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When I grow up, I am going to be a debt collector

SAID NO-ONE!  EVER!!  and I still don’t think anyone ever will.  Question to self – how the hell did I get here???  (**drinks a red wine, looks in mirror and shakes head -probably easier to quote Macbeth in Egyptian than answer that one!!)

Why then do so many people want my job?  Answer – because it is simple!  Look at your outstanding debtors, see they owe you money, pick up the phone and ring them.  They are your clients, some times friends, so it could end up with a beer at the footy and they hand over the cash owed and every one is happy.  (Now I want my job!!)

Reality – which is only a perception anyway – is that there is increased anxiety making “that” call.  What do I say?  What do I ask for? When is the best time to ring?  What if they yell at me?  What if they tell me they won’t use my services again?  What if they won’t pay?  Yes, that is it – I will only be annoying them so I will send another (5th or 6th) invoice – that will work – and I might stick a little late sticker on it this time.

One week later…….I am off site Monday, Tuesday is stock take, Wednesday training, management meetings and send invoices, Thursday is sales day, Friday is finish all jobs off and then tidy office.  Better make those calls for money next week!  Beer time – I feel better already….just no beer money in my pocket…..why is that???

OK, call time – ring ring – Hi, I am calling from ABCXYZ and you guys have an outstanding invoice for $5,000 owing to us.  “Really – can you send me a copy of the invoice” – Sure – I will put it in the mail tonight.  Perfect – spoke to the client – tick.  No objection – tick.  Seemed positive – tick.  Money in the bank – FAIL!!!

So at this point you realise that you really do not want to make that call, you do not know what to say, you do not really know the procedure if there is any objection, you don’t have the time anyway and the reality is your negative “body languagge” on the phone is playing into the debtors hands who is thinking well I am 60 days over due, I just brought another 10 days with asking for another invoice, I can then strectch this out at least another month without blinking.

A “professional” debtor would see this in a few ways.  Firstly that they are probably not going to pay any way but we can have some sport with this mob and may even get more credit out of you or that they probably have another 30-40 days before the debt collection agents are going to be called in.  Then they will need to send  a full and final demand – another 10 days before a statement of claim is raised – that is another 35 days before it is due AFTER it is served (if they can find me by then!!) but the chances of being around to be served are between zero and NIL.  Plus the bank of ABCXYZ is still open!!!

Time to call me – I ask for a copy of your terms and conditions to see what the client has signed and a copy of the invoice (and any details on the customer who is not paying).  TERMS & CONDITIONS!!!!  What Terms and Conditions??  What contract??  Is that an issue???  ***Read my blog on terms and conditions – please!

So, why do you really want my job?  Must be the big bucks!  On the $5k we would have charged 10%.  We then need to go into a sword fight with a tooth pick while they came with a semi automatic gun.  Your money has been outstanding over 90 days – bank rate of 9%, cost of invoices, administration and your time – plus you are looking at 100% of nil makes the 10% at an early stage seem a realy great deal.

If you don’t want to make the calls, are not experienced enough to make the call, don’t have the time, have not got a process for it – outsource this to a professional.   The biggest satisfaction will not be getting your money back.  It will be that you don’t have to make that call, won’t feel anxiety about the process and not get angry that someone you thought was a good client, friend or had dealt in good faith is trying to do you out of your money after you held up your end of the bargain.

Last thing – a client who owes you money over 60 days is not a great client – BUT they are going to pay and they are going to place another order!!  3 card trick!!  Don’t extend our credit and we will not pay you.  They are probably not going to pay or are stretching you as far as they can because they are STRETCHED as far as THEY CAN!!  Next stop – liquidation, bust, bankruptcy, wind up, sh*tsville……on your money!debt

 

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