Posted by: midpen | July 21, 2008

Len Sklar tells how to ask for payment

Len's book is available from Amazon and by contacting MPPA

Len's book is available from Amazon and by contacting MPPA

Overcoming  Discomfort in Asking for Money



            Most teen-age kids have no problem asking their parents for money, and there are plenty of other people who can do it without a second thought.


            But, many business people not only feel uncomfortable in asking for the money they have so deservedly earned from providing their product or service, they handle their discomfort by simply not asking or doing it clumsily (more on that below). The result is an unacceptable level of accounts receivable.


            One effective way to get past this barrier is to first share the uncomfortable feelings with the person you want to ask, prior to asking.  Here’s how.


            Say something like this:  “(Client), I really hate to ask for money, it makes me uncomfortable, and I worry that my clients might think I’m more concerned about money than I am in providing our service.” or words to that effect.  If you think that this approach is “corny” or artificial, experience has shown that most clients will actually reassure you that it’s OK to talk about payment or that they have a similar problem.


            Then, after you’ve shared your feelings, as one human being to another, is to say something like this: “However, you do owe $500 and we need to discuss how you plan to take care of that in a way that will work for both of us.”  (Notice the “both of us” part.  That means that they can’t just propose some unacceptable payment plan; you have to agree to whatever is proposed, and you may have to negotiate.)


Asking for Money Effectively


     First, let me tell you how NOT to ask for money.  DON’T BE VAGUE.  Never ask for “something on the account” or “a payment”.  If you do, anything you get is a ”payment”.  Incidentally, if your debtor is vague by offering you a payment, you say, “That’s great.  The best we can do is $250 today with a post-dated check for the balance cashable in two weeks. Now, you’re in a negotiation, which is far better than accepting some drawn-out payment plan that causes the debtor no strain by stretching out paying as long as possible.


            So, how do you ask for money effectively and professionally? First confirm that you are talking with the right person. Then, just be friendly and direct, like this: “Hi, this is Jim Grable from On-Time Consulting, and I’m calling about the $235 balance on your account.  Would you please write a check for that amount and send it in today?  Thank you.”


            I realize that sounds way too easy, and you will get all kinds of responses, which I’ll discuss in a future Collection Tidbit.  But, you have begun the dialogue correctly, which definitely improves your odds of collecting.  Notice that, in my request for payment, I got right to the point, I didn’t apologize for calling, and I didn’t talk about the weather or ball scores or other evasions of the real subject for the call.


            Eventually, with a little practice, you’ll become more comfortable and effective in asking for money. Leonard Sklar ©2008




  1. it would be very helpful if some more examples be given here to elaborate the point

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