5 Reasons Good Deals Get Rejected

Whether its the negotiation of a bad debt, debt settlement or salary raise there are several ways to succeed and fail in the negotiation process. It’s one thing to lose a deal because you were just far too hard in the negotiation but sometimes the other side is even rejecting your reasonable offers.  When genuine attempts at negotiating in good faith are failing, you need a new approach. The key to success is understanding why people will sometimes reject even your best offers.

  1. You didn’t help them sell it to their partner

The person on the other side of the table might agree that your offer is reasonable, but they will still reject it if they can’t sell it to their spouse or partner. Your job is not simply to convince the person you’re negotiating with, but to help them be an effective ambassador for you when they are speaking to their partners, or others who have a say in what happens. Keep an eye on all of the people who can influence the negotiation on their side, and help build the case that will allow them to get the buy-in required.

If your talking to the husband then ask is he the one who pays the bills if he says yes you are talking to the decision maker. If not you have to help him sell it to his partner.

  1. The deal makes them look bad

People will often reject even fair and generous offers if accepting them will make them look bad.  For example, even a concession on your part that gives them something they would not have otherwise expected can help them declare victory to their side — or at least help them show that all sides had to give in.

By giving them more time or a bigger discount or paying the mailing costs you help them save face.

  1. You didn’t justify it

It’s not enough that you tell them what you want you have to explain why. No matter how reasonable your proposal may seem to you, if you fail to justify it, there is a good chance it will be rejected. Don’t let your offer speak for itself; tell the story that goes with it. If you want action today then tell them why something must be done today.

  1. You didn’t respect their boundaries

Sometimes the problem is that their hands are truly tied. They would be willing to give you more time to make a decision, but they are facing their own deadline. They would be willing to give you more money up front to seal the deal, but they have financial constraints.

The key here is flexibility:: the more currencies you allow someone to pay you in, the more likely you are to get paid. Find a way to discount this or add value in order to get the deal done.

  1. ABC | Always Be Closing

Why should they agree to one of your requests if this will not seal the deal.  If it is genuinely the case, it can help you to let them know that “this gets the deal done.” Or, offer more time if the person can sign an agreement to act in the future. Getting a pre dated payment fits this perfectly, the debtor can’t pay till the next payday by asking for the post dated check you get the deal closed and give the concession at the same time. The thing to remember is that you don’t always need to make a substantive concession in exchange for the concession you are asking for.

Lighthouse Consulting performs training classes for debt collection and debt settlement agents contact us for more info.

Lighthouse Consulting’s Jamaican Call Centres Provide Disaster Assistance To Hurricane Stricken Collection Agencies in the USA

Following Hurricanes Irma and Harvey many debt collection agencies and many other call centre operations have been disrupted. Yes most had or have a disaster plan and can move seats to another location or maybe another city but this is past a weather disaster, it is actually a much bigger problem for the agencies and call centres pocketbooks. These effected companies will, thanks to their disaster  recovery plans keep servicing their clients but the profits will disappear and if the outage continues the money loss will be the massive disaster that drowns the company in debt.

Lighthouse Consulting is here to provide financial relief to those effected agencies and call centres. 

Lighthouse Consulting can help you open an office in sunny Jamaica and have it up and running in weeks. It will be your office not an outsource situation. I can make it a turnkey operation for you, all you need to provide is staff training, a cloud based system and money. I can even guarantee the cost to be consistent and that cost can be as low as $10 hourly including the staff, computers, internet, chairs, cubicles and everything else needed to do business from the island. Thats just $400 a week per staff member.

This is not just a temporary solution its a business strategy that many collection agencies are embracing. And remember the hurricane season for 2017 will be over in a couple weeks. Lighthouse Consulting has been helping agencies set up their own call centres in  Jamaica over the last 2 years and we have created an ease of entry and a program that handles all the government paperwork for you.

I know you have question so click here to see the 3 most asked questions about Jamaican Call Centres.

Click here to explore the costs in a little more detail

Or just email me at phil@lighthouseconsultinginc.com or call me at 305-853-8773 to get started.

How Do You Pick Out The Great Negotiators In Your Staff? By Their Personality Traits Of Course.

What is it that makes a great negotiator? Why does one person always outperform the others in the staff? Its their personality!

Many articles and books have been written about how to negotiate more effectively but the advice they offer is often difficult to apply.

Research in personality traits provides help in predicting an individual’s ability to negotiate effectively but often the traits are both a benefit and a hindrance at the same time. That isn’t to say people can’t get better at it, but their success will depend on their ability to understand their own and the other party’s personality.

