How to get people to pay when they said they will

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How to get people to pay when they said they will

How to get people to pay when they said they willHas 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.

The background
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.

Additional posts.
* did you hear about
* how to get better payment arrangements
* using psychology to collect more payments more quickly

By | 2020-04-02T00:12:22+00:00 May 10th, 2013|wording|0 Comments

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.

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