Credit Survival Skills in a Tough Economy
Lately, we have been receiving some wonderful accolades from our vendors' credit managers for responsibly dealing with our account. We had overspent on our remodeling, and our cash was tight. And since we also expanded our showroom, we created some considerable vendor debt that needed to be paid down.
We are thankful that most has been paid, or is in the final throes, and we are still chugging along, thanks to our scalable business model. As a result, I created a brief survival guide for dealing with credit managers in a difficult economy. As we have great credit relationships, I wanted to share it with others in the hopes that it might help them.
• Communication – even hyper-communication. You cannot over-communicate with a credit manager during this difficult time.
• Assurance – Can your company ultimately pay down your debt? They want to know that your business is viable and that you will be around (at least long enough to pay off your outstanding debt).
• Honesty and Integrity – When times were better, did you have a reputation for being a person of your word? It's times like these that it sure helps if are.
• Accuracy – Don't over-promise a payoff beyond your ability to pay it.
• Payment Schedule – Give them a realistic payment schedule—or at the very least, a date by which the account will be paid.
• Commitment – If you present a schedule, do your best to stick to it. An ever-changing schedule has less and less value with each change.
• Advance Warning – If something unforeseen arises and you must modify your plans, let them know as soon as possible with plenty of advance warning. Do not call on the day the payment is due.
• Responsibility – Let them know that in the past you have been responsible by paying your installments on time, before the economy fell apart (assuming you have), and that this trend is an aberration.