Someone 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.