Most people would prefer not to confront their debtors face-to-face. However, as the following story demonstrates, it is the most effective method of collection. (As told by Martin Sher.)
I received a frantic call from a business friend of mine. One of her customers was several weeks past due on a bill for $80,000, and she didn’t know what to do. Her debtor was located nearby, so I suggested that she go see him in person. She reported back to me a couple of days later.
The customer was surprised to see her, but was very nice. He bragged about how his business had grown and took her on a tour of his factory. He explained that his fast growth had caused him to be short of cash, but promised to mail her a check within a week or two.
I recommended she make a follow-up note for two weeks later, and if he didn’t pay as promised, she should go back and see him again. She groaned, but said she would.
She called me a few weeks later and was as excited as if she had won the lottery. In a sense she had. He didn’t pay as he had agreed, but she followed my advice and went back to see him. He wrote her a check for the full amount on the spot.
Was it worth $80,000 to personally visit the man?
You bet it was.
Sometimes it’s best to surprise your debtor. Other times you might want to call in advance. If you are unable to contact your debtor ahead of time, you might consider leaving a message specifying the date and time you will visit. Make sure you bring all the proper documentation with you so you can prove exactly how much is owed.