Getting paid. If you're in business, this is definitely something you think about. Yet no-one really talks about it. Good sales processes will help you to get paid, without detracting from your client relationships. There's no need to be desperate like Jerry Maguire (if you need reminding about this great movie from the 1990’s – watch Tom Cruise in the famous ‘Show Me the Money!’ scene here). You and your business really can have positive and profitable client relationships.
As salespeople and/or business owners, it’s our job to move the needle for the businesses we represent, to form good client relationships, close deals, hit targets and make quota. This activity results in money moving from one business bank account to another. This means getting paid.
One of the most topical articles on the internet last week was written by David Cormack of Draper Cormack Group, a Wellington-based PR and communications business. David wrote in The Spinoff about the challenges that SME’s, particularly the smaller businesses, can often face in getting their invoices paid. In our interconnected world, when one business is challenged, this can have a flow-on effect across our entire business community.
I vividly remember the first time I was personally impacted by a client not paying. It was my first full-time sales role, selling advertising space for the late, great Capital Times newspaper. Yes, we are talking last century! I was keen as mustard but also green as grass. As a commission-only rep, if the client didn’t pay for their advertising, I didn’t get paid. One client did not pay his invoice for two months or more.
‘Ring him up yourself and get him to pay!’ said my manager.
Ouch! None of us likes making those type of calls. Sales is all about creating a win-win with happy clients and everything going well. How stressful to have to call this man and talk about a late payment!
During the telephone call, I tried to diffuse the situation with a bit of humour.
‘Look, I could be facing a winter stuck in a Parisienne garret!’ I said.
‘Well it might not be so bad’, said the client. ‘It all depends who you’re stuck with!’
His response surprised me. Would he have said that to a man? Probably not, but then in the early 1990’s we didn’t really question as much as we do now. I quickly ended the call. Thankfully he paid soon after.
It’s 2018. We’ve come a long way. Email, automation, software like Xero and all its add-ons – here to take the pain out of managing your business and your accounting.
So, what do you do, especially as a SME, if you’re waiting for an invoice to be paid? We’re not talking about being a few days late – the timeframe that David Cormack wrote about is 60 days or more.
Short of doing a Jerry Maguire – it can be hard to know exactly what to do in this situation.
With any business challenge there are always three options:
If you’ve read this far, I assume you’re in the third category.
Sales Processes are an important place to start. As part of our service, Magnify helps clients to look at their sales processes, so essentially, we’re talking about money and how to grow it for a good part of the day.
Everyone in your sales team, whether your team is large or small, needs to get comfortable talking about money. This doesn’t have to be difficult – get further sales training if necessary.
Here are some steps that you can take to encourage payment for your business efforts:
Getting people and businesses excited about Sales.