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Rolling. Rolling. Rolling. Keep those cameras rolling. Jonathan, come over here and slate, won’t you? Behave.
Hey there, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching Marie TV, the place to be to create a business in life you love and this whole shindig is Q and A Tuesday. That’s right. You know what we do? We answer questions, Qs and As.
And today’s question comes from a lovely lady called Wendy and Wendy writes, how do you handle clients who use your services, but then refuse to pay. For example, I have a cat behavior consulting business. I provide a written quote, get approval from the person to go ahead, then schedule my call, provide the service and send an invoice, which the client simply ignores. Then they go on to ignore several second notice and follow up invoices. These clients simply stop responding to emails, don’t return phone calls and ignore snail mail.
This happens to me a lot, and I don’t have any idea what to try, short of insisting on receiving payment before rendering service, which I think looks rude and demanding. Are these clients of mine also blowing off their plumbers bills and trash pickup fees? Why don’t I rate being paid? Any insights you could offer would be most appreciated.
Whew, Wendy, my girl, not to be catty, but it sounds like you’re having yourself a little kitty litter pity party. But seriously, I understand your frustration and not being paid for your services is pretty crappy. Okay. No more cat jokes, but we are going to help you handle this, right meow. Now I’m done.
Here’s the deal woman, I am so happy that you asked this question because so many of us don’t feel confident enough to ask for payment upfront and we struggle with deadbeat clients. First, Wendy, I want to remind you of the abundant market that you’re working in. I did a little research and according to the APPA, which is the American Pet Products Association, in 2012 we spent approximately $52 billion on our pets. And there are nearly 39 million households in the US that have cats.
Translation. There are a lot of cat owners who are your potential market and they spend money. So the problem here isn’t your market or your customers. It’s your approach to business. I know from your words that you are passionate about what you do. And I bet you’re probably a consummate professional, but here’s the thing Wendy, in business perception is everything and I took a look at your website and the problem here is you’re not coming across as the professional that you probably are.
And if you’re not perceived as someone who treats her business seriously, then people won’t take your business seriously. And it allows them to feel, however wrongly, that they don’t need to pay you. The good news here is you are not the victim and you change this as Dr. Phil so wisely said, and yes, it’s a tweetable. “We teach people how to treat us.” And you can teach your clients how to respect you. Just like you can teach cats and their owners, how to respect each other.
So here’s what you need to do. Step number one, you’ve got to get over the idea that requesting payment upfront is rude and demanding because it’s not. Think about anytime you go to the store and you buy something, you pay for it on the spot. Think about contractors, designers, and countless other service professionals who require you to pay first before the service begins.
Step number two, create a policy and a script to go with it. Wendy, I know you love cats, but don’t be a pussy about your policies. From this point forward, your new policy is that you require payment upon booking. So, if someone asks you about consulting, send them an email, tell them about your rates, your availability, and say this, “To purchase a consulting session, click the link below. Once you’ve completed your purchase, we’ll schedule your session right away.”
If you usually deal with clients on the phone and not email, you can say something like, “Great, I’m so excited to work with you and Fluffy. Here’s what happens next. I’ll send you an email with a link to purchase your session and as soon as I receive your payment, I’ll confirm your time and we’ll get started.”
And if you haven’t seen our Marie TV episode about dealing with late or no-show clients, you can watch it right here. That is my A to your Q Wendy. Now no more pussy footing around your business. It is time to get paid, girl.
Now I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever had trouble getting paid from your clients? Have any deadbeat clients? How did you deal with it? If you’ve got stories, tips, or suggestions I want to hear from you as always the best stuff happens after the episode over at marieforleo.com. So go there and leave a comment now.
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Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams. The world needs that special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll catch you next time on Marie TV.
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Struggled….Meow, how are we doing y’all? A girl doesn’t forget a piece like this. I wish Jack and Jams just like, Jess, you want to put on this dress.