Sales Tip: Be direct with collections

Scott Manning, Mac Tools distributor in Kent, OH, stresses stating payment terms and expecting customers to honor them. Manning allows five or six weeks on smaller ticket items. For larger ticket items ($500 and above) the term can be as long as 26 weeks using Mac Tools’ long-term...


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Scott Manning, Mac Tools distributor in Kent, OH, stresses stating payment terms and expecting customers to honor them. Manning allows five or six weeks on smaller ticket items. For larger ticket items ($500 and above) the term can be as long as 26 weeks using Mac Tools’ long-term financing.

Having never previously owned a business, he didn’t realize that collection issues are a reality of owning a business. "If you’ve never been exposed to collections, you don’t know," he recalls. Being shy by nature, Manning was initially reluctant to confront customers who were slow to pay him.

"Being more direct in collections is the biggest thing you can do," Manning says. At the same time, he notes, you can’t be too aggressive with customers.

"Once you get over the timidness, you almost feel guilty," he says. "Then you realize if you don’t ask for it, you’re not going to get it. Once you get that in your head, it’s not a big deal."

To reduce collection problems, Manning made it a habit of watching how customers act when he first meets them. This helps him decide whether to lend the customer credit. He pays attention to whether or not a customer makes eye contact with him when he comes to the stop. "It’s about being observant," he says. "Body language tells you a lot."

 


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