Collector’s Hats

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”  ~Tom Robbins


For many collectors, success is defined simply as discovering a conflict and resolving their costumer’s issues.  Yet in today’s complex and volatile markets, overcoming objections is ultimately not enough.  In order to get the most amount of people to pay you, and pay you quickly, a collector must wear many hats, remaining professional, yet firm, while being a financial advisor, a negotiator, and sometimes an ally.

In short, a successful collector must be able to juggle many roles and address the needs of any situation.  He must be flexible.

Yes, the bottom line will always be to get PAID, but customer retention is vitally important too.  Your current goal may be to simply collect an outstanding debt. I challenge you to aim higher, perhaps to sell more to this customer, after the account is paid in full.

In order to improve your collection call success rates, collecting the money owed to you while preserving business relationships, follow the following tips:


In addition to being mentally prepared for a collection, a good collector will have the paperwork in front of them and know the account history of the client they are contacting, as well as a good understanding of what can be negotiated during the call.

Gathering intelligence is crucial in seeing a picture of the other side so you can assess their needs, motivations, and goals with respect to your own.  The more you know and learn about your counterparts and what they need or want, the better you are able to develop proposals and evaluate theirs.


Beyond being professional and courteous, a collector needs to possess the ability of putting their customer at ease while creating interest as succinctly as possible.

A collector’s objective from the very beginning of a collection call is to put their listener in a positive state of mind that not only keeps the customer on the phone, but sets the tone for the rest of the interaction.


Defining personalities in collections is important because it helps people communicate on common ground.   Once you identify your customer’s personality style, you are able to cater your approach in a way they have the highest probability of being receptive to.

Doing so will not only give you an edge in negotiations, but win/win outcomes are more likely achieved.


Ideally, your expectations have been relayed to your customers from day one of the business relationship.  If not, start now by establishing reasonable expectations throughout the collection call, but remember – your customers are far more likely to respond positively to a slow and calm approach than a frantic phone call three months after the due date has lapsed.

Setting the tone goes beyond asking for payment in full.  It’s defining how your relationship will operate, including the time frame they will pay by and the method they will pay, etc.

Remember, you will not see the effect of any long-term improvement in your organization without a consistently applied process.


Effective communication is essential at building trust and rapport.  In order to understand what’s important to your customer, it’s essential to them.

When your customer tells you they can’t pay you, listen carefully for their reasons WHY.  They will usually tell you how to collect from them.

Their reasons arm you with the valuable ammunition of insight, providing real solutions to overcome them which can be turned into an immediate desire to pay.


Identify your wants, needs and interests, as well as the other parties.

It’s important to remember, positions are what you want; interests are how you get them. When you move from the “what” to the “why”, you move from a potentially negative discussion of demands to a positive discussion of common needs.


The aim of win-win negotiation is to find a solution that is acceptable to both parties, and leaves both parties feeling that they’ve won. A good outcome from negotiations satisfies your interests well and theirs acceptably and no one feels taken.


Just like in sales, the time to close the negotiations is when both parties believe that the other side has made all of the concessions that they are going to make. Just be sure to confirm that all the key provisions have been covered, including the consequences of not following through, so there will be no surprises.

A negotiator can be “soft on everything”, focusing on maintaining a relationship while making offers and conceding generously. Conversely, a negotiator can go “hard on everything”, insisting on their position, making threats and conceding stubbornly.

It’s easy to imagine scenarios where each of these directions might make sense. Yet, a policy of always being soft is dangerous, while a policy of always being hard runs the risk of not making any agreements and creating bad relationships.

The ability to wear a myriad of hats while focusing on all aspects of a collection call allows for less rigid thinking.  It offers you the ability to be soft or hard depending on the situation which will undoubtedly increase your collection rates.

Please visit Dynamic Legal Recovery’s website or call us at 877-777-7564 for your complimentary evaluation.

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