perhaps later

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perhaps later

If you get reactions like any of these when you call a late-paying account customer, you might like to think about deferring your call until later!

  • I’ll put you through to Mr Jones right now if you like. But he’s extremely busy. The Tax Auditors are going through the books with him.
  • Waaaaaaaaaagh. Waaaaaaaaaagh (a baby’s cry)
  • If you don’t stop reversing the car like that Mary, you’ll hit the ……. Oh XXXX. Er, yes? Can I help you?
  • Down Fido. No. NO!! Down boy.


The examples above are little “give-away clues” that now may not be the best time to talk to the customer. Talk quickly. Talk loudly. Get up to their speed of thought. Use the following phrase and then call them back when relevant.
Mr Jones? Hi. It’s (your name) from
(your company). I was going to talk to you about your account now but it’s obviously a bad time. I’ll call you back later. Would two o’clock – or three o’clock be better?

Now, you’ve

  • 1 told them where you’re from and what you’re calling about,
  • 2 acknowledged that it’s a bad time to talk,
  • 3 taken control of the situation,
  • 4 told them that you’re going to call them back (you’re not just going to go away) and
  • 5 given them a couple of quick time options for them to choose from.

Don’t even try to talk to them about the account because they won’t really be listening to you. They’ll be thinking about the present situation. They’ll say almost anything just to get rid of you, and that includes a promise to pay that they probably won’t remember later. So, you get rid of yourself for them – but be sure to call them back when they said that you could.

And when you do call them back, say this …
Hi Mr Jones? It’s (your name) from (your company) again. I’m calling back about your account. You weren’t really able to talk earlier. You said that I should call you back now.

And then say nothing. Nothing at all. You’ll probably find that they’ll remember your consideration earlier and be much more receptive to you as a result.

By | 2017-09-08T04:30:06+00:00 January 29th, 2009|techniques, telephone|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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