It’s truly uncomfortable having to discuss financial issues with someone that you barely know. But it’s actually completely painless if you know what to say.
Initially, it’s normal to feel worried that you’re going to call up and get an earful of abuse from the the voice over client you’re calling. Voice over productions do business with each other every day, invoices go overdue all the time and, most of the time, people are really nice and completely happy to help.
The key to do the chasing right is the appropriate communication. Communication is a very complex mix of body language, tone and the words we use.
Start with the right tone. The tone you use will determine the success of the call, so if you start in an aggressive manner it’s not going to end well. Be assertive, confident and professional and smile when you speak. Your client will hear the smile in your voice.
When we communicate with others we tend to use language and behavior that we are most comfortable with. But not everyone will respond to those words and behavior as we would.
We have crafted some standard email templates tailored to informing your voice over clients about their late payment.
Sample Email Contents
Who wants to send emails for overdue payments? It’s never nice to have to chase up your fee, but unfortunately, it’s often necessary as emails are deleted, clients get distracted, and accounts departments go on holiday. Here’s a simple reminder template to ensure your payment arrives when it should:
Hi Non-paying Voice Over Agency,
I hope all’s well since the last time we spoke.
Just wanted to touch base with you regarding the invoice for [invoice amount] which I have yet to receive. It would greatly be appreciated if you can confirm that everything’s on track for payment.
I’ve included an attachment/link to the invoice for your review.
Please get back to me at your earliest convenience. Have a great one!
Starving Voice Actor
And, sometimes, you get a true non-paying voice over client. The kind who will try to get out of paying the bill by any means necessary. For them, a different approach is needed.
Dear Non-Paying Voice Over Client,
On 20 September I sent you an invoice for services rendered. The invoice number was INV-01234 and the total amount was $1050.00.
I am still yet to receive payment for this project, nor a reply to my previous email. According to my payment terms, a late payment penalty now applies, making the new total: $1250.00
Please send payment immediately, or contact me if you are having difficulties and we will happily work on a solution together. I’ll contact you to follow up if we haven’t received payment by the end of the month.
One Broke-and-Living-in-the-Gutter Voice Actor
Sample Phone Call Scripts
And if the email goes to their spam, that’s when you knew you have to chase the unpaid invoice via a phone call.
Here’s a general, straight to the point script:
“Hi there, my name is Famished Voice Talent and I’m calling on behalf of company you owe money to, I’m chasing invoice number 01234 which was due on the 15th of September and I wondered if you could give me an update on the payment status please”
Situations vary, here are 5 other phone scripts customized for the 5 common excuses you’ll hear from your clients:
Excuse 1: They forgot to pay
Client: My apologies, I got busy and forgot to pay.
You: Thank you, I understand that can happen. Now I have you on the phone are you in a position to make a payment now?
Client: I’m a little tied up right now, I’ll do it today or tomorrow at the latest.
You: Not a problem, I’ve made a note in my system to reflect the promised payment and we’ll look forward to receiving it. Have a great day.
Excuse 2: The invoice is incorrect
Client: I’ve not yet paid as the invoice is incorrect.
You: I’m very sorry to hear that, could you please explain what the problem is?
Client: (Explains issue)
—- If the voice over client is correct —-
You: Apologies and thanks for explaining, I’ll have that looked into right away. I’ll issue an updated invoice as soon as this has been resolved. I’ll be back in touch shortly.
—- If the voice over client has misunderstood —-
You: Thank you for explaining, however there seems to have been a misunderstanding. (Explain the misunderstanding). We’ll endeavour to make this more clear in future, however for now this invoice remains due. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help facilitate payment.
Excuse 3: They didn’t receive your invoice
Client: This is the first time I’ve received this invoice.
You: Apologies if that is the case. Could you please confirm that your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org?
Client: Yes, that is correct.
You: Great, thanks for clarifying. We have sent emails regarding the payment of this invoice to that address, and they are all sent with an invoice copy attached. So please do check your spam in case they’ve gone in there by mistake. With regards to this invoice, are you able to settle it now over the phone?
Client: No, sorry, I don’t have access to my card. I’ll put it on this Friday’s run by BACS.
You: Brilliant, I’ll make a note in our system to expect payment by Tuesday when the BACS payment clears. Thanks for your time.
Excuse 4: The invoice hasn’t been approved
Client: Unfortunately the invoice has not yet been approved by my director.
You: Sorry to hear that, I know these things are sometimes out of your control. Has there been a query with the invoice for it to be left unapproved?
Client: Not to my knowledge, no.
You: In that case, is it possible to request that this is approved today? The invoice is now overdue. If your director has any queries at all, feel free to contact me by phone or email.
Client: She’s not in the office right now but I’ll do my best to reach her.
You: Thanks, I appreciate that. I’ll check in with you soon. All the best.
Excuse 5: They’re out of the office
Client: I’m not in the office right now so I can’t make payment.
You: Not a problem, I understand you must be busy. We can accept card payment over the phone if that would make things easier?
Client: No, sorry, I’m driving. I should be in tomorrow. I’ll pay it then.
You: Thanks for that, we really appreciate it. I’ll make a note to expect payment then. Have a nice day.
Once the call ends, always make note of the date, time, who you spoke with, and what was said or agreed.