How to Collect with Grace and Ease

When it comes to making collect calls, does that thought make you feel uncomfortable?

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Are you worried that the customer…

Will get mad at you?

Insult you?

Insult your work?

Let’s nip those worries in the bud! A couple weeks ago, I recorded this Facebook Live Video about collections. I’ll post it right here, but then I’ll give you the Big J Notes (my version of Cliff Notes) beneath.

Mindset Techniques to Amp Up Energy and Protect It

Try the Amy Cuddy “Hands-on Hips/Superwoman” Technique. I’ll pop that link in below:

More Boundary Protectors Here…

Get yourself a physical boundary reminder that you can look at when you’re on the call. Let it be a ruler, pencil, cardboard box, etc. The point of this reminder is to let you know that you’re safe. Your energy is HERE. Their energy is way over THERE. They’re not going to come into your personal space and confront or threaten you. It’s a simple phone call that tells them, “Hey, can you pay me?”

Love crystals like I do? Try putting one of your favorite chunky crystals in front of you. I have this large black quartz that’s as big as my palm. I put it in front of me. They say that black quartz soaks up negative energy. So when I have mine, I see it as a protector. I also have worn black quartz pendants over my heart, and that makes me feel safe too. Alternatively, if you don’t have black quartz, even just wearing a chunky/heavy crystal necklace across your upper chest will help. For me, it presses against my EFT tapping spots on my collarbone and reminds me…

Janet, chill out. You are safe. You have every right to ask for your payment because you did the service or sold the product.

How-to Collections Technique

This is exactly how I used to do it but imagine this in the old days and replace email with fax. Yes, I’m a 70’s chick. I know I look 21, but…

Have that invoice handy either on your QuickBooks Online or in the same email you sent previously to them.

Text them to get them on the phone. You’re just checking in [and BTW, you have an open invoice].

When they’re on the phone, there’s no shame here, no judgment, no criticism. It’s simply light-hearted. The energy you want to bring is an “Of course this is just an oversight. Of course, you will pay me. Of course, you’re not going to come over and beat me up.” Seriously, these are fears that some of my actual clients have felt.

When you’ve got them on the phone for light chit-chat, say,

“Oh, BTW, did you happen to send in your payment this month? I didn’t see it.” They will then say,

“OMg, I don’t know. I thought so! {{story, story, story, busy, etc. Don’t let this get you in a funk.}}

You then say (and keep your power), “No worries at all! Here, can you do me a favor? I’m going to send it to you right now [forward the email from your laptop/phone or QuickBooks online]. Let me know that you get it OK. I just want to make sure it doesn’t go into spam.”

Keep them on the phone for a couple minutes until it pops up. [Bing! They got it.]

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An option is that you can go deeper and have then look at it to make sure it’s correct. It likely is, but you want to make sure they can open it and acknowledge the amount.

And finally, they will likely say, “Oh no! I’m so sorry I thought I paid for this. Here let me get my card.” OR, they will say, “OMg, I’m so sorry! I’ll have this out to you, and you should get the payment by Friday.”

D.O.N.E.

Side note here I forgot to mention in my Facebook Live

Never, ever, ever, ever x infinity apologize to your customer for calling to collect OR for the fact that they owe you. I am all about apologizing but only when it’s appropriate. THIS is not an appropriate time to apologize. You are not in the wrong, at all.

{{{{{breathe}}}}}

Super simple. You stand up for yourself. You don’t rip their head off. You maintain a prosperous customer/vendor relationship for the long time to come which is exactly what you want.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Chances are that as an entrepreneur, you will always have at least 1-2 times per year where you have to make the collections call. This is totally normal. Nothing personal. Just oversights.

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Here are ways to get ahead of that and feel super awesome about your Pre-prepared mindset.

  1. Find a collections agent before you need them. That way, when you need them, you’re not in dire straights for the cash, and all it takes is a simple phone call. I love delegating!
  2. Create a Fake Bookkeeper. This is not one of my faves, but I can see how some people would like it. Create a second email (that YOU check), and it’s addressed to your bookkeeper, Dwayne Johnson <3, Financial Administrator. Whenever you have to do those collect calls, let Dwayne do it. Get it? Via email. Not voice. If they try to call Dwayne well, they just missed HIM, and the best way to get in touch with HIM, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, your bookkeeper, through email.
  3. When you set your Net __, make sure you say, for example, at the bottom, Net 30. Late fees will be assessed after Net 60 and __ from Collections Agency, LLC. will give you a call to help settle your account.
  4. Make sure to let prospective customers know that you’ve hired Collections Agency, LLC on all documentation. This includes quotes, estimates, proposals, invoices, and statements. I mean, put it everywhere. That way, when they sign on with you, they’re doing so with the knowledge that paying late past X date (your boundary) has consequences.

Light, light, light! I just want to emphasize. Keep your energy light with an assumption that “Of course they’re going to pay me.” They will feel shame, judgment, and criticism through the phone. Don’t ever let that happen! Keep it light!

Published by Janet Johnson | Financial Coach for Small Businesses

Janet Johnson is the author of My Money Pivot: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Finding & Making More Money. Before becoming a coach, Janet gained seventeen years of experience in a family-owned manufacturing company. She also trained small business owners in Financial Management and Lean Enterprise for seven years through contracts with the State of Connecticut and the Small Business Administration for seven years.

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