The best ways to craft great clients, is to do your due diligence at the outset.
In the service industry it’s natural to want to take every piece of business, with the focus on the service you will provide. What’s less often, is the consideration of how the new client will perform for YOU! How easy will they be to manage and how quickly will they pay?
It’s time to stop treating your sales process as a one-way street. Instead, give some focus to crafting great clients by ticking your own boxes. Create a checklist, to include:
Can they pay? Companies like Experian offer credit search facilities for businesses. For a small cost you’ll be able to find out information such as credit score, Director information (as listed at Companies House), credit limit and rating, and adverse information.
Do you know any other businesses that already work with your prospect? If so, ask what they’re like to work with. This will give you valuable insight on their viability as a client, as well as tips on how best to manage them.
The payment process
As a supplier, you’ll likely have your own payment terms but often, bigger businesses will also have their own payment terms. Find these out at the start to see how they match up. If you discover a particular process to follow then you can use this to your advantage, ensuring you get invoices in to hit payment dates and avoiding nasty surprises later on.
Their expectations of you
While you may be confident in your ability to deliver a great service, check your prospect’s expectations. Be honest about whether you can meet their timescales and any other stipulations made.
Once all steps are complete and your decision made, there are some more ways to manage your client’s performance:
Terms and conditions
If you don’t have terms and conditions, it’s very hard to expect clients to know what you want and even harder to get them to adhere to it! Set out the both parts of the bargain into what you will do and what you need them to do. For example your service level agreement and your payment terms. Issue this at the start and point out key areas to the client.
You’ll often find the client contact you have may not be the person paying your bills. Clarify who this is at the start to avoid delays in payment.
Provide your details
Once you have the accounts contact, it’s a great idea to send them all your details at the outset so that they can set you up on their systems as a supplier. This should also minimise delays in payment.
As part of your account management process, be sure to bring up any issues before they become big problems. By following all of these steps your troublesome clients should be a thing of the past! As always though, for help in implementing any of these tips just get in touch for a free business review.