Business Solutions - The Art of Asking for a Deposit
The long-held practice of requiring a deposit has often been met with hesitation, suspicion, and sometimes an off-putting reaction from clients. It seems that many micro-manufacturers, work-at-home moms (and dads too!), female entrepreneurs, and young businesses face the brunt of this negative, and sometimes hurtful, feedback.
We strive to be kind, thoughtful & hard-working entrepreneurs that will go the extra mile for our clients, but at the end of the day, we are not here to lose money, waste our time or have a shelf full of non-resalable items that were never paid for or picked up.
The art of asking for a deposit does not come easy to everyone. Asking the right way may just save you awkwardness & push-back from your clients, as well as potentially losing that client.
A popular approach that is relatively straightforward is to have your policies written out clearly and concisely online for your client to view, or in a document to be emailed. Professional-looking, and sounding, policies go a long way in developing trust as your clients will expect that same level of professionalism in your product. Have your policies explain, briefly, why the deposit is required and maybe even the purpose of the deposit if applicable.
Included in your policies should be your refund policy and what happens to a deposit if the order is canceled, either by you or by the buyer, and if at any point, it becomes non-refundable. Think through possible scenarios and ask yourself if your policies cover both you, and your client, should any of them occur. Along with being polite, it is equally important to be assertive here.
One thing seen repeatedly is over-explaining or being defensive when asking for a deposit and being questioned on it. Asking for a deposit is part of the business, a required step needed to establish trust between the buyer and seller. It is also a fair practice, especially when dealing with custom-made or personalized products. Answering questions is valuable & positive, but becoming defensive, or giving long answers about which supplies you will use, how much of your time it will take, steps taken, etc tends to be perceived as unprofessional and develops a lack of confidence in the buyer. Keep it simple, clear, and professional, it goes a long way.
Requiring a deposit is a long-standing and basic business practice. Don’t let it deter you, or your client, from having a positive buying and selling experience. Guiding them through the steps of the deposit will ensure that everyone has a full understanding of expectations, and it maintains your great business reputation.
Being successful is what we are all here for, and helping each other along the way is part of what makes it worthwhile.