If you are in the unfortunate position of collecting commercial debt, chances are you may not know where to start. Collecting commercial debt can be very intimidating, you rarely know what type of reaction you will get when you speak to a client, so we brought together a few tips that could help you with that first call.
- Preparation is key. You want to review the client account thoroughly before reaching out. Make sure to have the account history, any notes on the account, last invoice, and have them in front of you for reference.
- Adopt the right attitude. Keep your interactions professional. You drafted a contract expecting payment after your services were rendered, it is not uncalled for to expect payment. Do not lose your temper by raising your voice or swearing, this will only make the situation worse.
- Contact the right person. Avoid calling and getting redirected to “someone in accounting”. You want to identify the person who will be making payments and reach out to them. This can get rather tricky, as you might be stuck talking to the secretary for a while. A deadline might serve useful in this scenario.
- Control the conversation. Keep the client focused on the debt, not on personal stories and excuses. It’s inevitable that the client will give you excuses as to why the debt is not being paid, but always bring the conversation back to the debt and repayment plan.
- Remain flexible. Most people hate debt, so there might a good reason as to why they stopped making payments. Make sure to keep your payment options open and work with the client. A reasonable payment schedule benefits both parties.
- Take detailed notes. While on the call, jot down as much as possible. You want to be able to look through the notes and have enough information to distinctively reiterate the conversation. Take note of contacts, times and dates, product usage, anything that could be used in litigation; the more detailed, the better.
If you have tried the above methods and haven’t had any luck, then you should think of contacting a debt collection agency with a proven track record of success.