Here is blog post number fifteen covering the subject of getting paid by your customers. This material is taken from the article, “How to Collect from Anyone (Even Enron)” found in Inc. Magazine.
Way to get paid #15: Get A Commitment. When you’ve got someone on the phone, always try to get a specific date by which you’ll get paid. That is a good rule to follow, both during an initial call for a missed payment and in response to a previously broken customer commitment. Answers like “soon” or “next week” aren’t acceptable. If the customer is dodgy about dates, calmly mention what you plan to do if you don’t get paid on time. What should you say? You can refer to “the authorities.” You can mention the idea of halting work on a project. And you can use statements like “You expect us to ship on time, so we expect you to pay on time,” says the Brenner Group’s Kadet. “Use that statement often,” he adds. However, when you say things like that, be sure to maintain an even tone. And remember, your customer signed a contract. Don’t be afraid to refer to it, constantly. “You must create an expectation within their A/P department that you will call and insist on payment within the contract terms,” says Kadet.
“If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.”– from The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Applying this to business, “Know the terms of your contract, know what is expected from your customer, know what the customer has agreed to do. Use that to get the customer to honor their commitment”.