Apply the same writing principles to invoices, and see payoff in payments, not presents.
As a kid, you didn’t beat around the bush when Christmas came around. The letters you wrote to Santa clearly spelled out what you wanted the Big Red Guy to bring you on December 25.
The same strategies apply when it comes to getting customers to pay their invoices on time. Like Santa, your customers are busy people. Their stack of letters might not be as tall as those on Santa’s desk, but they probably don’t have tons of time to spend studying your bill.
As you write and design invoices, channel your inner child at Christmas. Express yourself clearly, provide some options and incentives and express gratitude. It will pay off, not in presents, but in payments.
Santa has a deadline, and so do you. Give your customers a specific date for payment due. Make this information stand out with a bright color, a different typeface and prominent placement. Avoid vague instructions like “Payment due within 10 days of receipt.” What if your customer is on out of town when the bill arrives? What if they fail to open it for a few days?
The smart kids made sure their wish list gave Santa a lot of options. Smart companies do the same for their customers. Give your customers multiple ways to pay, list them all and explain them briefly on your bills.
Santa’s rules are simple. Be nice, and you’ll find gifts waiting on Christmas morning. Be naughty, and, you won’t get what you asked for. Do the same with your invoices. Offer incentives, such as percentage discounts on early payments, and disincentives such as late fees for payments that arrive after your deadline.
The two most important words on your invoices aren’t “pay now.” They are “thank you.” Multiple studies have shown that expressing thanks in a genuine way demonstrates an interpersonal warmth that helps business relationships grow. Studies have also shown that saying thank you in a vibrant way on an invoice improves rate of payment, so make your thank you big, bold and enthusiastic!
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