How to collect money from difficult people, while keeping your cool

Collecting money is a job most people shy away from, no one likes a confrontation.  For some being asked to pay a bill is insulting and they take offense, resulting in them becoming defensive when you bring up the subject.  How can you collect the money they owe you without blowing up yourself?

If you can remember or remind yourself before you make a collection call that this person is embarrassed, stressed and will become defensive when you ask them to pay, you can be ahead of the game.  With this in mind have a plan ready before you pick up the phone.  When the customers is explaining to you why they have not or cannot pay, stay quiet and listen.  No matter how much you want to interrupt, give them a chance to explain.  Sometimes they will calm down just because you listened to them and you were calm.  When they are done, address the problem, and offer a solution or if you can a couple of solutions.

This does a couple of things.  It lets the customer know you care enough to listen to them, and you are giving them a couple of options on ways to solve the problem.  When a customer gets to choose a way that works best for them, even if it is to re-pay a debt, the chances of them sticking with it are much higher than if you call and demand payment in full right now.

Offering a solution, offering a couple of options and remaining calm are what you have to remember to collect from a past due customer that might be yelling and swearing at you.  If you can do those things you have a much better chance of getting paid and you won’t need high blood pressure medication.

Michelle Dunn, author of Starting a Collection Agency, how to make money collecting moneyмаси, available at

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