The holidays may put a strain on you as an individual but end-of-year accounts receivable follow-up could put a strain on your business. It can be challenging to review overdue invoices and the potential of bad debt write offs and stay in the giving spirit. If cash flow is strained, a business owner may feel resentful of those clients who still owe on invoices. Treating your clients well, however, is necessary for retaining those relationships. B2B sales cycles take longer so your clients are important, even when their invoices are unpaid.
Here are 5 best practices for treating your clients well during the holidays, even when they owe you money.
Client Holiday Gift
You may be sending out holiday gifts to your most important clients and that also includes those who are past due on invoices. If your business is feeling especially cash strapped, maybe consider a holiday card that is hand signed by everyone on your team. It may be the thought that counts and it's a good reminder that you appreciate their business. Perhaps a little bit of holiday guilt may prompt payment on your invoice too.
Visit Your Client's Office
If you have a holiday gift or card for your client, it may be a great opportunity to deliver it in person. While you're in the office, shake hands with those you haven't met yet. Use the opportunity to visit with the person you've worked with and the person responsible for paying invoices. Once they put a face with a name, they could be prompted to pay off the invoice.
Treat Your Client to Breakfast
Yet another inexpensive idea to show client appreciation is breakfast. Show up at their place of business with danishes, donuts, and coffee and you've become the office's favorite person. If you aren't able to stop by, invite your contact out for coffee to catch up. It's important to impress that you do appreciate their business and you'd like to continue to work with them. Once they understand that you may not be able to provide your services unless they pay, it may become apparent that it's time to pay up or you'll have to fire them as a client.
Holiday Happy Hour
When was the last time you met with your client contact? Establishing a good relationship with business clients may also mean getting to know them a little better. You may find that your contact no longer works for your client. If that's the case, you may have also uncovered the reason your invoice hasn't been paid. Invite your client contact out for drinks to get to know how your businesses can better work together - and get that invoice paid!
Make a Holiday Phone Call
Call your client contact to send good wishes. Ask about their family and holiday travel plans. Find out if their office will be closed during the season. Then realize that you actually have your client representative on the phone and inquire about your unpaid invoice.
These tips are all attempts to follow up on any unpaid invoices. Contact your clients and share some holiday spirit. You could get some answers on why payment has been delayed. You could prompt a non-responsive client to get out and meet with you in person. Trying to get paid for unpaid invoices doesn't have to be aggressive and harsh. A friendly face and treats, especially during the holidays, may be helpful to get the answers and payment your business needs to close out the year.