Haven’t got any credit control management support staff to help you chase up overdue invoices?
Then, make one up!
Make up any name you like (Zak Kingston was one we used for a sole practitioner a few years ago) and appoint him (Zak) to be the person in charge of credit control in your business!
Zak doesn’t have to EXIST to be effective.
Why does this work?
The only people that know the true workings of your business – are those people within it. Zak could be your own external book-keeper as far as your clients are concerned. As a collection tactic it’s very unsettling for debtors with outstanding fees to get a reminder email or letter from someone they don’t know. They’re out of their comfort-zone. They may know how to deal with you or your staff – but what about this Zak Kingston character?
So, why DOES this work? It’s using Fear Of the Unknown again. Debtors may have ignored all previous contact attempts but when this Zak character keeps emailing or writing to them, they’ll respond. Even if it’s only to find out who Zak is! But the point is, debtors will react to Zak’s written reminders.
And what can you say when a debtor calls and asks to speak to Zak?
Simply, “He’s not in. Can I help?” The purpose is to get debtors to react, to respond. You can even blame Zak for chasing a debtor up when the debtor calls!
This technique’s used far more frequently than you may think. A Finance Company I used to work for had such an individual. All reminder letters went out under his name and when a debtor called in reply to one, the receptionist knew it was a call to be put through to the Collection Department – because Zak was never there! How could he be?
Outrageous? Unprofessional? Over the top?
I can only answer this with a resounding No.
Even if your debtors consider your business to be a “soft touch” (someone they’ll pay on a “when-I-get-around-to-it” basis) – Zak may not be! Of course they’ll never actually get to speak to Zak (how could they?) – but they don’t know that. As in any war engagement – this is using the element of surprise.
So please, consider engaging Zak if you don’t have many support staff or want to take a fresh approach to account collections. He’s not an additional salary, never takes a day off and will be a great help to you to recover paymemts for overdue invoices. This simplistic (yet very effective) tactic is tremendous. It keeps you as the Good Guy, retains goodwill AND collects overdue payments …as well, and
… he doesn’t even exist.