Collecting money over the phone when chasing slow payers can be much more effective by following a few ‘ground rules’.
After all, you probably don’t really want to make the phone call and the debtors probably don’t want to take your call, but these 6 simple tips will make life a little easier (and much more pleasant) – for you both!
I know they can’t see you but …. According to research human beings can differentiate vocal intonation not only between a smile and a non-smile but among different types of smile. “Smiling affects how we speak, to the point that listeners can actually identify the type of smile based on sound alone…” And since 84% of the message over a phone is your tone of voice, making sure that “smiling tone” comes through is imperative.
2: Stand Up
You can use body language to both feel and be more confident whenever you have to make (or take) a difficult phone call. Although the person on the other end can’t see you, they sure can hear you. And they can also pick up how strong and assertive (or weak and pathetic!!) you are on the phone talking. See this earlier post for more details.
3: Establish rapport
The dictionary definition of rapport is: “A sympathetic relationship or understanding” or, put simply: “being a friend”. So, use the same words as they do in conversation. For example, if they say “I’m angry“, don’t say “I understand that you’re disturbed ..” they’ll only get angrier! Use their own words back at them. “I understand that you’re angry …“
4: Establish similarities
Think of how comfortable you might feel if, while living thousands of miles from where you grew up, you met someone from your hometown. That sense of connectedness creates an instant rapport between two people! Any common ground can help establish rapport – it can even help to have an interest in someone’s life or hobbies, or to share similar beliefs and values.
5: Mirror the other person
Copy the other person’s speech patterns, such as vocal tone and volume. For instance, if he or she speaks softly and slowly, then lower the volume and tempo of your voice. Research by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation) suggests this is the most effective way to establish rapport. It’s very subtle, but it makes the other person feel comfortable and, most importantly, it makes them feel that they’re being understood.) It also increases trust
6: Ask the debtor for a favour
Ask for a favour from the debtor – they will respect you more. Use phrases like
“Is it ok if I call you on **** to follow that up?”
“Can I tell the manager that payment should be here by ****?”
To quote Ben Franklin, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.” This Forbes article expands on the point.