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How to Effectively Contact Debtors: Friendly Yet Assertive Strategies

When it comes to collecting outstanding invoices, many business owners feel like they are walking on eggshells. They don’t want to come across as too aggressive and scare away potential customers, but they also need to be firm to get the money that is owed to them. 

In this article, we will discuss some friendly yet assertive strategies for contacting debtors. We’ll provide tips for dealing with common responses from debtors, and show you how you can protect the interests of your business while still maintaining a positive relationship.

Scenario 1: The debtor says they will pay you as soon as they get their next paycheck.

You: We appreciate your willingness to pay. Can I get a timetable on when to expect that next payment and the best way to reach you? Also, please note that we are happy to accept partial payment and set up a plan that will work for you.

This is a good response because it both shows that you are willing to work with the debtor and also gives you a timeline for when to expect the payment. It also gently applies pressure on the debtor to follow through with their promise.

Scenario 2: The debtor says they are waiting on a refund from the government.

You: We certainly understand that sometimes things outside of our control can affect our ability to pay bills. However, the sooner we can clear this up, the better. If you cannot afford the full payment right now, maybe we can work out a payment plan.

This is a good response because it shows that you are willing to work with the debtor and also gives you a timeline for when to expect the payment. It is also a nice way of stating that their money issues are not your money issues and that you are not willing to be held up by a check with an arbitrary delivery date. This is especially important in this post-pandemic world, where some folks are still waiting on their 2020 tax refunds.

Scenario 3: The debtor says they will pay you as soon as they sell some property.

You: Understandable, we know these things can take time. However, to show the account is in good standing and to avoid any late fees, would it be possible to issue a partial payment today? We’re also happy to work with you on a payment plan if you can’t pay in full.

The reason this is a good response is that it shows that you are willing to work with the debtor and also gives you a timeline for when to expect the payment. It also firmly but professionally hints at the potential consequences of not chipping away at the debt.

Scenario 4: The debtor says they don’t have the money right now.

You: We understand that times are tough and money can be tight. That’s why we’re willing to work with you in any way possible to keep the account in good standing. We have helped many of our customers with flexible payment options, and we’re willing to do the same for you.

This is a good response because it shows that the debtor is understood and that the company is willing to help them. This will make the customer more likely to work with the company to pay back the debt. It also builds a strong case in your favor should you ever have to pursue a debt collection on the individual.

To be successful in collecting outstanding invoices, it is important to be friendly yet assertive. You need to be firm in your negotiations while still maintaining a positive relationship with the debtor. Hopefully, through the scenarios presented above, you can now see ways to protect the interests of your business while getting the money that is owed to you.

Does pushing back in these stressful situations not come easy for your employees? If not, you may want to consider working with Southwest Recovery Services. Our extensive experience and years in business have earned our clients’ results time and time again. We’re ready to do the same for you, so you’re not left wondering when the next check will clear. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

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