Focus on the Finish Line...Not the Obstacle

One of my favourite things to do is to go skiing. A basic rule of skiing is to keep your eyes in the direction you desire to go. Why? Because your “skis will follow your eyes”. If you focus on the obstacles that you see on the slope (other skiers, trees, etc.) you will run right into them. The only way to avoid a collision is to make an intentional effort to focus less on the obstacles and more on the finish line.

During these challenging times, obstacles are everywhere. Too many times, collectors find themselves on a slippery slope because they begin to focus completely on the customers’ obstacles, rather than focusing on finding the best solution for the account. We cannot safely assume that every customer is going down the same path and needs the same solution.

On every call, we must ask ourselves, “What is the best possible outcome for this customer?”. To answer this correctly, we must first probe. Remember, without asking the customer the proper questions, the proper solutions cannot be identified. When we immediately jump to programs, extensions, and solutions before asking the appropriate questions, we risk doing more harm than good for our customers.

Let's take it back to the basics:
The Facts on the Table and Diagnostic Questions:

You have a total amount due of $____. Can you pay that today?
How much can you pay today?
When can you pay the remaining/total amount of $____?
These questions should be asked on every call. The answer to these three questions is the beginning stage of finding the best solution. Find out what type of customer you have (Willing, Vague, Unwilling/Unable), then follow the appropriate negotiation flow.

Do not forget to use statements that demonstrate empathy throughout your conversation, as we have discussed in previous memos. They will help to safely navigate you to your desired destination.

Keep your eyes focused on the finish line, not the obstacle, and finish strong!