses that your being told for non-payment are legitimate.
If the customer says “someone in payroll forgot to make the payment”, Call the payroll dept to confirm that. You can usually tell when someone is being sincere or over the phone – they may stutter slightly or sound as though they’re caught off guard, usually your first gut reaction is right.
Open communication is key
Someone who may not be able to pay up front may be able to pay in smaller instalments or at a little later than usual date, so ask open questions like how much can you afford to pay?” That way you can help the debtor figure out how to get the money to you without paying exorbitant interest, this also reduces the risk of confrontation and makes the debtor feel more at ease.
Offer different payment methods to your clients and always get signatures. Either email, fax or meet in person to get the authorisation form signed and of course make sure yourself or HR get copies of these.
Provide the debtor with a Verbal summary of what was discussed on the phone, including how and when a payment will be made, once a payment method has been agreed ask the debtor to call back to confirm a payment has been sent.