I vividly remember the butterflies in my stomach as I handed over the cash. It was a lot of money to pay for a book – £40, when a paperback cost less than £1.
Would it be worth it? Would I regret it? What were the other people in the shop thinking of me as the assistant handed it to me, here in this ‘insider’ shop, catering to the trade?
They were oblivious of course, but for me, buying this book was my initiation into the world of fashion designers and insiders, the people who go deeper than the weekly magazines or even Vogue. Handing over what my friends and colleagues saw as an obscene amount of money for a book was an essential part of that experience.
If, like many small businesses, you see payment as an add-on, a bit of admin you’d rather put off, you’re depriving your client of the chance to relive the reasons they agreed to buy from you, diminishing their experience and in the process, subtly de-valuing what you’ve given them.
If paying is part of the experience, then taking payment is part of the service and that means it should be an integral part of your process.