Great communication is essential for success. This principle applies to collecting monies owed to you. To achieve better results from your collection efforts, this New York Collection Attorney’s advice is to pause through the uncomfortable silence when asking your client to pay.
At some point, you have asked a customer for payment. It does not matter how you asked: in writing, during a call or in person. You may remember a few seconds of silence just after asking the client to pay.
Think about your last request to be paid.
If by phone, perhaps the call was like this: Joe, it’s Jocelyn, I’m following up on the invoices from January. It’s been a while and I’m concerned. How do you plan on paying?
If by email Joe, it’s Jocelyn. We show a balance of xxx, for services in January. I’m concerned as we have not received payment. Please let us know how you would like to pay?
And then, there is the pause. The pause occurs not only in telephone calls but in email communications as well.
In email or written communication, the pause may become apparent by the customer either
1) ignoring your request for payment,
2) addressing a different aspect of the business relationship or
3) an acknowledgment of your email with a promise to get back to you.
My advice is that you will achieve greater success from your debt collection efforts if you are able to pause through the uncomfortable silence rather than jumping in and saying something to fill the uncomfortable silence.
Think about what happens during the silence. Do you jump in suggesting a payment plan, offer to compromise the balance due or interpret the pause as your client’s unwillingness to pay and become upset or angry? Is your response sabotaging your own collection efforts?
By pausing during the silence and allowing your client to respond, you will hear your customer’s thoughts about payment rather than your own expectations of payment.
These days, when everything is fast, fast, it is important to remember that when writing or calling for money, effective communication skills are a must. This New York Collection Attorney’s advice is to pause through the silence in order to maximize your debt collection efforts.