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Make Debt Collection Part of the Sales Process


By Tony Dalton


In preparing the second edition of my book "Cash Management" I visited several successful companies.  One thing stood out very clearly and that was that those companies who had no debt problems were those companies that included DEBT CHASING AS PART OF THE SALES OPERATION.

We visited one major organization that has over 900,000 live accounts and a total sales ledger of �30M but only have �30,000 in their overdue column!

They use their sales force to become part of the debt collection process. Around seven days after sending out the goods the sales person who got the order rings the customer and asks if he had the goods, was happy with them and then, and only then, asks if they have got the invoice.  If they said �yes�, the sales person would ask if it was in for payment, and if they said �no� the sales person has time to get a copy to them and still get paid in time.

I do not understand why this is not normal practice.  As a salesman, I always contact my customer a few days after they have had had their delivery.  I do it because I am a salesman, and I want a satisfied customer, because a satisfied customer will give me more business and good referrals.

Therefore if your sales people are contacting their customers regularly, why can they not also ask that most obvious question of �Did you get the invoice�?

Tony Dalton is a Midlands businessman in the United Kingdom.  He has led several businesses since the 1970�s. He was Leader of Warwick District Council from 1991 through 1995.  Over the years he has learnt leadership, the ability to think strategically, in the understanding of complex issues along with the values of accountability, probity and openness.  Today he operates a marketing company and an educational publishing business.  He is an advocate of creating positive cash flow and is the author of �Cash Management� and Tony lectures on cash management to leaders of small and medium sized businesses. Among his major achievements - Creating the first screen based typewriter; Doubling the reserves of Warwick District Council while at the same time reducing staff by 40% and lowering taxes each year during his tenure; and, in leading the development of a new teaching aid for K-2 children, which has already benefited over 1,000,000 children in more than 40 countries.

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