Worried About Asking For Payment Of Overdue Invoices?
Does wondering how to ask for payment politely strike fear in your heart? You aren’t alone.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you are wondering how to request payment from a customer.
A lot of people feel shy and even too embarrassed to ask. But don’t worry…
There’s an easy way to ask for payment of your invoices without upsetting your customer. All you need are good customer service skills.
Does that sound like a fairy story? It’s not!
I followed the simple collections strategy I’m about to share with you now, and almost every one of our customers paid our invoices by the due date and the last few payments came in the next few days.
…AND our customers liked and trusted us too! So we were able to grow the business with lots of repeat orders and referrals from existing customers.
How to Ask for Payment Politely – The Key
I’ve listed here my easy collections strategy in 4 simple steps. Once you’ve put this strategy in place you won’t have to worry again about how to ask for payment politely.
Remember, this strategy is tried and tested. Once you start to use these strategies it will be really clear what you need to say and do to get your invoices paid.
It’s also a great strategy to use before invoices become overdue. It’s one of the most effective collection strategies to get your invoices paid on time!
Are Your Invoices Overdue Now?
Sending a letter asking for payment will delay payment even more. A much faster way is to use this strategy…
How to Ask for Payment Politely – In 4 Easy Steps
This simple little collections strategy is designed to get invoices paid AND build strong business relationships at the same time! It’s a very polite way to request payment.
Step #1 Be Prepared. Knowledge is Power!
- Check the customer’s order against the shipment. Confirm the order was fulfilled exactly as requested.
- Look through the customer’s file. Make sure nothing untoward is documented about this invoice(s).
- Check the invoice. If you find mistakes on it, use an invoice template that prompts you to write a perfect invoice.
- Check with colleagues that have handled this order. Are they aware of any query or problem with this order/customer.
- With the file in front of you and all the customer’s details to hand, make a call to the person who placed the order.
- When you make the call, ask if your contact “is there today”.
- By asking if your contact “is there today?” you get to find out if they are in the building.
- If you get to know they are there, even if they are busy just now, you know you can keep calling to try and catch them.
- When you get to talk to your contact, introduce yourself.
Step #2 Resolve Problems Super-Fast And Look Like A Star!
- Approach the call with an upbeat and positive ‘customer service’ attitude.
- Ask your customer to confirm safe receipt of the goods / service documented on your invoice.
- If there is a problem on the invoice, the service or the goods – you can find out what it is and sort it out quickly.
- Keep your customer fully informed all through the ‘query resolution’ process.
- By keeping your customer fully informed you can build a friendly business relationship with them.
- After quickly and courteously resolving all problems, remind your customer that the invoice is due / overdue for payment.
- Then ask if there’s anything now stopping them paying immediately?
- Because you’ve provided great customer service, your customer will be getting to like you.
- When people like you they pay you! You are much more likely to get your invoice paid.
Step #3 Use Customer Service Skills For Best Results
- If your customer confirms safe receipt of the goods / service, use your best customer service skills to confirm the good news e.g. “that’s excellent”.
- Advise your customer that the invoice is now overdue for payment.
- Then ask them if the invoice is authorized for payment?
- When you know that the invoice is authorized to pay, ask for the name of the person responsible for payment of invoices.
- Now ask to speak to the person who actually pays the bills.
Step #4 How To Ask For Payment Politely To Get Results
- Introduce yourself to the person who pays the bills.
- Tell them that your customer has advised that your invoice is authorized to pay.
- Ask them to confirm they have the invoice.
- When they confirm they have the invoice, this is how to ask for payment politely…
- Tell your customer that’s great news and that the invoice is due for payment now.
- Then ask what arrangements are in place to be able to pay the invoice now.
Through the conversation, to get the answers yo want, use dialogue starting with ‘who?’, ‘what?, ‘when?’, ‘where?’ or ‘how? These are called ‘open questions’.
When you ask an ‘open question’, you must leave a gap to allow the person to answer your question. It might feel a little uncomfortable for a moment. If you can keep quiet and let your customer answer you should get the answer you are looking for!
Think of the process as ‘customer service’ rather than ‘collections’. Make a ‘courtesy call’ rather than a ‘collections call’ and your fear will disappear.
How to Ask for Payment Politely – Key Actions:
Use The Courtesy Call. It’s An Effective Collections Strategy
The Courtesy Call is a customer service call AND an effective collections strategy!
The polite way to ask for payment is to find out first if your customer has received the goods or service he ordered, and is totally satisfied.
Once you have followed the steps to find out that the order is complete and the invoice is correct, it is easy to follow on from that and politely ask for payment.
If you give people what they want first (a perfectly completed order and great service), they will generally give you what you want (payment on time).
Use this gentle and persuasive way to ask for payment of all your due and overdue invoices.
Soon, you will never have to think again about how to request payment politely. Your customers will get to like you and your great service and when people like you, they pay you…
If you have any questions, comments or frustrations about how to ask for payment politely write them in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you promptly.