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Dealing with Debtors

ELIOT WAGONHEIM: "I have worked as hard as I could possibly work. I have addressed every single need that you have and now that I produced something that is really good and I gave you really good value, you're just not paying me. And, you know what, I am really angry about that."

One of the primary mistakes is letting that emotion get the better of you, calling the customer at two in the morning and screaming "deadbeat" into the phone at the top of your lungs, may be emotionally satisfying, but it will not get you paid and it might get you sued.

If you call up and you just yell into the phone or say in your best stern voice, "oh you will pay me," what you have done is damage or destroy the debtor"s desire to actually work with you, and you have just wasted your time.

There is a big difference between "can"t pay" and "won"t pay." "Won"t pay" is something that is not going to be resolved in a debate and if you believe you are entitled to payment, pursue your legal remedies.

"Can"t pay" is something that maybe worked out, because maybe that is just can"t pay now or cannot pay all of it now. But maybe there is a way that you can work with a debtor to maybe not satisfy you 100%, but at least make the best of a bad situation.

And here is the key: Before you hang up the phone, you must have a specific understanding that X number of dollars will be paid by such and such a date. If you have a collections call and you do not walk away with that kind of understanding, then you might as well not have made the call at all.

You have got to have something where you know if you do not receive this amount of money on that day, the debtor has broken his or her word and that means that you can make your decision to move to the next level of collection.

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