If the usual reasoning and pleading produce no payments on long-overdue accounts, Ann Roe-Hafer, a Boston consultant, offers this collection strategy. Tell the person in charge of making the payment that you are going to have to borrow some money against the company's debt and that you are going to the president of the company's bank to do it. Explain that you believe their bank would have greater confidence in the company than your own bank would and, therefore, would be more likely to make a loan on the receivables. Indicate that you are making an appointment with the bank's president to discuss the matter.

"In my experience," says Roe-Hafer, "the company can't pay you fast enough. Furthermore, it costs nothing and produces respect."

When Roe-Hafer used this reasoning with one chief executive officer whose company's account was long past due, the man declared: "Elegant." Then he picked up the phone and dialed his accounting department. "We seem to owe Roe-Hafer a good bit of money," he said. "Pay the lady. Now."