Sales Tip: Some lessons on taking customer payments

Oct. 22, 2014
Seagraves gives a customer three chances to make payments on a timely basis before placing them on “cash only” status.

Tom Seagraves, Mac Toos distributor in central Missouri offers a lesson on collecting customer payments

Seagraves realized early on that some customers need help managing their finances. If a customer has trouble making their weekly payments, he tells them not to buy anything until they have the money.

He gives a customer three chances to make payments on a timely basis before placing them on “cash only” status.

Seagraves sometimes offers his own credit on high-ticket purchases, depending on a customer’s history. If a customer has a good history with him, he will finance larger purchases on the truck as long as a down payment and weekly terms are agreed upon. He financed a $3,700 toolbox purchase for a loyal customer with a $1,000 down payment and an agreed upon $50 per week.

He allows customers to skip a week’s payment if they tell him specifically when they will make it up.

“You don’t always get it right,” he says about extending credit. “I try to ‘over communicate’ with them on terms.”

When a customer told him that he couldn’t pay him because he needed the money to pay his rent, Seagraves asked him who would pay his (Seagraves’) mortgage. “I don’t get a 40-hour-a-week pay check just for showing up,” Seagraves explained to the customer.

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