When you talk about movies and collections, it is difficult not to think of the great tag line “Show me the Money” from Jerry Maguire.

Yet, there were two additional lessons from the classic 1996 Tom Cruise film.

  1. Asking for the money in collections, using an assertive but not too aggressive approach is one of the most important skills to master. It is one of the most difficult balancing acts in business. Most times, we want the money AND we want the customers.Yet, even when we don’t want a customer to darken our door again, we want to avoid complaints.Saying it and how we say it is the most important task in collections. But, not the only one.
  2. “You had me at hello.” Showing up, on time. If your customer has not paid you as agreed, don’t waste any time. Get in touch with them right now. Good customers? All the more reason to contact them and ask for the money. If they like you and they are in trouble, they figure they can pay you last…if at all.
  3. “Help me to help you.” We can cajole, tell it like it is or it will be but we are not going to make a deal without the customer. Let’s try to sit on the same side of the negotiation table. “Mr. Customer, I don’t expect us to put our arms around each other and sing Kumbaya at the end of this, but both of us have to have a deal that we can live with and I’m hoping you’ll work with me on this. It’s your call, but here are some of the alternatives.”