Friday, September 12, 2008

Everyone Wants to Get Paid!

Are you responsible for collections? Many salespeople are, and I doubt any of them would say it's their favorite part of the job. After all, you worked to establish rapport with your client, and now you're asking them where the money is! Hardly feels like a relationship builder. Sales trainer Joe Guertin has the tips you need to navigate the tricky waters of collections with ease.

"Account receivables are not evil, but a lot of salespeople avoid it, rationalizing that it can hurt their customer relationship," says Guertin. "For the most part, that's usually not true. It's just an excuse. Nobody gets mad at the grocery store, gas station or department store when they tell you the total and you make a payment."

"But for a lot of people, it's an uneasy activity," continues Guertin. "To stay financially healthy, employers need to have that cash flowing. So here are some tips to make getting those receivables easy."

Be up front -- Real early.
When you're closing the sale, go over accounting responsibilities (who'll be paying them, and what your company terms are). Write all of this information down, with the customer if you can. And get to know that check writer! Things that go unspoken won't be priorities so, this little step shows your company is detailed, and can keep receivables from becoming a problem later.

Head off problems early
When an account goes over prescribed terms (i.e. 30 days), check into it. It doesn't have to be negative when you contact their accounting person (you know that person, remember?) saying that you "just wanted to follow up to make sure you got last month's invoice, because you're always so prompt."

When overdue, be upfront.
Let's say you have to follow up on an overdue bill. It's best not to mention it as a throwaway at the end of the conversation ("by the way, did you send out that last payment?") People are smart. They'll know that was the reason for your call and might see your hesitation as a weakness. Not a great relationship builder there.

Now, more than ever, keep your skills sharp, and you'll keep your income healthy.

Joe Guertin is President of The Guertin Group, a sales training firm that delivers customized training on all aspects of the sales process. Learn more at

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