How to Ask for Payment over the Phone – Unpaid Invoices [3 Sample Scripts]

How to ask for payment over the phone

Most times, clients don’t want to respond via email, so they read your messages and don’t respond. Walking down to their office might be the worst option, especially if they are located in an entirely different part of the world. So how do you get your invoice paid? I will show you strategies on how to ask for payment over the phone.

To ask for payment over the phone in large organizations, make sure you call the finance department, explain the reason for the call, and state the invoice number. The finance department handles all billing and payment of invoices, and they will need a couple of hours to investigate your claim and raise a draft for that purpose.

Late payment collection is one of the countless problems many small-medium businesses face that damage their businesses’ survival and cash flow.

No doubt, 70% of invoices are actually paid on time via email exchange, but we’ve seen a staggering 30% that still needs a little bit of push by following up over the phone. So there’s a need to learn how to ask for payment over the phone and keep the business relationship intact. This strategy is the same as trying to convince a customer over the phone. Here’s a detailed post about that.

If you want to keep your business relationship intact with your clients while chasing payments over the phone, I will show you some scripts and strategies to use.

how to ask for payment over the phone

Steps to ask for payment over the phone

Connect to the right department

In every organization, some departments handle specific tasks. In a medium or large organization, the finance department handles billings and invoices.

Speak to the decision-maker.

When you connect to that finance department, request them to connect you to the person in charge of invoice payment.

Introduce Yourself and Get Straight to the Point

Your company and the reason for the call should be straightforward. Any form of rambling might raise a certain form of suspicion, which would require extra investigation and cause further delay.

Have other requirements handy

Before you dial a company requesting payment, here are some requirements you need to sound professional and legit.

  • Invoice reference ID/number
  • Service the invoice represents
  • Date of issue
  • Overdue days
  • Email communication thread
  • Who to speak with – if you aren’t connected to the finance department.

Speak Calmly and Clearly

While speaking to the respondent on the other end of the phone, you should be vocal and clear. The conversation involves money, so speaking softly might seem like “low confidence,” which in turn is interpreted as “uncertain” on your part.

Keep Emotions in Check

When the call isn’t going as expected, you should remain calm and professional. Yelling and raising your voice over the phone is a No-No!

Carefully follow your plan to achieve certain objectives as explained below to help you move forward towards collecting payment. On how to ask for payment over the phone, emotions should be put on check.

Ask for the Next Step Forward

In some cases, you might hit a deadlock on your first call. Either they want to confirm who made the purchase, who authorized it, or who will initiate the payment, always ask for the next step and leave a follow-up date.

You can say something like;

“Alright, Mr. Frazier, I understand you have to speak with the Engineering Manager. So most likely, it should take 1 working day, and I will call back tomorrow same time to find ways to move forward. Fair enough?”

This should help you stay in control of the call and enable you to stay in control.

Sample Scripts on Asking For Payment over the Phone

Script 1

Hello Good morning and this is {your name} calling with {your company’s name}, am I on to the finance department?

Excellent!

Briefly, I am calling concerning the invoice number {insert number}, which was issued to your company after the purchase of {insert good/service}. To confirm, are you aware of this invoice?

Well, {insert point of contact name} purchased {insert good/service} up to the tune of {insert amount}, so I was asked to speak with the Finance Department to finalize payment.

Would this be the right department to handle the payment of the invoice?

Excellent!!

Typically, invoices are meant to be paid 3 days after issue, but your company is currently six days overdue.

When do you think payments would be made?

Excellent!

Thanks so much for your time, and just in case I don’t hear from you, I will call back again {insert time and date} and see the best way to move forward.

You have a wonderful day, bye.

Script 2: They didn’t get your Invoice

Client: Sorry, but we are yet to receive any invoice as claimed.

You: Oh, I see. Maybe it hasn’t been forwarded to you. Could you please confirm the right email for me?

You: Thank you. I will send the invoice to you in a couple of minutes via email again and hope to get a favorable response. Thanks for your time.

Bye.

Script 3: The invoice has not been approved

“Oh, sorry to hear that. I understand that some things are out of our control. But let me ask, is there any reason for the invoice to be left unapproved?

Client: Not to my knowledge, no

You: Is it possible that the invoice is approved today?

Client: I have no idea

You: Perhaps I can speak to your director to understand why the invoice is yet to be approved. Typically there is a 5% increment when invoices aren’t paid within 3 days of issues, and I have been holding out for your organization.

What’s the best number to reach the director?  [Collect either phone number or email}.

Thank you so much for your time; I speak to you again. Bye.”

When do you need to ask for Payment over the Phone?

I think it’s improper to start calling immediately and asking for payment over the phone after you’ve delivered your own end of the deal. You have to wait for situations like those below to arise before calling and ‘asking’ for payment.

No Response to your Emails

It is recommended to send at least three emails with the correct sequences and timing. But if you don’t get a response from the client after sending those emails, or your emails have been READ and IGNORED, you might want to call in and confirm the situation of things.

No Favorable Response

Some example of non-favorable responses might include;

“I am not in charge of payments.”

“The invoice has been submitted to the finance department.”

“Right now I don’t know the reason for the delay.”

“Currently busy.”

“I don’t know when your invoice would be paid.”

Once you get these responses like this, it is advisable to send another, requesting to know the appropriate department that handles billings and payment of invoices.

“I understand, Mr. John, so who should I be speaking to regarding the invoice.”

That line should help you find who to place a call across to and get your payment sorted.

 

Objectives when calling to ask for Payment over the Phone

It would be rare to call a company on the phone and get them to make payments while you are still on the call.

But there are certain objectives that you should meet to consider the call success as you look forward to getting your payments.

Remember you have to remain polite and professional, then deal only with facts to avoid the conversation spiraling into an aggressive encounter.

What objectives should be met to consider the call a success?

Speak with the Decision Maker

Once you can speak to the decision-maker in charge of payments and billings, you are almost good to go. The decision-maker has the capacity to tell you when and how to pay your invoice.

Acknowledge that they’ve received your invoice

Is your invoice in their possession?

Is it being treated?

Have they approved the invoice?

Details of Payment

After acknowledging your invoice, you should probe further by asking if they’ve approved payment.

If they haven’t approved it, when are they looking to approve payment?

What’s their payment method?

When are they looking to settle the payment?

Conclusion

Once you end the call, note the date, time, the person you spoke with, and what was said and agreed. In cases where you need to refer to or reference the conversation again, you can easily do that – even in the future.

Once you receive payment, don’t forget to thank the customer for paying. If they show signs of being late payers, then you can either accept them as they are or demand upfront payment before delivering the service or goods.

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