Small Business Cash Flow Helped

Author: Ben Kench

“We struggle to get paid and it really is hurting us!” they said…

Have you experienced the same thing? Do you feel that you ‘suffer’ when bigger

clients dont pay and squeeze you in tough times?

A genuine way to help with some of this is a slightly different ‘tweak’ to the usual sales

process. The truth is you absolutely can improve how clients act some of the time

when you change how you sell.

So, back to my client..they offer a Tree Surgery service to hotels and golf courses.

The hotel client was late paying, so I suggested the following:

At the time when the client requests your services ask them directly why they have.

This might seem a little strange but by that I mean…what do they see as the reason that

now the task has become important.

The client then says that actually the tree in question now looks dangerous or that they

can see that branches are falling in storms etc.

Once they have recognised this,  your task is to encourage them to expand upon the

danger that they see. You MUST get them to focus and dwell momentarily upon ‘Risk’.

The client might stall a little feeling that they are ‘stating the obvious’ however you must

encourage them to focus upon the potential outcomes i.e. a tree falling into a roof and

causing thousands of pounds worth of damage or pieces falling and seriously injuring

a person and them being liable for a hefty legal cost.

Once they see the true risk you simply ask them when they would prefer to  solve the

problem…when would they like the danger removing.

As they dwell upon ‘Risk’ and see ‘Danger’, you then encourage them to see Urgency.

Ask directly ‘How do you feel about this danger not being dealt with?’ They will probably

re-iterate that it ‘needs doing now’ or  ‘as soon as’ to which you can say ‘ok, so how soon

can you pay me?’

In truth, none of us as individuals usually get the chance to have something without

paying up front or at least agreeing to finance and paying a deposit. Thus the person

to whom you are talking will process the request for money partly through their

‘normal’ consumer mind and see this as a reasonable request, and partly through their

‘business’ mind where they have been taught to ask for services to be paid later on an


Assuming they immediately reply words to the effect of ‘just invoice me’ then you have

the opportunity to state that you require payment up front or at least a 50% or 30%


Having got them to realise the risk and see the immediate danger  you have now

created a scenario in their mind of greater urgency and they really will not want to

play too hardball and refuse your terms. (they will be aware that either they give

themselves an extra task because they now have to go and source another supplier

or that in the meantime there is a real potential of danger and of course should anything

happen then it is bound to come back to them as a ‘blame’).

I promise that this strategy massively changes the dynamic of the situation. Once the

risk and danger are focussed upon non-one wants to ‘run the gauntlet’ and so the chances

of them not agreeing and at least paying you something are low.

Indeed where there  is already a track record of poor payment then you have even

greater grounds to stand firm with your terms. Using this scenario gives the person

to whom you are talking justification should they need it when talking to a superior

and defending their actions if they pay outside of the company’s usual invoicing


So, try this please and I hope you have a far better experience with payments and

cash flow!

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