The Lesson

Negotiating is a part of life. Although we might not realize it, each of us uses negotiating skills many times each day. We negotiate with our spouse when deciding what’s for dinner and with our kids when it is time for chores. Sometimes we even find ourselves negotiating with our neighbor over which lawn her Teacup Yorkie should be using as the bathroom.

Another thing that we might not realize is that we use a certain type of negotiating style based on our concern for the outcome of the conversation and our concern for the relationship with the other party. (I recently wrote about these two concerns in my post Two Reasons You Can’t Afford to Overlook Negotiating Styles.) There are five negotiating styles: Defeat, Withdraw, Accommodate, Compromise, and Collaborate.

As collection professionals, we negotiate more than most. It is what we do. It’s how we get paid. In a given day, we might find ourselves negotiating with dozens of consumers for payment. Sometimes these conversations are easy, sometimes they are downright difficult.

The better we are at negotiating, the more likely a decision will be reached in our favor. The more ineffective we are, the more likely it is that Princess will continue to use our front lawn.

Since we want to collect more money, close more deals, and keep Princess on her own turf, it makes sense that we should focus on increasing our awareness of both good and bad negotiating techniques in order to master the good stuff while weeding out the bad.

The Challenge

A common mistake that collectors often make is heading into each call thinking it’s a debate. The “survival of the fittest” mindset kicks in and the call becomes a battle of wills. There can only be one winner, and the collector wants to achieve victory at all costs.  There are times when this style (Defeat) might seem like the only option, but chances are a different style (e.g., Collaborate) can produce the same, if not better, result.

This week as you head into each call, remember that it is not a debate. It’s a chance to help a fellow human being overcome a serious financial setback. Instead of thinking you are competing against the consumer, try seeing yourselves as teammates working together to score a touchdown with only thirty seconds left in the championship game.

For more information on unlocking your personal negotiating style, consider joining me for a live 90-minute assessment-based webinar on June 3 or 17. Additional details about the time, costs, and assessment process can be found here.

The Reflection

What do you find most difficult about working with consumers who are not willing to collaborate in order to reach a win-win solution?

You can share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Gary Jensen
Editor | collector mentor

To download companion worksheets to use with The collector mentor Challenge™, please visit

About collector mentor
Published bimonthly, collector mentor is a quick-read publication dedicated entirely to delivering articles and practical advice that teaches credit and collection professionals how to increase collection results, enhance productivity, improve teamwork, and become better stewards of the industry.

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