Updated: Jul 24, 2020
While I usually write these blogs from the perspective of a collection agency owner, this week I want to change things up and write from a consumer’s perspective.
The best way I know to create massive success in the collection industry is to help consumers see collectors as allies who help them survive and thrive, instead of enemies who make them feel under attack
When a consumer sees a collector as an ally, he or she is more receptive to what the collector is saying and is more likely to take positive action like setting up a payment arrangement or paying the debt in full.
In fact, according to Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator and author of the book, Never Split the Difference, people are 6x more likely to make a deal with someone they like.
In order for collectors to establish themselves as allies, they need to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the consumer, hence the purpose of this blog post – “Three Things Consumers Wish Collectors Knew.”
The collector needs to be able to ask himself, How would I feel if I was the consumer receiving this call?
As someone who has been in the trenches as an agency owner and found my sweet spot developing high-converting collectors, I can tell you that the more you understand the feelings of consumers, the easier it to relate to them and create a path to an agreement.
1. Just like collectors, consumers have fears and frustrations
According to Napoleon Hill, author of the 1937 personal-finance classic Think and Grow Rich, all humans share six major fears – the fear of poverty, criticism, poor health, loss of love, old age, and death. Receiving a collection call can agitate a consumer’s fear of poverty or even criticism if the consumer feels he is being judged for having the debt. What’s more, there could be something else going on in the consumer’s life that is putting him in a state of fear and causing him to enter your conversation already triggered.
When consumers’ fears are triggered, it can put them on the defense and make it difficult to trust the collector and reach a workable solution. When this happens, we are wasting time and losing revenue because we are seen as an enemy.
2. Consumers have needs and dreams too
Just like you, consumers want to survive and thrive, and debt is a burden that can prevent anyone from living the life of his dreams. In some instances, this debt can prevent consumers from meeting even their basic needs.
Consumers want collectors to recognize they have needs too and to work with them to find the best solutions that fit their individual situations. Imagine how much better we could do if consumers saw paying as an opportunity instead of a consequence.
3. Consumers are doing the best they can
Chances are, this debt isn’t the only thing the consumer is dealing with. He could be dealing with other issues like illness, job loss, or family pressures, which may be why he is in debt in the first place. Have you ever been in a situation where you were trying to do your best to achieve something and no matter what it felt like your circumstances made it impossible to get there, almost like you were paddling upstream?
Consumers want to be treated like human beings.
Getting a call from a debt collector can be an emotional and stressful experience. Through many years of research and development, I've discovered that is possible to speak to consumers in a way that lifts them up, instead of tearing them down, which only makes them feel unworthy for having a debt.
Quite simply, an ally connects consumers to what they want, while an enemy agitates everything consumers do not want.
And consumers want financial freedom just as much as everyone else does.