I just got an email from a colleague who was a little ruffled that she hasn’t gotten paid. From my standpoint, I don’t see a problem. She’s never sent an invoice. In my consulting world, if I didn’t generate an invoice, I never got paid. Here’s how to fix that..
The key wasn’t just sending the invoice, it was reinforcing for the client what the value of that invoice did for them. In other words, tell ‘em on the invoice the nature and value of the work you provided.
Sometimes I attach a status update on a project I’m working on so they can see how the elves spent their time that month. I might even go so far as to tell them how much money our work generated in marginal revenues for the client or reduced costs if I can prove it.
If I want to bless a client and go above and beyond the call of duty, I will NOT be a martyr, but will find a professional way to communicate they received a gift of my time and talent. That’s included on the invoice.
How to say it? Line item your work and put in the $$ column “GIFT” or “No Charge”.
Don’t put “FREE” because no one will value it.
Your clients are not telepathic. They’re also just as busy as you are. If you haven’t gotten paid, don’t assume it’s because they don’t want to pay you. Maybe your invoicing is a little off.
Confess it. You know you don’t send all your invoices out on time. Most of the time you’re so happy you got the job done, you forget about the invoice.
In these times, invoicing is crucial to your cash flow. Take it as seriously as you take the purchase order approval process.
The DAY you finish the job, the invoice should go out before you put your head down on the pillow. That’s good business hygiene.
Then you don’t have to send snarfled emails to clients wondering why you’re out some bucks.
And when you get paid? Send a handwritten thank you note to the person who signed the check. No I’m not kidding. When was the last time they were thanked? Try never.
Build a relationship with the check-signer and you’ll see, you’ll get paid before your larger competitors. That’s competitive advantage in my book.
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