The Sudoko Collection Technique:

If you are not familiar with Sudoko, it is a logic-based combination number placement puzzle. The objective is to fill a 9X9 grid with the numbers 1 to 9. Each column, row and sub-grid contain all of the digits, but only once.

The strategy is not so much to see what number fits, but rather what does not fit. When you figure out what you cannot put in the column, row or grid, you will be able to determine the right number for the right place.

It seems to me our business in receivables management may be similar. We need to overcome a client or customers reason for not paying, but whether it is intentional on their part or not, that information may be as elusive as trying to fit the right number into a Sudoko Puzzle. If that is the case, perhaps we can get closer to the answer by using the same strategy – determining what ‘isn’t the reason.

Make a list for your organization for the general reasons why you are not being paid. It could include some or all of the following:

  • Your quality is sub-par (Could be true, could be a stall)
  • Slow payment is a habit for them
  • They figure they have paid enough. Remember that the position of CEO is the most popular career choice of psychopaths. Don’t count on empathy
  • No money. This is used often but rarely true. My friend in Poland, Borys Sadowski has a translator that I have seen him use in collection seminars. He puts it on and has someone tell him, ‘I have no money’. Borys translates back to them, ‘I have money, but not for you.’
  • They want to outfox you, figure they are clever and will use stall techniques and loopholes to the point you will give up or be happy to offer them a discount
  • You did not ask, eloquently and on time, for the money (Never ‘assume’ people will pay you on their own
  • You did not ask again (inappropriate follow up
  • Less money coming in (if a consumer, a change in income, if commercial, their customers not paying them or sales down
  • Vacation, Illness

Develop your list and keep it current. Don’t waste your time resolving an excuse that may not be the reason you are not paid. To paraphrase Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: ‘Once you eliminate excuses, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the real reason you are not being paid’.

‘Life is like Sudoko. If you don’t know why you have chosen that number, at the end it will be a mess. Easy enough to change in Sudoko. In life – not so much.

P.S. It is interesting when trying to solve a Sudoko puzzle, leave it alone for a while, take a walk, get busy with another activity for a short period of time, and when you return, it is amazing how often solutions jump out at you. Same when stuck with a challenging outstanding debt.

Located in Alberta? I am visiting next month. Let me know if you would like information.