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Becoming a Better Negotiator
By Michael C. Dennis, MBA, CBF

Communication Articles
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Successful negotiators are
comfortable with the negotiation process

One way to become better in the field of credit and collection is to become a better negotiator. Successful negotiators not only know what they want and need to accomplish before beginning a negotiation, they are comfortable with the negotiation process. For example, they are confident that they have accurate information, understand their employer’s expectations and requirements, and are certain they know the limits of their authority. Becoming a better negotiator involves the skill required to understand your customer’s needs and to find solutions that are mutually beneficial.

One of the most common problems for anyone trying to collect money involves negotiating with someone who does not have the authority to make commitments, or to keep them. Not surprisingly, debtors often deliberately place collectors in contact with employees of the debtor company that have only limited authority. Your goal is to understand your contact’s authority to make payment commitments before beginning the negotiation process.

One of the most common mistakes, and one of the easiest to correct, involves making concessions too soon. Many collectors make a very significant concession before the discussion has even begun. How? By not beginning the discussion by asking for payment in full of the entire past due balance. Many collectors establish artificial cut-offs on past due balances. For example, the collector may only ask about the status of invoices over fifteen days past due, or longer in some cases. A related mistake in debt collection involves giving your past due customers the unsolicited concession of a grace period before making contact. Many collectors routinely wait fifteen or even thirty days before contacting a customer about a past due balance. This concession benefits only the customer, and the simple solution is to contact customers as soon as possible once invoices become delinquent.

Excerpted from the White Paper: “Fifty Ways to Become a More Effective Collection Negotiator Starting Tomorrow.”

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