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Cold calling in the collections department

I am the sells manager at a collection agency. My job basically revolves around cold calling. I was wondering if anyone had in experience in this field. I am very new and I feel like a am swimming in a huge ocean with nothing but arm floaties trying to stay afloat. stcktng; . I guess I am just unsure of myself, any comments on how to get over this? I just donít know what to say to these people. I know everything about my company and have worked here forever, but I just donít know how to portray that in one call. When I am on the phone, I canít even get these people to ask me a question, I get my first sentence out and already they are like we are happy and not interested or give me the run around. Any suggestions at this point are welcomed! Thanks. - by Nikkie
What do you offer that your prospects want? - by Seth
Well we are a collection agency. And that’s what we offer is collection services. We really specialize in medical debt and also "bad debt" - the really old debt that other agencies seem to not be able to collect on. I know what makes us good but I can’t seem to get my prospects to ask me questions about our company, I am still learning when to push and when to give. This sales stuff isn’t easy... - by Nikkie
I think you have come to the right place looking for advice...

May I ask you to show us your script that you use when on the phone?

It is a good starting place.

Thanks - by Sell4alivn
Well we are a collection agency. And thatís what we offer is collection services. We really specialize in medical debt and also "bad debt" - the really old debt that other agencies seem to not be able to collect on.
I think you would benefit by translating what you offer (collection services) into benefits that your prospects understands and wants. You can't leave the translation up to the prospect. - by Seth
Well truthfully, I try not to use a script. My boss and I discussed this and she said people don't want you calling, interrupting their day just to read off of a piece of paper. They want you to just talk to them like a normal conversation. But usually I try to keep it about the same since all of my prospects are interested in the same thing. Sorry if this is a bit long, but I want to tell you how the call goes. It goes about something like this:

May I speak with (name) is I know it, or the business office manager?

This is (...) can I help you?
Good morning/afternoon my name is Nikkie with (my company). We are a collection agency located in East Texas and we specialize in medical debt collections. I was calling to find out how your facility was currently handling your delinquent accounts?

I will usually get one of two answers: We in-house. Or we currently outsource to another agency.

This would be where I would ask them if the in-house, have they ever considered outsourcing their debt. With the increase in wages and postage it has actually been proven to be more cost effective, not to mention generates a higher recovery rate. In collections thatís all we do day in and day out, we have mastered the skill. When in-housing, you have the receptionist, appointment scheduler, insurance filer doing collections. Everyone is tasked with a million things to do in one day.

If they outsource, I ask them if they are happy with the recovery rate their current agent is providing, share with them our recovery rate, and some interesting things we do here that most collection agencies aren't currently offering them.

My problem is usually I don't get this far in my talk off... I get the first couple of sentences out and they generally say we're happy and don't want to change... - by Nikkie
My problem is usually I don't get this far in my talk off... I get the first couple of sentences out and they generally say we're happy and don't want to change...
Cold calling is about catching the attention and interest of preoccupied strangers. Do you feel that your sales talk does or should achieve that outcome? - by Seth
Most definitely. I have seconds to make them interested... I have to prove to them that we are the better agency in one phone call. Its hard to captivate someone in 5 seconds. - by Nikkie
Most definitely. I have seconds to make them interested... I have to prove to them that we are the better agency in one phone call. Its hard to captivate someone in 5 seconds.
In the first few seconds the only thing the prospect is deciding on is whether or not what you have to say is worth listening to. - by Seth
In the first few seconds the only thing the prospect is deciding on is whether or not what you have to say is worth listening to.
Finally something relevant... - by rattus58
[quote=rattus58;42783]Finally something relevant...[/quote]....Comment Deleted---- If you don't like my posts stop reading and responding to them. - by Seth
So do you say, sell on the first call - or try to set up a time to talk about it.

I have done both. When I set up a time to discuss it though - they are 'in a meeting' or 'not in the office' - by Nikkie
I actually thought that you'd be flattered that someone appreciated your comments as being helpful.

For example" I think you would benefit by translating what you offer (collection services) into benefits that your prospects understands and wants. You can't leave the translation up to the prospect."

And an example of this would be? - by rattus58
I'm not taking a hike anywhere. I actually thought that you'd be flattered that someone appreciated your comments as being helpful.

For example" I think you would benefit by translating what you offer (collection services) into benefits that your prospects understands and wants. You can't leave the translation up to the prospect."

And an example of this would be?


Why dont you guys take your childish argument elsewhere and not in my forum. Rattus: I dont see you posting anything that is of any help to me so why even post a comment? This is a blog to help sales people learn new techniques to sell----Comment Deleted---- If you’re not on my blog to help, leave.
thmbdn2; - by Nikkie
Why dont you guys take your childish argument elsewhere and not in my forum. Rattus: I dont see you posting anything that is of any help to me so why even post a comment? This is a blog to help sales people learn new techniques to sell... Not somewhere you can boast your egotistical behavior. If youíre not on my blog to help, leave.
thmbdn2;
I'm not leaving anywhere for you either nikkie and as far as commenting on your questions you were in quite happy dialog with seth.

However if you would like to have comment from me, I'm happy to provide the way I was taught to sell. Whether it fits in your situation or not is going to be for you to decide, but you are in a different marketing area than I am.

You also have indicated that you would not use a script for calls. I would.

You also have indicated that you have to grab there attention in 10 seconds or you lose there interest... that is not a manner in which I work, I'm looking for an appointment, so I'm geared differently than you are.

