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Believe it or not the success or failure of your attempt to collect a
debt is usually decided right at the beginning of your phone call -
with the very first thing you say after the other party says hello.
Knowing exactly what you’re going to say, and handling the call
in an organized, professional manner is the foundation upon
which collections are made or lost. There are four parts to a
professionally executed collections call:

Part One: The Open How you identify yourself, your company and
the problem. And how you place that problem before the debtor.
Don’t ask him when he’s going to get around to paying you or why
he’s putting you off. Otherwise you’ve made your move too soon
and you’ll be at a disadvantage right off the bat. Instead, put the
debtor in the position of having to explain himself. Say something
like “What are your intentions toward this bill?”

Part Two: The Facts - If the debtor doesn’t agree to pay the bill
early on, move into the next part of the call: asking questions about
his situation. It’s important to make a smooth transition here because
you don’t want to alarm the debtor. Say something like “Let me just
fill out an extension form for you.” Then you can start asking about
his job, whether his wife is employed, any outstanding loans he may
have, credit cards, etc.

Part Three: The Dun - Once your questioning has given you the
information you need you can show the debtor a way in which he
or she can pay the debt. You know, for instance, that he can afford
to put it on his MasterCard, or that she could qualify for a bank loan.
Now you’re in position to make your demand for payment (the dun).

Part Four: The Close - Whether or not the debtor has agreed to pay
there is also a specific way you should end the call. And I don’t mean,
“Gee, thanks, have a nice day!” or “You’ve got your nerve!” Use an
open-ended question designed to put the debtor on the spot; something
like “Do I have your word on that?” If he has refused to pay or continues
to dodge and delay remind him of how serious the situation is; make it
clear that the problem must still be resolved. Be professional; don’t
insult him. Save any threats of legal action until you’ve contacted the
debtor several times without success and see no other option. Never
threaten legal action unless you fully intend to follow through, otherwise
you can be accused of harassment.

Collection calls are a necessity in bill collecting. Making the effort to
learn and use as many techniques as you can will bring results and increase t
he bank balance of your business.

About Author Jim Finucan :

Jim Finucan has more than 12 years as a “top gun” in the collections business.Visit for more information onbill collecting and his debt collections manual - Past Due!

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By Jim Finucan © 2005 Tiare Publications 293 words Dealing with a debtor often means dealing with a spouse as well. It's reasonable to assume that married couples have discussions about important family matters, such as which bills get priority and when and how to pay them. One of the two will be in charge of finances and if you have a choice that's the one you prefer to deal with. Sometimes the person you're talking to will hand the phone off to the other. If this...

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