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May 01 2016
Here's Your Sign . . .
Shane Norman, CCE, Wheeler Machinery

Years ago, I was in Vegas for work and one of the evenings I attended an event where Bill Engvall performed. One of the lines he is famous for is "Here's your sign!" Recently, I noticed some "signs" but failed to heed the warnings and the situation came back to bite me. 

Here are some signs of a customer who may be going down in flames:

  • A significant change in payment patterns/timing
  • Difficult to reach or contact anyone in A/P department or anyone for that matter
  • Empty promises
  • Significant changes in management
  • Employees leaving the company
  • Credit reporting agency notices
  • Lack of funding and other capital resources or increased costs of resources
  • Bond rating downgrades
  • Financial statement continued quarterly deterioration
  • Desperate and/or demanding extended repayment terms


Don't lull yourself into safe thinking - address your concerns with the customer directly as soon as you notice them to get ahead of the game. Of course they may not shoot straight or may be legally obligated to keep their mouth shut - in which case, you should experience another "here's your sign" moment. Don't be caught driving into the ditch because you didn't heed the "signs!"