But if you would still like to have input from me for that first 10 seconds, this is what I would try....

Good morning Mr. Goodguy, my name is Nikkiegoldengirl with BestCollectors and the reason for my call is that many companies are frustrated with collections and I would like to get your opinion on whether our approach would have a positive impact on your collection experience, in other words, improve your cash flow. - by rattus58
Well, I do use a guide line, I just dont like to refer to it as a 'script' because what they say changes what I have to say every time. Its not like some sales where you can stay on one track and predict where the call will go. Every client has different questions and different needs... I posted a copy of my guide line to show you how the flow of a call usually goes. My problem is getting whats important our there first without sounding like im in some time of marathon. There is so much that goes into collections though that makes us a good company its hard to decipher between clients what "they" think is important.

HAHA Nikkiethegoldengirl... Think I will have to use that from now on. sn; - by Nikkie
Well, I do use a guide line, I just dont like to refer to it as a 'script' because what they say changes what I have to say every time. Its not like some sales where you can stay on one track and predict where the call will go. Every client has different questions and different needs... I posted a copy of my guide line to show you how the flow of a call usually goes. My problem is getting whats important our there first without sounding like im in some time of marathon. There is so much that goes into collections though that makes us a good company its hard to decipher between clients what "they" think is important.

HAHA Nikkiethegoldengirl... Think I will have to use that from now on. sn;
:) You should...

You say it's hard to decipher between clients what they think is important. Ask them. It's much easier to provide a recommendation or an offer if you know what you can offer that meets their needs, desires, or importance.

In your conversation with them dig out things that you know you can provide and whether these are areas of concern for them. For example, "Mr. Goodguy on average, can you tell me your recovery time for collections?" Can you tell me at what point you write off your collection action? As a percentage, how much of your collection ends up as a bad debt? What point do you go to small claims court if ever? Do you receive weekly updates on your collections? What is the most frustrating thing about the collection process for you?.... and on and on...

If you can get them to talk about their experience and if you can ask them questions and get them to talk about areas that you know you can provide service, you can come back in the conversation later and say... Mr. Goodguy, you were most frustrated by not knowing where you stood with collections as well as having to wait as much as 4 monts to even start to get any cash flow, wasn't that sort of your experience?

By giving us a try, you'll get weekly updates of each client, and you said that would be important to you correct? Also, we have an approximate 6 week recovery on average, improving your cash flow, wouldn't that be exciting especially since even with of our expanded services our costs are comparable to your current expenditure. Would these expanded benefits be improvement for you?

When would you like to start receiving weekly accountability register?

Aloha... - by rattus58
Nikkie,

You need to come up with one (at most two) massive over-riding 'benefit' that you could offer a potential customer.

You'll need to give this some thought as you will almost certainly get confused between a 'feature' of what you have to offer and the 'benefit' of that feature.

The benefit you come up with will have to appeal to them on an 'emotional' level....will whatever you have to offer make them smarter? More Successful? Profitable?

In b2b sales I find that 'hanging on to your hard earned profits' somewhere in the conversation usually prompts a positive emotional response.

Once you know what benefit you bring to the party you can focus on that one thing and this will enable your approach to be a lot more fruitful. - by helisell
Okay.. I'll try....

My name is Lewis with XYZ collections and we help our clients increase their collection success rate. Are you interested in improving your collection results?

If I could take five minutes to explain how we help our clients you would be able to decide if we can benefit your firm.

Would Teusday morning or afternoon work.

Etc Etc.

It is a starting point and emphasizes a benefit they could get by listening to your offer.

Good Selling! - by Sell4alivn
Collection Results? Mmmmmm? Not sure.

Sounds like a feature.

What would be the benefit of improving their collections results?


Would they be more interested in THIS proposition maybe?

----------------------------------------------------------
Hi I'm Nikkie and I help firms with their efficiency problems in specific areas of their business. . . .

Can I just ask . . . (small pause) would your company be open to learning about a couple of things that could help you get more business done . . . . . free up a bit of valuable working time AND keep your hands on a bit more of your hard earned profit?

Maybe . . .


OK well there are several areas where this could be done.....for example....how do you go about keeping track of collections and bad debts at the moment? A lot of organisations are learning that they are losing out by not doing things in the most efficient way and are looking closely at a more up-to-date approach.

Would you be open to discussing a couple of fresh ideas?
--------------------------------------------------------

I would also suggest Nikkie that you do a bit of research about Company Efiiciency and prepare a little 3 or 4 page document which you could offer to let them have if you can't make any headway at this stage. Any company would be interested in a free report that highlights 4 or 5 ways that they could operate more efficiently.

Entitle it '5 things a modern firm MUST do to be more efficient'

Good luck - by helisell
This is a blog to help sales people learn new techniques to sell... If youíre not on my blog .....
Nikkie, just to clarify for you, as well as other newcomers to SalesPractice, this site is not a blog, nor does the forum belong to anyone except the developer of SalesPractice.

Everyone is welcome on any thread so long as they adhere to the Community Rules which are posted elsewhere.

Welcome, and thanks for paricipating. - by Gary A Boye
So do you say, sell on the first call - or try to set up a time to talk about it.

I have done both. When I set up a time to discuss it though - they are 'in a meeting' or 'not in the office'
I don't know enough about your sales environment to choose between a one-call and multi-call format. If you do choose a multi-call format and they are "in a meeting" or "not in the office" that isn't because it was a multi-call it was because the call wasn't handled effectively. - by Seth
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