Tie a knot and hang on!

Last week I delivered a program in Beirut to a hard working and dedicated group of about 24 people. Most of them were from Lebanon, but others joined us from Egypt and Jordan and there were two who managed the drive from Syria.

Not an easy and uneventful drive for them and it will be some time before I complain again about the problems I encounter driving in the Toronto area!

Civil unrest and a lot of economic challenges but in the long run – collections is collections. There are challenges in balance for our client between funds coming in and going out. There are always a few people who don’t want to pay or at least put it off as long as they can. They will jump on a current situation as their problem, even though payments have been delinquent before.

One of the modules the group and I worked on was titled: Tie a knot and hang on. I borrowed the phrase from U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt who said,”When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

Many techniques and options were discussed and one suggestion was: when you are working out a payment plan with a customer, double up on the first payment.

“Mr. Clark, we may be able to work out a reduced payment plan for you to bring your account current, but rather than the six equal payments you mentioned, how about, as a show of good faith and to let us know you are serious about your commitment, the first payment should be X?”


  • If you don’t ask you don’t get. You will be pleasantly surprised how often the customer will say yes.

  • With a higher first payment, you tilt the psychological odds in your favor; they are more likely to stick to the plan.

Pithy Quote of the Month:

دعونا نذهب

“Yella, Yella” (how it ‘sounds’ in English)

Arabic for let’s go! Heard a few times last week and also last year from our guide in Egypt (who we referred to as “Old Yella”.