Hypnotize someone on the phone? Really?
I’ve been skip tracing for so many years that I can read a voice, a hesitation, calmness, and agitation and with that observation precisely predict how much work I’ll need to invest to the job done. I know I’ve at least earned my honorary degree in psychology, and you probably have too if you’ve been skip tracing difficult cases where assets are hidden and you have to find those assets after you’ve found your skip.
A most recent and humorous encounter with a woman whose husband (my debtor) died last January said that she never knew he had a Cadillac. She was defensive and hostile with her choice of words and tone. She actually said that her husband must have had a woman on the side insinuating that the car was for some other skirt, and she was mad about it. Not really though, he’s had the car for six years and titled it to the same home they shared together.
Smoke and mirrors right?. The key to dealing with difficult people is to unemotionally state your reason for calling, let them say their piece and then proceed to give a moment of silence.
A silent moment to a defensive person puts them in the frying pan.
When you stop speaking the other person will be psychologically compelled (tricked!) into speaking to you simply to fill the void. Most of the time they’ll end up giving you the information you’ve set out to get in the first place, if only just a tid-bit.
In this case, the wife knows she’s on the hook for this car, and it’s not hers. I’ve worked so hard to find her and l have no intentions of leaving her alone until the moment she surrenders my client’s collateral. I really hope she buys herself a new car because she’s driving a dead man’s Cadillac that’s out for repossession.
Seriously, excuses are like elbows. Everybody has two (yes I cleaned that one up).
Over the years I’ve developed an unconscious habit of continuing on with my “speak” when I get double talked. I was called out on this trick just a few weeks ago by a repo agent and I know it’s a direct result of dealing with difficult people in high-volume over the phone. If someone is yelling or talking over me then they’re probably lying. Shakespeare said it first. Me thinks thou lady doeth protesteth too much!
My way of straight-forward interjections has evolved into a completely non-confrontational tone. Trust me, when you get no success for days on end with debtors on the phone, it’s difficult not to take it personally. We all need some success to keep the skip tracing collection’s mojo going. Seeing that difficult times have taught debtors to work harder to keep possession of a vehicle with every good intention of getting the note caught up or the entire account paid all the way off.
Put your subject at ease by asking them how they are doing before you tell them who you are and why you’re calling. Being calm and kind gets cooperation. Even it it’s not right at that very moment your non-threatening approach will pay off.
This idea is proven to me time and time again when I make phone contact with a debtor after sending a repo truck to knock a door on a brand new address and then see brand new auto finance inquiries pop up on the debtor’s credit report. The “impartial speak” works for me most of the time. I can’t solve every case or find every car, but I never give up. I keep finding addresses, sending mail, sending repo trucks and calling every couple of days, even if I can only get a voice mail, I leave one.
Texting? Occasionally if the voice mail is full. I’ll text “Call me.”
I think that skip tracing auto repossessions has shown me that people are good. The intention is not to get a free car to drive but to buy time until they can right the wrong that’s prevented them from staying current on a car note. Sans fraud, of course.
When I ask debtors if they want to pay for the car or if they want to return it to the finance company I usually get an honest answer. You’ll hear what they really hope for, if they’re job hunting or if tax returns are about to help them get back on track. Every once in a while I do get thanked for being so kind.
Crazy skip trace secret that gets me return phone calls…
Instead of sending letters to debtors in a regular #10 envelope, I send a padded bubble mailer with a shipping label. Not only does this get me tracking to see if the package was delivered, I can also require a signature that proves someone at that address received my mail. This isn’t needed for any legal process, just to get the debtor to call me. People want their packages!
Author of Skip Trace Secrets: Dirty little tricks skip tracers use…