Why is it that professional collectors often are able to obtain recovery from the debtor when others have failed?
Like professional athletes, the top collectors practice fundamental skills and rely on techniques that have passed the test of time. Caine & Weiner reveals these “secrets” to you.
Because today’s market is global and screening and security measures deployed by most businesses render on-site debtor visits impractical and expensive, the telephone is the collector’s most effective tool. The professional collector makes maximum use of it by emphasizing the following:
|Diction||Speak clearly and enunciate|
|Attitude||Assume the response wanted|
|Alertness||Listen carefully to what the debtor is saying|
|Versatility||Quickly consider an alternative solution|
I. Plan your objective before making the call:
Make sure you have the necessary information to effectively speak with the debtor.
Know the debtor, their correct business entity and name of the principal
Know the amount and age of the debt.
Review previous notes to know why the debt isn’t being paid. Tailor your demand accordingly.
Know if previous collection attempts were made and previous promises were kept.
II. The Collection Call:
Identify the debtor. Ask for the President or owner. If they’re unavailable, speak with the person in charge of accounts payable.
Identify yourself and tell them why you are calling.
Request payment in full today. Always demand payment in full on the first call. Refuse to accept payment arrangements. Be courteous, specific and firm.
Strategic pause. Nature abhors a vacuum! The well-timed silence of the strategic pause shifts the burden of responsibility upon the debtor. Master sales professionals also use this technique to close sales. As they say, the last one who talks… wins!
Determine the problem. Is it a cash flow problem or a service problem? Generally speaking, bills aren’t paid for two reasons: The debtor can’t pay due to financial problems or they won’t pay because of a dispute.
Find the solution. After the debtor has explained the reason for non-payment, it’s up to you to find areas of agreement. This requires controlling the conversation by asking questions.
If the delinquency is due to financial problems, have the debtor propose a solution. Don’t rush into suggesting options at this point. If payment is withheld due to a dispute, ask them for an immediate payment for the undisputed portion. Have them outline in writing why they’re withholding payment for the disputed portion.
Finalize the agreement. Be precise and specific. Ask the debtor to repeat the agreement back. This confirms their understanding of the amount agreed upon, your address and date to be mailed.
Update your records. Record all pertinent information–payment promises and person spoke to. If necessary, send written confirmation.
III. Power Tips:
Be prepared. Don’t give the debtor the upper hand.
Make sure promises made by the debtor are precise.
Use motivating appeals.