Are you getting paid?

One of the comments I’m hearing from business owners these days is that payments are slow in coming. 

While the last thing you might want to do is add more to your receivables, it might just be the thing that gets you an edge over your competition and gets more new customers in your door. 

One option: Offer financing. 

Obviously, you have to make sure the economics are right, particularly if you have cost of goods sold. If the economics work for you, offering a 3 payment, 90 days same as cash is a very effective way of making it easier to buy, no matter what business you’re in.

You might need to change the terms to fit your delivery schedule, the cost, and so on, but it’s worth examining. I’ve seen businesses mushroom in size simply by offering a small down and a monthly payment plan for services and non-tangible goods (software is a good example). 

This probably doesn’t help you if you sell coffee by the cup.

On the other hand, if you do catering jobs and you take reservations for events that are weeks away, take a credit card number and offer to divide the cost by the number of weeks between now and the event. Ring the card up weekly. 

Got an existing accounts receivable with a good client that’s due in one big piece? If it’s late, offer to let them split it into 2 or 3 payments, with payments coming every 2 weeks, 4 weeks or whatever makes sense.

Remember, you don’t have to offer this option to everyone. Perhaps only your best clients receive this benefit. As famous retailer Murray Raphael said, “Treat everyone the same (ie: really well), but reward them differently.”

Doing what makes sense to help your customers pay you (and they really do want to) beats not getting the business, not getting paid and perhaps most importantly, discounting your work and getting into a price battle. 

Be creative. Make it easy to buy, now more than ever.

Another way to talk to your community

OK, I’m still not over the small number of folks using the news in your marketing like 7-11 does, so here’s another way for you to talk to your community of clients if that type of thing doesn’t feel right.

You can create your company’s own custom browser toolbar for your clientele at http://www.conduit.com.

While I know there are umpteen zillion toolbars for your browser out there, the ones that get used are the ones that truly provide value.

What a surprise, right?

It’s a big deal for most computer users to give up half an inch or more of their Internet Explorer or Firefox  screen real estate to yet another toolbar, so you’d better make it worthwhile if you create one for your users.

What can you include on your toolbar that is so important or so valuable to your clientele that they’d give up an inch of their screen for it?

If that doesn’t give you some motivation to communicate value, I’m not sure what would:)

I’m still investigating how to merge this tool into the mix of tools I use to communicate with clients and prospects, but I thought you’d want to know about it as soon as possible.

I’d love to hear your ideas about how this tool (or ones like it) have improved (or could improve) the business relationships you have.