When growing a business, organized finances, documented processes and the perfect staff can contribute to positive feedback and referrals from clients. Even when everything is going right, there will be that one particular client who seemingly steals your joy. Whether they're being difficult or too demanding (hello scope creep), it's imperative to set boundaries on the B2B relationship. When they don't pay their invoices, it could be even more frustrating.
When you're doing everything right in your business, what do you do with that one client who refuses to pay?
Have "The Talk"
If you haven't had to broach a difficult conversation with a client thus far, consider yourself lucky. It's a good practice to put yourself in a positive mindset before sending a reminder email, getting on the phone or sitting down with a challenging client. Here are some things to consider before having "the talk":
- The client may be refusing to pay because the contract expectations were different than what was delivered. Does your sales staff need to be involved?
- If there was scope creep, and the client is being billed for extra hours, was this communicated to the client?
- Have you raised your prices and the client was unaware?
- Is the client going out of business, going bankrupt or some other reason they are unable to pay?
If you approach the conversation from this mindset, you may be able to come to an agreement on payment via payments over time or a reduced payment. The important thing is to not take make assumptions, don't take it personally and listen intently to the client's reasoning.
Fire the Client
A client who is absolutely refusing to pay and refusing to communicate may need to be fired. Instead of spending more time devoted to tracking them down and then convincing them to pay, cut your losses. Some red flags to look out for:
- Is your client downsizing in any way? Are there layoffs or are they moving to a smaller location?
- Is the original contract signer still with the client company? If they've been let go, you may no longer have a champion for your contract relationship.
- If there's been any inconsistency, with payments or orders, the client may have found a replacement for your services.
- An non-responsive client, or one who continually makes excuses, may be avoiding you for some reason.
Any of this behavior may signal the end of your business relationship. If you are unable to meet with them to get to the heart of the matter, it's probably time to fire the client.
Get Help Getting Paid
Even after you've written off the client relationship and the account as bad debt, you can still get help getting paid. At Enterprise Recovery, we don't need a large volume of accounts in order to help recover what's owed to you. In fact, we take on single placements all the time.
As a third-party collections agency, we can devote time to track down the client. Our collections experts have decades of experience and technology available to get an answer for you as quickly as possible. The best part? We don't charge your company anything for trying to collect and, if we are able to collect, we only take a small percentage as a fee.