Last week in Dublin, I had the pleasure of speaking at the World Credit & Collection Conference.

My topic was ‘The Five Mistakes Collection Professionals Never Make’. Are there more than five? Sure, but I only had thirty minutes and besides, the philosopher Kitty St. Laurent, who performed at the Victory burlesque theatre in Toronto, under the stage name of ‘Cup Cake Cassidy’, once said it’s always a good idea to hold a little back.

There is not a lot of room here either, but this is a summary of the Dublin 5ive.

  1. It’s Only!
    Any point of contact with a customer is important. Great collectors never think, ‘It’s only a notice or only an email’. I shared simple techniques to improve both because it doesn’t matter what you write – if the customer won’t read it.
  2. We forgot how to be a good scout!
    The motto of the scouts worldwide is ‘always be prepared’. In every organization, there are up to about ten excuses you hear 95% of the time. Are they written down? Have you taken the time to come up with the best questions to ask when you hear them? Do you have a great (not just good) system to have that information in front of all of your team? I didn’t think so.
  3. Worst magic trick ever!
    Too many collection team leaders or supervisors are appointed because they are great at collecting. The trick is the collector disappears and is replaced by a poor or mediocre team leader. We need to improve the selection process and ensure supervisory training and support take place.
  4. Become a great tango dancer.
    It is a matter of balance and applying just the right amount of pressure to our partner. We don’t want to push them over, nor be pushed over ourselves. Great collectors will never be replaced by automation. The balance and pressure can change with the same customer not only within a day but within a single conversation.
  5. Completion of the sale.
    Someone from the sales department may consider the sale complete once they have the signed order. Another person from the credit department says it is not complete until the money has been collected.

    Who is wrong?


    The sale is not complete until collected AND the customer returns to deal with you again, on credit, paying on time and speaking well of you and your organization. (A difficult balancing act indeed.)