“You will never find time for anything. If you want the time, you must make it.” – Charles Buxton

Many businesses are suffering from accumulated “past due” receivables.

And it’s a problem which shouldn’t *just* be addressed by “normal means” (calling, pestering, etc.).

However, you can actually change the way the game normally works. How? Well, I suggest that you use tactics similar to those which WON you the sale in the first place: discounts, premiums for advance or prompt payments, and good old multi-step follow-up.

If you do have (or ever develop) a receivables problem, you’ll need to take this same sort of aggressive action to clean it up. “Preserving the relationship” with a client who can’t (or won’t–more likely) pay his bills is of little value. And, left alone, collection problems tend to get worse, not better.

Even large, long-established corporations can find themselves in trouble with their payables. In that situation, you as a creditor could wait years for your money and then recover only a percentage of it. So it’s important that you set into place a *system* for getting this done.

Because one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned over my years in business is that trends rarely reverse themselves. Trends don’t just change; people change trends. Waiting, procrastinating, delaying action on a negative situation simply means it won’t change — at least, not likely for the better.

When you get that very first glimmer of something “not right” in your business, that’s the time to look closer and to take corrective action. Too many people spot the tip of a problem and choose to ignore it, feeling they’ve got enough to handle already, so why go looking for trouble?

It’s a funny thing how closely-related failure and success are, and how failure is usually the womb of a subsequent success. And, how most business problems have marketing-related solutions. To be very simplistic, effective salesmanship solves most problems–including collections.

You need a bias for sales in every area of your business — even collections.

So, turn your marketing mind onto it. What incentives can you provide to delinquent customers? How can you “cut through the clutter” so that YOU get paid (while other vendors wait … and wait)? Good headlines, conversational appeals, and multi-step follow-ups is a good place to start. And “starting” on this issue is the biggest step.

Your bottom line will thank you, if you take the action.