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Posted: 2005-01-14 / Author: Jim Finucan

Collecting Past Due Accounts

"How about you? Didn't you ever fall behind on a bill and couldn't pay on time?"

When a debtor says something like this – be careful! The debtor is trying to pull you off your professional pedestal and personally involve you in the call. If things head in this direction you'll lose control of the call. Who knows where it might lead? Probably not to the goal you want.

"That has nothing to do with your bill." Such a response is a way to stop an attempt to involve you personally. Quickly move on to obtaining information or dunning for the balance if the call has reached that stage. Sometimes when you question the debtor he may try to turn the tables on you.

"How much do you make a month"? "That's irrelevant."
"If it's irrelevant then so is how much I make."
"Not true, Mr. Jones. You have a debt here and that makes your income a concern to this office,"

Not allowing the debtor to draw you into a verbal duel keeps the call on a professional level. You need to keep your wits – as well as a touch of sensitivity – in order to know when to make the move over to the debtor's side and gain his cooperation.

If you don't think some debtors are extremely intelligent you underestimate your opposition. Just as you get better with each call you place, so do debtors who repeatedly find themselves in collections. An experienced debtor may try to draw you into the call on his level and then take control.

"It's just so hard with three kids to feed. Do you have kids?"
Don't answer a question like that. Another favorite line is: "How can you do that job?"
Ignore this, too. Reply with a question related to the bill or go into the dun.

Remember, the debtor is attempting to take control of the call, trying to hide behind insincere sentimentality. These tricks have worked for him in the past. They shouldn't have any effect on you.

-------------------------------
Jim Finucan knows all about the dances, dodges and delays debtors will try to pull. Check out his unique collections manual "Past Due." For more information visit: http://www.tiare.com/pastdue.htm


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