Has this ever happened to you?
You did the work. You sent the invoice. The client didn’t pay. You chased them up. They promised to pay. They didn’t? In other words, a broken promise to pay. Most people will experience this. If you haven’t yet. Wait. For you will!
Over the last few months we’ve been doing something a little differently at our clients. It’s been an outstanding success in terms of getting second promises … and these are promises that are kept. Money banked. In other words, many overdue accounts have been paid when we’ve sent out emails showing the first promises made, ones that HADN’T been kept.
In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr Robert Cialdini sets out 6 key principles of influence. A great book.
The second of those principles is “Commitment and Consistency”. To quote from Wikipedia
“If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. Cialdini notes Chinese brainwashing on American prisoners of war to rewrite their self-image and gain automatic unenforced compliance.“
Wording we use
“I have to do a report to the Board on Monday next week on all accounts over 90days. Can I tell them that you’ll be forwarding the payment mentioned in the email below next week? Please confirm.“
“May I have an update regarding progress of this invoice? I have to do a report to the Board on Monday next week on all accounts over 90days. Please advise.“
People are now paying. People are replying. And quickly. And … they’re paying. Because they’d said that they would (in earlier correspondence or over the phone) but hadn’t. And they didn’t want to be seen as inconsistent, either to us or (and probably more importantly) to themselves.