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10 Tips To Successfully Collect A Debt

Jan 8, 2008
10 Tips to help you collect debt:

PREPARE: Go over the paperwork on the debtor before making a call. Knowing the history of the account is key. Have all the records in front of you, ready for reference if needed.

ATTITUDE: Adopt a straight, professional business-like attitude. You have a contract, you delivered the goods, money is owed, and you have a right to expect payment. Never let it become personal. Don't yell or raise your voice; and NEVER swear. Don't threaten; legal action is your recourse.

CONTACT: It is important that you are talking to the decision maker. Do not let any individuals brush you off with "You'll have to talk to the bookkeeper." Identify the person who can cut you a check. If you can not get through after several calls, let the secretary know that you know your calls are being screened. Tell her the purpose of your call and if necessary give a deadline.

CONTROL: Control the conversation. Keep it focused on the debt and on the repayment schedule. Don't let the customer sidetrack you with personal history, excuses, etc. Remember, the object of your call is to collect money, or get a commitment, not to become buddies with the customer or win arguments.

FLEXIBLE: Always be prepared to adapt to any situation. Try to think about the kind of customer you are dealing with and work to overcome the obstacle. Be prepared to accept a reasonable payment plan or settlement, and a willingness to deal with a customers circumstances.

NOTES: Try to Keep detailed, accurate notes of every single contact with the debtor. Always probe for additional information on the debtor. Notes of these contacts will help you in later phone calls, and may be invaluable if litigation is needed. Great notes will also help in credit decisions in the future or in cases where skip tracing may be needed.

PRODUCTIVE: All call should be brief and to the point. This is a business call, not a social hour. View your efforts on a ratio of time expended to results achieved. A long conversation typically means the customer is stalling you, or trapping you in the buddy syndrome.

PRECISE: Never leave a contact open ended, such as "Well talk next week," or "Ill send what I can." Every contact should result in a commitment to payment, of a specific amount, by a specific date, even the check number the customer is using to pay the pledge.

TIME: The longer an account is outstanding, the less likely it is that it will be paid. If payment is not arranged or a payment plan is not established within 90 days, place the claim with a collection agency or start legal proceedings.

PLACEMENT: The best collection agencies do not need to pay money to get your information. Just type in "Collection Agency" to any search engine and pick a firm that ranks organically.
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