How many times have you said to your spouse “are you listening…did you hear me…did you hear what I said?” Or to your children “did you hear me…did you hear what your father said?” Too often we are so worried about getting our turn to speak or are formulating our response that we fail to truly listen to what the other party is saying. How much technology has affected our communication skills can be debated; for example social networking is all about transmitting and not receiving…or listening. Sure we all listen but did we hear what was being said?
In the realm of professional collections, the art of listening is a necessary skill. Too many times collectors call demanding money without ever giving the debtor the opportunity to explain their current situation. Maybe the debtor has a valid verifiable reason for being delinquent. As such, it would be beneficial for your client to listen to what the debtor has to say so that you may effectively evaluate the true collectability of the claim and what actions may be necessary to either assist or persuade the debtor to make payments towards the outstanding balance owed. In addition, many collection matters are settled upon the first attempt by the collector for no other reason than they took the time to listen to their client and then the debtor and discovered nothing more than a “miscommunication” which may have been avoided if the two parties LISTENED to one another.
It is just as imperative that you listen intently to what your clients have to say. Failure to do so may result in the inappropriate handling of their claim, resulting in the loss of a debtor that they may have wished to maintain a business relationship with.
In today’s society many professionals are too busy talking instead of listening. Intended or not, many professionals convey a narcissistic attitude conveying that “no opinion or view is as informed as mine.” It’s that very attitude of “no one knows better than me” that leads to the failure to hear what the other person has to say. Perfecting and mastering the ability to truly listen can enhance your relationships not only on a personal level but definitely on the professional level. In the collection business the most effective approach is to influence human behavior…to plant in the debtor’s mind a flow of thought that passes from attention to interest to desire…and finally to the action wanted…payment of your bill. And how do you achieve this approach? You LISTEN. For by listening to the debtor and responding accordingly you personalize the task at hand and convey a sincere cooperative attempt to help.
The need to talk out our problems and issues is important; having someone listen can make all the difference in the world. A genuine interest in what you have to say…in an empathetic manner. The best form of learning not only about personal relationships but also business relationships is to listen.
Tips for being a Good Listener:
- Show empathy
- Refrain from being judgmental, argumentative or overly competitive
- Have patience while truly paying attention to what is being said
- Respond at the appropriate time asking for clarification or further explanation so as to demonstrate you are intently hearing what they have to say