Landing new clients for your business is only half the battle. Getting those clients to pay on time is the other half. It’s no good to work hard and deliver your product only to wait months for the client to pay. Here are some tips for making payments easier for customers.
Build a Relationship
Before that first invoice goes out, start building a relationship with your client. When a client faces due dates from several invoices, the first one he or she pays is from the business he or she considers a friend. Building a special rapport with your most important clients means your invoice moves to the top of the stack. Add a quick handwritten note to the invoice, too. Once payment comes in, send a thank-you note. These little tricks give your business a more personal feeling and encourage on-time payments.
The types of payments you accept make a big difference. Offering multiple types of payment is not just for e-retailers. Actual brick-and-mortar stores, vendors, and other businesses offer various payment methods through different types of devices. Accepting multiple methods of payment gives customers the options they need. Find a payment processing company that accepts all major credit and debit cards, PayPal, and electronic checks, as well as international payments if you work with foreign clients.
Not all processing companies offer the same services. When choosing a payment processor, find out what type of security the company offers. Ask about guaranteed authenticity, effective fraud prevention and detection, and data security. Don’t just go with the least expensive company. Using a reputable company guarantees your customers a good payment experience.
Check Credit Ratings
Help your company have a good experience, too. Before signing a contract with another business, check out its credit rating. For a fee of about $100, Dun & Bradstreet generates a company’s business credit history. It’s better to pay a fee up front than find out your B2B client doesn’t pay its bills. No one likes working for free.
Itemize all the charges on your invoices so customers understand exactly what they’re paying for. Explain what billable hours include, list unit costs for products, and try to anticipate every question a client may have. Consider sending out more than one invoice per month, breaking larger amounts into smaller payments. Set clear penalties for overdue payments so customers know the consequences.
Sometimes, businesses offer discounts or other incentives to customers for paying early or on time. Remember, positive reinforcement works better than negative consequences. Offer a small discount or consider a non-monetary reward such as a free trial product. That little incentive might be the difference between receiving your money promptly or getting placed at the bottom of a stack of bills.
Offering a variety of payment methods, breaking payments into smaller chunks, and giving incentives to clients that consistently pay early or on time are ways that can help your business’s bottom line grow. Show your customers you care about more than just delivering the product. Show them you care about them as people, too.