When it comes to collecting on commercial debt, you know that you have to recover fast. You have to find a way to make sure the client (or former client) pays. You’re using the annoyance and anger at the unreceived payments, and you’re ready. So you go to the phone and….
What now? Like most things, commercial debt recovery is much easier said than done. The conversation will always go better in your head, especially if you don’t go in with a plan.
Going in frustrated and angry is a quick way to make a customer hang up. But making the call and being overly apologetic and meek will ensure that no debt is recovered at all. There has to be a better way to do this.
Turns out, there absolutely is.
So take a minute, cool off, and take a look at our plan for getting you to commercial debt recovery success.
The Fool-Proof Method for Commercial Debt Recovery
It’s important to realize that the best method to commercial debt recovery isn’t anything ground-breaking. There’s no magic debt recovery dust here. It’s simply a step-by-step plan that can be implemented and tweaked for each individual case. Ensuring that you are professional but direct is key.
There’s a process here, and it’s pretty formulaic. And while there’s no guarantee your client will cooperate how you want them to, you can stack the odds in your favor by following this seven-step process.
- Get Ready
- Keep them Engaged
- Make Clear Expectations
- Know Your Client
- Communicate Importance
- Make a Plan
- Close the Deal
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Make sure you go into your call prepared. Invoices should be in front of you. Keep notes of any previous conversations. Keep notes of the current conversation.
Know what you are going to say, but also prepare yourself for what they may say. Keep probably excuses and your answers to them in your mind so that you aren’t blindsided.
Keep them Engaged
No one wants calls from a collection company or from an old work connection asking for money. But to collect, you have to keep them on the phone.
Establish professionalism from the get-go, and be sure not to come off as predatory. If you can keep them from getting defensive, you’ve won half the battle, because as long as they aren’t feeling attacked, you are likely going to keep them on the phone and be one step closer to commercial debt recovery success.
Make Clear Expectations
Make sure you state, clearly, what you are calling about. If you beat around the bush, a talented client may be able to talk you out of collecting any money at all.
Make sure you establish up front what money is owed, when it was owed, and that you are wanting to resolve the issue today. Maintain professionalism, but be clear and direct.
Know Your Client
Listen to the client and pull from knowledge of them when you did business together. This is going to help you respond to whatever they can throw at you in an effective way.
Try and put yourself inside their head so you can anticipate how the call is going and how it is likely to end.
Stress that this is an urgent matter. But beyond that, try to establish and stress what necessary steps will have to be taken if payment is not made.
This is not an incitement to blackmail. We aren’t suggesting you hold hostage their browser history until they pay.
It is advisable, however, to remind the client that neither of you really wants to take the matter to court or to a collection agency, but that those are the only logical choices should payment not be made.
Make a Plan
At this point, the client should be ready to make a plan. You may be able to be flexible here, offering a payment plan if payment cannot be made in full. Being willing to work with the client is likely to get you closer to successful recovery than demanding that complete payment be made immediately.
Close the Deal
Once you’ve got a plan in place, be sure to thank the customer, but also take the time to re-affirm the plan and ensure that both you and the client are aware of the entirety of the plan and the consequences for not following through.
This part may feel like overkill, but it’s just one last opportunity to ensure that you and the client are on the same page, and that you both understand what is expected. This way, a client can’t come back and claim ignorance.
Commercial debt recovery can be tricky. It isn’t a conformable situation, and many business owners either flounder or avoid it altogether because they just aren’t sure how to get it done.
But by following the steps outlined above and remembering to be direct and professional, you are well on your way to commercial debt recovery success.
If you need more help, drop us a line. We have commercial debt recovery specialists ready to share their expertise and ensure your commercial debts are recovered for your business.