Be Prepared

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Be Prepared

be prepared - gather as much information as possibleAnd then, I pulled out the application form …

Many years ago, I worked in the North Queensland Branch Office of a major finance company. A very slow-paying borrower had gone missing.  He was two months in arrears, had left his address, not turned up at work and owed us $8,000. A lot of money in those days. And, we had absolutely no idea where he was.

We did the usual checks, even asked his neighbours and workmates but all to no avail. And then,  I pulled out the original application form and noticed two things
1  it was his birthday in two weeks time, and
2. he was divorced.

Now you and I both know that sometimes an ex-wife or husband can be an excellent source of knowledge when it comes to wanting to cause a bit of grief to the “ex”! So, I shot over to her house and found out that when this man travelled, he always had his family send any mail for him to the Post Office in whatever town he was in.  (His birthday in 2 weeks, remember?)

(I feel you get where this is going.)  We were in Cairns, almost at the very top of Australia so he could only really go south!  We collected three stones, three pieces of cotton wool and three empty cigarette packets. Each stone was wrapped carefully inside the cotton wool, which, in turn, was put inside a cigarette packet.

The three cigarette packets, each containing a padded stone, were then nicely wrapped in birthday paper and sent by Registered Mail to 3 Post Offices. One in Ayr, one in Townsville and the other in Rockhampton – all being places south of Cairns.  (Note: he had to sign to receive his ‘present’ and there was nothing on it to show that we’d sent it)

One week later he signed for one of his “birthday presents” in Townsville. We set a Collection Agency on to him and shortly afterwards they found out that he was staying in a local motel and we had our man.
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The morals?
*   Gather as much information as you can in the honeymoon period of your commercial relationship – preferably at the very beginning.
*   Be creative.
*   Start Everything Early.
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Good account management is about having as much information about your account customer as you can … and, at times, being creative.  And the best time to get information is usually at the very start of your business relationship, before any credit is given. (Use a credit application form or whatever initial paperwork you may have to get this.)

By | 2017-07-13T08:51:41+00:00 April 5th, 2012|case studies|1 Comment

About the Author:

Have you ever wondered why a client does business with you and then ignores your invoice like they had no intention of paying it in the first place or they treat you like their own personal line of credit, leaving YOU dangling, waiting months for their payment? Unfortunately this situation is all too common and can even be puzzling for the most experienced business owner. If you’ve ever had to handle outstanding accounts or you are just so over non-payers, then we can help. Real-world skills, solutions, tips & strategies to get more accounts paid on time, and, most importantly, how to maintain customer goodwill while keeping YOUR cash flow in the positive. You will find the blog posts helpful but to get real results, contact us by using any of the forms on this site, by email or by phone. I’ve been involved in the management of accounts for over 30 years, heard every excuse in the book, can spot a non-payer at 20 paces. Finance Companies in the 70s (systematic, tough), professional firms in the 80s (no systems, too gentle) and, since then, just about every other sort of business you can think of. I’ve written books on the topic, spoken all over the place about it and the blog in this website is my way of “giving back”. I hope you find it helpful.

One Comment

  1. michael todd June 18, 2012 at 4:42 am - Reply

    Posted by Sonia Henriquez from LinkedIn
    “Yes, the more information the better, and in recovery work, especially information that triggers emotional pressure points.”

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