Having templates for dunning letters and for collection calls is essential for the health of your receivables management, and your business in general. But it’s also important to maintain a give-and-take relationship with your clients. The client should never feel like the only time they hear from you is when you’re asking for a payment.
Here are 3 ways to establish that reciprocal rapport and keep your client relationships healthy.
1. Ask Them Questions
How are we doing? Is it easier for me to send this information to this email address, or to that one? How was your trip to Spain last week?
Within the limits of professionalism, start conversations with your clients that aren’t just about them owing you money, or even conversations that aren’t specifically about work. This is a simple tip, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Everyone is busy, and it’s tempting to let this simple relationship-building fall by the wayside.
But maintaining this personal connection with clients will keep communication flowing and will make it easier to continue getting payments from them.
2. Give Them Product Information “Snacks”
You spend a lot of time thinking about your business. Odds are, though, that your clients don’t spend much time thinking about your business and the various products or services you offer.
If you are proactive by keeping your clients “in the loop” with what you’re offering, they might realize that you have a solution to a new problem they’re dealing with. In your next update on your current projects, try mentioning another aspect of your business the client might not have realized you offered.
- It seems like you’re doing a lot of business traveling these days. Did you know that we also offer travel booking services, in case you ever want to get that off your plate?
- Instead of buying more of our dark roast coffee this month, do you want to also try our new light roast? It costs the same, and some other businesses have let us know that their customers really like having the choice.
Be careful not to be too much of a salesman to your current clients. They shouldn’t feel like you are constantly trying to upsell them and asking them to spend more money.
Offer clients information “snacks” without trying to force an entire meal on them. If they’re not interested, then you can move on. The client will know you’re keeping an eye out for other ways you can help and not just trying to sell them on spending more.
3. Thank Them
When you receive a payment, especially an on-time payment, thank the person who paid you! Your receivables management software probably has an automated way of letting the person know that you received their payment, and that’s great.
But a simple, heart-felt “thank you” (not sent by a computer) can go a long way to making the customer feel appreciated. You can even use this “thank you” as an opportunity to employ tip #1 and check in.
- Thanks so much for the prompt payment. I saw your Spain pictures on Facebook; they look amazing! Now that you’re back, are you ready to move forward with project X?
- I just got your payment — and 3 days early! Thank you so much. How are your customers liking those new light roast beans?
Make that small extra effort to connect with your clients on a regular basis, beyond just asking them for payment. By fostering this positive relationship, you’re creating an environment in which your clients will want to pay you on time!