If you don’t want to ask, you have to give them clues!!!

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If you don’t want to ask, you have to give them clues!!!

Most people, when they owe someone money, are extremely conscious of it. AND, if payment of that debt is also overdue, they will feel extraordinarily guilty. (If they don’t, you may want to revisit your trading relationship with them.)  

So, if someone owes YOU money, use this to your advantage. Here’s how … Imagine. You’re going to visit an important client. He has a substantial amount owing to you. In other words, an unpaid invoice – he owes you money.

Now, the forthright among us will have no problem asking for payment but many people DO – hence this post.  THAT’S who this post is for. It’s about How to raise a sensitive subject with a client WITHOUT risking ANY damage to your relationship with them. Without creating any bad “atmosphere” that may damage goodwill and, ultimately, future business.

Try this …

DON’T raise the topic!  Get the client to raise it!  
by either

* putting a hard copy of the unpaid invoice among other paperwork, or
* having a bullet-point list of topics that you want to discuss with him.  An agenda of sorts.

And then leave either (or both) in plain view.
If your list of ‘topics’ is on the table in front of him, even though the writing may be upside down to him, he’ll try to read it.  So, if something like “Invoice xyz – $12,000” is somewhere on that list, chances are HE will raise the topic — before you have to. (It also means that you HAVE to raise the topic if he doesn’t. Why? Because it’s on the list!

* I received an email the other day … “I am seeing Andrew tomorrow and will discuss his account with him then, as best I can“.
* I replied to say … “Easiest way (so you don’t have to raise the topic) may be just to print out a hard copy of the invoice and put it somewhere on the table where he can see it. Of course, if that “subtle ploy” doesn’t work, you WILL have to raise the topic yourself but, that too, will be much easier if the invoice is already out there!
* The next day, another email came in … “Thanks Michael, appreciate the suggestion! It worked. He paid!

By | 2017-09-20T10:33:37+00:00 April 23rd, 2013|techniques|2 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.


  1. Anonymous April 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Great Info. Seems so simple everyone should be doing it, however I am sure many don’t.

  2. Linda Ferguson April 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Great idea, thanks for the tip.

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