After almost 20 years in debt collection and having collected over $50 million dollars, I like to think I know what I am doing. Lucky for you special people, our next few posts are going to teach you all our secret methods and techniques, of which there are hundreds. In no particular order, here is number 253: The Guilt Trip!
I am often asked if “guilting” someone into paying their debt works. My answer is always the same- ABSOLUTELY. If it gets you your money, then that is a good thing right? I do preface this however by recommending it is used as a bit of a last resort. Making someone who is genuinely struggling feel even worse is not encouraged, so always try and work with them, offer payment plans etc first. For those who are just ignoring you though and not showing any intention of paying, make them feel guilty. They should feel bad. You have gone out of your way to help them, provided a product or service exactly as requested and you have not been paid a cent for your troubles. As for how you word your guilt trip, something like this works a treat:
“To be honest, I am so incredibly disappointed that you still haven’t paid. Not angry, just disappointed. I thought you were one of the good guys, who does what they say, whose word means something and who pays their debts. Clearly I was wrong. Anyway, if you change your mind and do want to do the right thing and pay, you know where I am. I just hope by then it’s not too late”.
Clearly this is a very personal message which will incite all sorts of emotions, but being owed money is emotional. You cannot escape that. By not paying you, they are almost devaluing you as a person and as a business. It doesn’t get more personal than that. It is because of this personal edge that this works though. Generic demands get ignored and deleted. Personal requests that touch a nerve get a response. Try it and see next time.