You’re Pitching, Nobody’s Catching!
It isn’t easy these days, trying to get your message across to a delinquent customer. It is like trying to deliver a crafted elevator pitch when everyone is on their cell phone.
For anyone not familiar with the term, an elevator pitch it is short description explaining the concept in a way that a listener can understand in a short period of time. They are a trapped audience until they get off the elevator.
You might have the best pitch ever for paying your account, but if you can’t get them on the telephone it won’t make any difference.
Back in the day, my mother developed her own personal call blocking system. One of us kids would answer the phone armed with a simple instruction: If a man calls and asks for ‘Mrs. Paulsen’, she’s not here.
With the advent of caller ID and voice mail, everybody has one of the Paulsen kids answering their phone. We’re tough to get around, but these techniques will help:
- The elevator music your customer listens to is from the station WIIFM (What’s in it for me)
- Be fully prepared with the message you will leave if they don’t answer and you go to voice mail.
- Prepared and ready though for the total shock if they do pick up the telephone!
- If it’s voice mail, your message might be that you will call later, be specific, and why it is important for them to take your call.
- Keep it simple. Einstein said if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough
- You are big boys and girls, so I don’t have to tell you to keep it legal, and though consumer and commercial calls are different, make sure nothing is divulged or embarrassing.
- Naturally enough, you may want to ask for someone by their first name.
- The accounts payable manager may have a guardian at his telephone gate in the form of a secretary or assistant. Get to know ‘em and get them on your side.
- Keep your voice pleasant but go further and develop a ‘special’ collection voice.
- Make use of local area codes and calls that won’t identify company.
- When is best time to reach ‘that customer’?
- Get someone else to call. When I was at a consumer division of a retail credit card company and we were trying to reach younger males, we would have one of the younger women call, first name only. Sneaky? Yes. Legal? That too.
- Expect to up your productivity. It used to be that it might take 18 dials to be able to have a single conversation with a customer. That number has increased
- Don’t rely on one medium of contact. You may need to be sending email, leaving messages for ‘others’ in the same company
Account Collections is like an elevator, a lot of ups and downs, people push your buttons and you get jerked around. But when you pay attention, work hard and reach the top, remember to send it back down for others. Take notes on what works and share with the rest of your team.
Want to hear a great elevator story?
Just give me a call or send an email, letting me know you are interested in a program to improve your collection team. I’ll give you an elevator story on the best training program ever that will knock your socks off. That’s right, knock your socks off, reduce your receivables AND keep more of your customers and….but I’m getting ahead of myself.
To hear more: firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 691-2648.