when a customer pays to THEIR terms, not yours

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when a customer pays to THEIR terms, not yours

when they're simply not paying when you want them toSomeone recently asked (sorry, lost the original email) “What can we do when
* our trading terms are 7 days,
* this was clearly stated in the sales process, yet
* the debtor insists on paying to THEIR terms (which are 30 days from the date of invoice.) not ours?”

  • Answer two questions:
  • ONE:  Can the debtor easily take their business elsewhere?
  • TWO:  Do you really need them to pay within 7 days?


First things first, forget their Accounts Payable people – go to the top. But, speaking to the right person, face-to-face,
* may be hard to organise and
* is likely to be difficult and embarrassing for both parties (unless you already have an excellent rapport with them) so, along these lines, speak the good news, write the bad news

If you answered

(#1 – yes. #2 – yes.) then try this.

(#1 – yes. #2 – no.) then it’s not the money that’s concerning you, it’s the “principle”, so, either

* leave alone and chase them when they’re late on “their” terms or
* put an email together along the lines of “Can You Help?”

(#1 – no. #2 – no.) this means that they can’t easily take their business elsewhere and you’re not really bothered, so, either

* (again) let sleeping dogs lie (do nothing!) or
* phone someone in a position above the debtors Accounts Payable person along the same “Can You Help?” lines.

(#1 – no. #2 – yes.) then, adjust the email wording suggested in (#1 – yes. #2 – yes.) so that it’s a little firmer with some consequence mentioned to act as “the stick”.

Hope that helps.

By | 2017-07-13T08:51:40+00:00 December 11th, 2012|techniques|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. Terry December 16, 2012 at 10:06 am - Reply

    “7days strict” says 7 days
    Anything else says from end of month
    Customers will pay for a better service
    Send the invoice
    Give it 3 days
    Check they have received it
    Check they are happy with the goods/ service
    Follow up with an agreed expected payment date
    Ensure these good payers are rewarded in future sales and the next pricing review/ contract

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