As business owners we all love to make a new sale. When you put so much effort into marketing and building your business, the last thing you want to do is turn Customers away.
However, if you start to observe your Customers displaying behaviours like those below, or increasing regularity of these behaviours, then there may be cause for concern.
- Regularly switching between you and other suppliers of the same product.
- Unwillingness to provide written confirmation that products and services have been received in good order or acknowledge your invoice to them is correct.
- Raise issues with products or services when payment is due and not before.
- Scope creep or introduction of new requirements prior to payment of agreed milestones.
- Difficult to contact when they owe you money.
- Preference to pay you by cheque or credit card instead of EFT.
- Irregular payment patterns or switching of payment methods.
- Non-committal about exact payment dates.
- Inability to pay the full amount, pay partial or round amounts instead.
- Requests for payment extensions and limit increases.
- Become unusually cost sensitive and argumentative.
- Make up excuses that have nothing to do with you e.g. accounts person or cheque signatory away, missing paperwork or purchase order reference.
You may find when you sit down and run through the list with staff or other business acquaintances that your collective experience highlights significant issues about Customers you only suspected or were previously unaware of.
This list is not exhaustive. Use it as a checklist or create your own. Tell us about other behaviours you identify specific to your business or industry, we’d love to hear from you.