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Don't Skip This Step on Collection Calls

Updated: May 20, 2021

how to improve results on collections calls. woman smiling on the phone.

When I train collectors on communication and express the importance of focusing on solutions rather than problems on collection calls, I notice they are often then eager to jump right into the solution without first priming consumers to hear their solutions.

Consider this: Have you ever been in a really stressful situation and heard someone say, “I want you to know that I’m going to help you with this" or "I have great news for you"?

How did that make you feel?

You probably experienced a sigh of relief, right?


Have you ever offered a consumer (or friend or family member) a solution and had it rejected because the person was still too upset to really hear you?

Telling someone "I’m going to help you with this" or "I have great news for you" is what I call planting seeds of happiness. It's a set of positive words that spoken at the right time plant a seed of a positive outcome. Other examples include:

"You'll be interested to know..."

"You're in great hands."

"I can assure you..."

Collectors: You don’t want to skip this step on collection calls.

What seed of happiness phrases do are effectively cancel consumers’ fight-or-flight responses and move them to a place where they’re ready to hear a solution.

Along with giving consumers a sigh-of-relief moment and priming them to receive your solution, seeds of happiness also…

  • Pique consumers’ interest and encourage them to engage with you further

  • Build consumers’ confidence that you are doing everything in your power to resolve their concerns

  • Move the call forward in the direction of a solution

Let’s talk about how this would sound on a collection call using the following example:

Scenario: A consumer says he cannot pay his debt because he was recently laid off from his job.

You, the collector, say: "I understand how you are feeling. This is something we’re hearing a lot of people say, so you are not alone (validation). You'll be interested to know we have some options available (seed of happiness). Let me ask you some questions so we can figure out what the best option is for you. (action statement)

If you were the consumer, how would hearing the above would make you feel?

Would you feel relieved? Would you feel ready to hear the collector out and start exploring possible solutions?

Planting seeds of happiness might seem like a small step, but it’s a critical one.

Having a debt isn’t just a financial burden. It’s an emotional and psychological burden as well. Consumers will continue to be worried about their problems until they are confident they will be helped. The seed of happiness is the moment the consumer begins to relax.

We need consumers to feel unburdened and at ease on collection calls. It’s exponentially more difficult for consumers to hear your solution if their brain spaces are still cluttered by their concerns or problems.

Enter: The Frequency Scale of Emotion

Something I refer to in a lot of my trainings is the frequency scale of emotion.

What it means for collectors is, every word you speak will steer consumers’ feelings one way or another.

flight or fight formula

Planting seeds of happiness brings consumers up the emotional scale and primes them to receive your solution. It takes consumers out of fight-or-flight mode (left side of the frequency scale above) and stimulates the rest-and-digest relaxation system (right side of the frequency scale).

Making Consumers Feel Heard and Understood

Can you also see how seed of happiness phrases reaffirm that you heard consumers’ concerns?

By stating “I want you to know that I am going to help you with this,” you communicate to consumers that you've heard them and care about their situations.

This is critical because if a consumer does not feel heard or understood, he is not going to want to listen to you anymore and will tune you out or end the call.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to follow up your seed of happiness with an actual solution.

When you focus on saying what you can do instead of what you can’t do, you build the consumer’s respect and help him feel valued.

Even if the solution is not the exact one the consumer is looking for, there’s always something you can do and by demonstrating your willingness to find an alternative solution, you can help you create a positive connection with that person.

Final Thoughts

By planting seeds of happiness, you bridge the negative (the problem) to the positive (the solution).

Don’t skip over this step and rush right into your solution.

Remember: Consumers need to be emotionally ready before they can hear your solution.

Words are powerful and on collection calls, every word matters.

To learn more about how the Collection Advantage online training program can help you create a team of high-converting collectors who increase your revenue immediately, book a free strategy call with me here.

More information on the Collection Advantage program can also be found here.

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