If you or your staff are in conflict with your customers, if a number of the conversations descend into arguments then you know there is a problem that has to be addressed. The collector should be clear, focused and confident, with the ability to stay in control at all times, this can be learned, if the right attitude exists in the first place.
Now to the seven secrets:
1. Using the right words and asking the right questions.
Words are the raw material of communications, you have to use the right words and ask the right questions in order to get the results you desire, if you don’t you will get the results you deserve! There are good words and bad words, some will get instant results others will create conflict. Some are very subtle and others are not.
2. Being clear about your desired outcome
Anyone who has been on a course with me will remember my favourite question “So, what do I want?” This question has power beyond measure. Before you pick up a phone or make a call make sure you ask yourself that question first, then make sure the call is maintained in the direction of where you want to go, and if it strays for a time, use that question to bring it back on track.
3. Staying focused on the task in hand
I know much is spoken and written about the virtues of multitasking, to me unitasking is the key. Doing one thing at a time, focusing 100% on it, completing it and then moving on to the next most important task is the key to success here. When it comes to collections the task in hand is to collect the money – nothing more or less.
4. Listening Skills
It is said that a salesman has never listened himself out of a sale! Same goes for credit control, Take time to become an active listener, listen to the words, the tone, what is said and what isn’t said. When listening with a problem solving hat on you will be amazed what can be achieved.
5. Knowing the Stages of the call
There are three stages to every call – the opening, the fact finding part and the closing where you get a clear commitment from the customer – each stage is vital to manage effectively and as you go you need to learn how to manage the three elements of emotion, logic and power.
6. Ending every call with the commitment
The call doesn't end until you have a date, a time and a payment method confirmed with the customer. You have to agree how much is going to be paid, exactly when it is going to be paid and how it going to be paid. Anything short of this is a waste of time.
7. Follow Up
Follow up, follow up, follow up – exactly when and how you said you were going to do it, your credibility and your results depend on your ability to do this.
Enjoy the process, celebrate your results and know you are doing one of the most important jobs in the business.
Finally, this one isn't a secret at all; to be successful you need persistence, never take no as a final answer. Remember the line from Og Mandino’s book called “The Greatest Salesman in the World” – he was asked how he knew he would succeed and his answer was simple: “I will persist until I succeed.”