One of the toughest subjects a salesperson must discuss with a prospect is payment terms. It's so tough, in fact, that many salespeople just skip it altogether, hoping they won't lose their commission if the customer turns out to be a deadbeat. To make sure your reps aren't disappointed, don't sign on new customers until they've agreed to your payment terms.

Patty DeDominic, CEO and president of PDQ Personnel Services, a $19 million placement firm in Los Angeles, credits that policy with saving her from having to call in a collection agency. "We spell out our terms and ask new customers in advance whether those terms fit their internal policies. When there's a conflict, we try to work out an acceptable compromise. Then we follow up with a written document reiterating our terms."