In times gone by, I used to talk about 3 Sacred Things in Business. And, out of the 3 things, #2 was: "Customers Pay Me".
Customers Pay Me
A deal is a deal. That’s the starting point. We are only as good as our word.
There’s nothing wrong with a hard-negotiated deal, as long as you don’t make it the ‘norm’. When that becomes the 'norm' - well, that’s no fun and that's not fair.
Regardless, once a deal is done – a deal is a deal.
The most insulting thing my customer can do to me is not pay me. When the customer fails to pay me, the customer is telling me what they think my work is worth - nothing. That not only violates a deal is a deal it also is just plain wrong. My work is worth much more than nothing. And, I will not sit back and allow anyone to argue, through actions, the contrary. It is offensive. Of course, having thick skin I will not take real offense…however, I will take immediate action to make sure it does not happen or, if that fails, it only happens once. Or, better still, and this has been the reality more than 99% of the time – I will take action to make sure the attempt to avoid paying me fails.
To clarify my thoughts...and recognizing they are laced with my biases and my experience-filters:
- I do not think the above words are the screams of a sensitive big ego. This is not a what's-mine-is-mine issue. It is about personal Values and Integrity. It's about doing the right thing. And, it's about doing my part to promote better business practices.
- I will not jump to conclusions or act haphazardly, ignoring questions like, "Why would a normal, reasonable person fail to pay me?" [I used to do that in my younger years and I have learned that's not fair to anyone, including myself.]
As a Business Leader...
Do you instruct your people how to deal with payments?
Does your organization treat suppliers with the same level of consideration expected from clients?
PS: When Sales reps allow customers to renege on deals or fail to pay, I see weakness where there should be strength, conviction, and a high level of self-worth. If weakness exists then I try to illustrate a better way.
PPS: Similarly, I think 'stretching accounts payable' is a dysfunctional and entirely inappropriate way of dealing with suppliers.