There is an old and not very good joke that asks, “Where does a 500 lb. gorilla sleep?” The answer: “Wherever he wants!”
The ‘collection technique’ may not be one you care to follow if you are dealing with a VIP customer. Perhaps they are one of the Fortune 500, perhaps not. However, they are very important to your company and if you rile them, they can easily go elsewhere. Some of the techniques I have mentioned (except for ‘ignoring it’, which most firms use) may preserve your ‘honor’…and put you out of business.
Is there anything you can do in these circumstances? Yes, but unfortunately, not as much, and without the same results.
1.Know your gorilla’s habits:
When your Sales Vice-President, or maybe even C.E.O. happily announces that you’ve landed General Motors, your job is to ensure everyone is fully aware of how General Motors or any other ‘biggie’ pays their bills. It sure doesn’t mean that you’re going to turn down the sale, and it may be tough to be heard over the celebration in the sales office, but you want responsible parties to know what they can expect on the proverbial ‘bottom line’.
2.You can always negotiate:
Granted, you might not be in a position of strength, but negotiations can still take place. When they are large enough, it is worthwhile to visit the firm and meet the folks face to face. Maybe you can even check up and see how they collect on their ‘short paid bills’.
If necessary, you should always be able to fall back on the moral issue. “Excuse me,” you might say to the Customer who slipped something into his pocket on the way out your door, “there appears to be an item that wasn’t on your sales slip. Would it be easier for you to pay for it separately?”
Pithy quote of the month:
“Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me.”
An original Tim’s Tip from consultant and author Tim Paulsen