July 02, 2013

One key to collections: Disarm ‘em with a smile

Collectors take note: Nothing disarms another person’s objections more than a genuinely warm and inviting smile. Since the skill to persuade is a pillar of merchant-collections management, upping your smile power can do a lot to move those past-due receivables to the ‘paid-in-full’ column.

While it’s true most collection activity revolves around the telephone, smiling operates on more than one frequency. A smile transmits cheer both in person and over the phone. Here’s yet another interesting fact: Facial muscles strongly impact an individual’s feelings. Try it. Make a frown and keep it while you go about your daily activities. You’ll soon find it really does affect your mood.

Scientists have discovered smiling is a powerful gesture, indeed. In fact, research has demonstrated that presenting a genuine smile can be as potent to a person’s psyche as receiving a wad of cash! It’s one small but important tool to moving a slow pay to the current column.

To boost your smile power, begin with the mirror test. Don’t trust your feelings. Trust the image you see reflected in the looking glass. You need to focus mindfully on those facial muscles. Now form a smile. Freeze that expression and look into the mirror. What is the quality of your smile? Look at your image objectively. Are you actually frowning instead of smiling?

The truth is, your looking-glass self may not match your internal self at all. Have someone take a series of photographs of you while you go about your normal activities of interacting with others, particularly while you are on the phone. Try to ignore the camera. Then take a peek at those images. Does your internalized self-image match those photographs?

If not, practice will make perfect. Spend a few minutes a day focusing on the image you want to project to those past-due account holders. Keep at it until that mental image in your mind matches the one you are actually projecting to those around you.

Keep in mind that all this talk of practicing smiles is not about being disingenuous — in fact it’s just the opposite. It’s about accurately projecting the authentic feelings and the persona that reflect your ‘best’ self while you are on the job.

Now that you’ve peered deeply into your smile power, aim to put that best face forward. Tune up that convincing smile, and then bring those past-due accounts current. That will give you a definite reason to break out into a smile!

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