Posts Tagged ‘ sheri Michaud ’

Ante up! – Keeping Track of Account Receivables

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but the lack of it can surely make you unhappy.” – our CEO’s favorite money line.

Everybody wants it, and those who have it want more of it! Nobody wants to give it away, and if you’re the Operations Manager of a creative ad agency – this can be a problem.

The more figures you can move from your AR statement to your bank statement, the happier the CEO. If we follow this logic, both the bank statements and the happiness of the head-honcho, is your hands. If he is happy – so is everyone else.

So how do you keep account receivables running smoothly? Stay consistent. Know your clients’ payment habits and keep up with them. If you know your client tends to pay within an acceptable amount of time, give them the buffer, but check-in weekly and call immediately if their check has not arrived.

I find that when you are not consistent with the calls and the e-mail reminders, payments start to come in slower. A quick weekly check-in and a few e-mails is all it takes to make your accounts receivables less of a nightmare.

Having a great rapport with your client is also very helpful.  Once I started e-mailing those who handled the clients’ accounts payable on a more consistent basis and getting to know them, I started getting e-mails from them in return indicating that a check was on its way – fabulous!!!

It is hard to get into a routine. No one really wants to “ask” for payment and no one really should have to “beg” for it.  Sending an e-mail reminder is a gentler, less intrusive way to ask for payment. I would start there. If a check has still not shown up by the date you were given, make the dreaded phone call. Procrastination will not fund payroll!

If push comes to shove, you’re not getting anywhere and the account is well past 60 days overdue, it’s time to start making calls and writing e-mails two or three times a week. Role-play the ultimate nag.

When constant nagging does not work, you may need to call someone higher-up at the company. I would put the onus on you first.  Ask if there is a problem with the invoice, do they want to discuss it with their account manager? This is also the time to discuss a payment option. Once an invoice hits 90 days overdue, it will be harder to collect.  So now is the time to involve a collection lawyer or agency.

One final thought, humor can make requesting payment a little less painful. As I also cover our accounts payable department, I once received a late payment notice with a bit of humor I though I’d share. Instead of the typical “PAST DUE” stamped on the statement this company had a sticker that said “money talks but yours hasn’t spoken to us in a while”….  I laughed and paid the account.

“The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.” ~ Frank Hubbard
“We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.” ~ Gloria Steinem
“There is a very easy way to return from a casino with a small fortune:  go there with a large one.” ~ Jack Yelton
“I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.  ~ Mark Twain
“They who are of the opinion that Money will do everything, may very well be suspected to do everything for Money.” ~ George Savile, Complete Works, 1912
“I cannot afford to waste my time making money.” ~ Louis Agassiz
“There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.” ~ Robert Graves
“When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.” ~ John Wesley

“It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.” ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.” ~ Pam Shaw
“The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” ~ Author Unknown
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.” ~ Cree Indian Proverb
“The only reason a great many American families don’t own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.” ~ Mad Magazine
“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Thank you Quote Garden – http://www.quotegarden.com/money.html

Keeping Up with the Gatekeeper Game

Can you believe in today’s “instant access to the consumer” world we still
have to perform a dog and pony show to get past the gatekeeper in the hopes
of finding the decision maker? Well, be warned that often in a downsizing
economy, the gatekeeper and the decision maker could be the same person. And
guess what else? Their time is very, very limited.

As an advertising agency, invaluable gatekeeper included, we deal with
similar issues as our clients.  Every day our gatekeeper is faced with a
litany of decisions to make and tasks to accomplish, complete with an even
longer list of potential service providers to help assist in culling down
the “To Do” list.

So, in 20 succinct bullets from our gatekeeper, this is how EVOK recommends
you go about opening that preverbal gate:

·  Don’t make promises you can’t keep
·  Be honest
·  Know your customer (who is and who isn’t)
·  Provide a loyalty program
·  Reward referrals
·  Spell out an actual point of difference
·  Announce your intention prior to soliciting
·  Get to the point quickly
·  Provide an incentive
·  Be different (if you’re not, come back when you are)
·  Know your competition
·  Remember your manners (please and thank you go along way)
·  Keep it simple and short, stupid
·  Leave them wanting more (and a way to get more if desired)
·  Timing is everything (don’t offer me tax advice on April 16!)
·  No high pressure
·  Don’t wear out your welcome
·  Make your product or service offer time sensitive
·  Don’t be sketchy
·  Dress the part (do the “once over” twice if needed)

True, many of the above bullets apply to a company representative happening
upon the actual gatekeeper via the phone or in person, but each can apply to
all advertising and marketing initiatives. Whether it’s a print ad, direct
marketing piece, end-of-aisle display with free samples or door-to-door
salesman performing a cold call, every impression is an opportunity for
customer conversion. Though you have multiple options to get your best foot
in the door, all it takes is one fatal faux pas and you will never make it
past the gatekeeper.

***Bonus Material***

Our Gatekeepers Blog:

Getting Colder
Today, I was “cold called” by my current office supply company. I’d like to
say that I was surprised by this oversight, but it was in fact the second
offense. After giving them the benefit of the doubt the first time, I
quickly changed suppliers after I informed them “I already am your
customer—obviously an unimportant—thanks for nothing.”

Another Day, Another Sales Call:
Today I received TMI about the office bottled water. A water-purifying
company saleswoman gave me more than I bargained for when I accepted the
offer of a tall glass of water. She added some chemicals to a glass of water
that was poured from the bottle that sits upon the water cooler. Well, I
don’t know if it was the bad fluorescent lighting or some sales pitch
hocus-pocus, but the outcome left me with a dirty glass and a bad taste in
my mouth.

When I Move, I’m Thirsty for Water
Timing is everything. Shortly before we moved our offices another water
vendor came in to speak with me.  Knowing space in the new office would be
limited, I was looking for something to take a way the storage issue. A
gentleman came in, albeit unannounced, but was quick and to the point. He
explained how his filtration process works (using a simple, color diagram)
and left me with the information. A few months later, after a few follow-up
calls, we were ready to move. I called him directly and he took care of
everything.

We’ve Both Heard It All Before
Finally my most favorite story, I call “’m not a stupid as you might think I
am” and “Common misconception co-workers do work closely together.”  Several
times we’ve had ink cartridge vendors call and play one employee off of the
other. They call indicating that someone else in the office placed an ink
order and did not receive it.  Could they please verify the copy machine
make and model so they can re-ship them? This catches the person off guard
and the question is answered.  The next day the company’s “shipping”
department calls and asks to speak to that person to confirm the order.
Confusion sets in and in most cases they expect the person to simply tell
them to ship the order.  At EVOK we all work together and we are smarter
than one might think.  The caller was placed on hold and the order was
verified with me (the office manager).  We explain to the caller that we
order our supplies directly from our leasing company.  A quick “apology” is
made and the vendor hangs up!

It’s essential to recognize and respect the gatekeeper, or else, it could hit you…you know where.