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How to improve cash flow with smart sales and better customers

18 February 2016

Failure to effectively collect on your invoices can crush cash flow and lead to the demise of your business. Dun & Bradstreet Trade Payments Analysis shows the average invoice payment period is currently 50.4 days, whilst 41% of companies that went insolvent in 2013 had money owed to them by their customers.

In the first part of the "Show Me The Money" series, we looked at some resources you can use to qualify leads quickly and easily to ensure you don't deal with customers that potentially won't pay you for your hard earned work.

This chapter, we look at a market leading sales methodology for how to improve cash flow that will not only ensure you convert customers but increase your chances of negotiating fair and just terms.

You have qualified the customer and now your focus is on the customer buying experience to maximise the probability of conversion and customer loyalty. 53% of customer loyalty is attributed by the customer buying experience. Having a loyal customer dramatically decreases the probability of delayed or non payment.

So how do you provide an amazing buying experience?

One methodology that has been lauded by many successful businesses is a concept pioneered by CEB Global called the Challenger Sale. In summary this sales process embodies the art of:

  • Teaching your customer something they don’t know will immediately create differentiation. 'Respectfully' challenge their knowledge to stimulate interest by educating them on something unique within their own role, business or industry.
  • Tailoring for resonance to trigger the customer's economic and value drivers. Deliver the right message to the right person in order to effectively influence the right decision for buying and most importantly paying!
  • Taking control of the sale. Maintaining constructive tension with the customer, you need to assert and maintain control over the sale. A successful challenger salesman here will not be discussing price but will be discussing value whilst pressuring the decision-making cycle to avoid decision-making inertia.

Do you have Challenger salesmen in your team? Effectively teaching, tailoring and taking control, they build loyal customers who become brand advocates and good payers! 

The relationship you have with your customer is invaluable. Instilling this methodology is just one measure that you can use to ensure timely invoice payment and sustainable cash flow. For more tips and tricks on cash flow management click here.

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Alistair Lamond

Written by Alistair Lamond

Active entrepreneur passionate about fintech and SME innovation. Loves all things outdoors - surfing, rugby, cycling, skiing & bocce. Director at Skippr - A Cash Flow Company. Co-Founder of @alemfoundation.

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