image of drill sergeantSome years ago, I watched a documentary on military indoctrination. Several countries and their military were involved, United States Marine recruits arriving at Paris Island in South Carolina to Russian basic training for Airborne Troops (VDV) and others.

The constant from Non-commissioned officers was that if you give them a young enough man, they can put them thru training, that is always demanding, often demeaning and sometimes brutal, ending up with a recruit who will follow orders and is ready for their next ‘specialized’ training. As one Gunnery Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps said, “any 17 year old will do.”

“How long would it take you, to train someone without any collection experience, to be a ‘reasonable collector’?”

This was a question I asked my new friend “Borys Sadowski” who is the founder and CEO of Gekko Solutions, an accounts receivables training company located in Poland.“Two days,” he said. “The training would be intense, but as long as they are not resisting for some reasons, we can have them trained to be productive after two days.”

Mind you, Borys and his team tends to concentrate on consumer collections with many aspects simpler than business to business and of course a much smaller average balance. Yet, I would agree, two days should do nicely, having them ready for ‘specialized training’ as needed.

What is in your basic training package?

Here is what your new recruits need to be able to do well:

  • Be able to identify themselves to a customer or a debtor ‘to the right degree’. This will vary by country and sometimes even by State or Province, but they need a simple and effective “Goldilocks” identification. “Not too detailed, tell ‘em what they need to know – just the right amount.”
  • Ensure they have the person on the phone they should talk to. In consumer collections this means the customer. Business to business, talk to the person with authority to pay or who know the details of the account.
  • “Ask for the money!” I know I can sound like a broken record about this, but there are simply too many people in accounts receivable to have not developed a simple and effective method of asking the customer to pay.You deserve to be paid and paid on time as agreed.
  • This bothers a lot of people and is overcome thru the two days of intensive training.
  • Be a good Scout!The motto of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts worldwide is the same, “Be prepared.”You know, right now, some of the ‘typical excuses’ you will hear as a reason for not paying or at least not paying on time.Eliminating and overcoming excuses – this is what good collectors do.
  • Make it easyDwight Moody said that faith makes all things possible and love makes all things easy. It helps to love what you do. “Are you kidding me, calling people to collect money,” you may be asking?No, you are asking the wrong question: “Wouldn’t you love a position in the organization where you can have a major impact not only on our success….but very survival.”Love and collections? I know it’s a tough sell, but I’ve seen it in action. In her song, Tina Turner asked, “What’s love got to do with it?” The short answer is, “just about everything”.