The most influential trait is emotional intelligence. Despite emotional intelligence’s relatively recent appearance in personality traits its one of the highest googled traits today. A recent study by Wharton and MIT professors states that people with higher emotional intelligence are more likely to create  positive mood states in their negotiation counterparts and leave them more satisfied with the outcome of the negotiation.

Emotional intelligence also translates into a favourable  outcome regardless of the objective result. Even more important, emotional intelligence is linked to higher levels of likeablity and self awareness a powerful combination when it comes to difficult negotiations.

Another trait that has shown a strong indication to negotiation skills is a higher IQ.  While one would obviously expect IQ to boost negotiation performance, the research also revealed a more surprising finding: People with higher IQs tend to approach negotiations in a more collaborative way, treating their negotiation counterpart as a partner and embracing win win strategies that lead to both parties satisfaction.

Self-centered people who believe they can “just be themselves” and disregard other people’s needs and desires of them are often praised for their confidence and self-belief. The reality is that those people will miss out on social clues, negative feedback, and the ability to connect. All of this will highly handicap them during a negotiation.

Machiavellianism, a dark-side personality trait associated with a tendency to manipulate and exploit others and behave in risky and antisocial ways, motivates individuals to initiate negotiations and predicts strong negotiation tactics. Evidence suggests that Machiavellians actually do worse in negotiations, perhaps for being overly aggressive.

In order to control our personality, we need to be aware of it, so it is pivotal to understand what our default negotiation tendencies are if we are interested in changing them, or at least inhibiting them during negotiations.

Being aware of your personality will enable you to leverage your own style in situations that are a good fit for it, for talent is largely personality in the right place.

These are all things I teach in training classes with advanced collection agents and lawyers. If you desire more info on the Lighthouse Training and Development Programs contact Phillip W. Duff at phil@lighthouseconsultonginc.com

If Your Afraid Of Getting A Bad Apple Don’t Go To The Barrel Go Directly To The Tree

This is a quote from the movie “Untouchables” and in one part of the movie they were talking about being able to find cops who were not corrupt. Today many creditors, collection agencies and law firms are having trouble with staffing for many reasons, one of the biggest is employees come with too many bad habits. Most companies want to hire experienced debt collectors or at least staff experienced in some type of call center work and that is just like getting an apple from the barrel, it may be a bad apple. The reason that the companies go to the barrel instead of the tree is because they lack a proper and effective training program.

When I go do my consulting and I am in the initial stages I ask about the training programs of the company and I never hear “we have a great program let me show you”. I hear things like “we do a lot of side by side training” or “we have a week long training program that everyone completes”. Why don’t you have a training program I ask, one that is ongoing forever and has the ability to develop the staff not just train them? And they look like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming truck.

The problem lies in the fact that most companies do not believe that the investment in training and development will actually pay off and secondly they just don’t know how to create such an extensive program.

The cost to create the program is actually not the problem for most agencies it’s taking one of the three people who can write it and giving them the 6 months needed to create the program. In most cases the few people in the company with the overall knowledge to write this type document are the people who keep the company running daily. If they cease doing their daily tasks to write the document the company will suffer financially and operationally. What you need a complete program that you can adjust to meet your companies policies.

Well your lucky because Lighthouse Consulting has created extensive staff development programs over the years and we can help you to create one that will reduce your turnover and increase the skill level of your staff.

If you see the value in training and development contact me for a sample of the Lighthouse Staff Development program and you’ll see the value quickly.

Phillip W. Duff 305-853-8773

Anatomy Of A Call Centre Worker In Jamaica

Anatomy Of A Call Centre Worker In Jamaica

The island of Jamaica in the Caribbean houses the largest group of English speaking call centre workers in the Caribbean. The number 2 business in Jamaica is Call centres. Tourism is the number 1 industry but there are an estimated 150,000 call centre workers on the island of just 3 million people. So let me tell you more about that average worker here on the island.

Jamaica is the home to many large call centres and lots more medium and small centres. There are large global call centres like Vistaprint, Xerox, Sutherland Global and many more. They are servicing clients  in English speaking countries all over the world and doing all types of phone campaigns. Technical support, sales, customer service, debt collection and more are performed for clients like AT&T, Amazon, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Fingerhut and even international pizza joints. If it’s a phone and the English language Jamaica is the best place to do business.

Lets look at the average employee of these call centres. 80 percent or more of all call centre workers are female and a high percentage of those females are single parents. Historically women have been the primary call centre workers as the men have cultural differences that make it more difficult for them to conform to the standards required by working for a centre. The women have children to support so they, like most mothers across the world will do whats required to support their family. The majority of the men resist the culture change required to stay employed as a call centre worker. Uniforms, time clocks, and lots of rules and regulations deter the average male from the centres but that is changing drastically in the last 5 years. I believe this adoption by males to work at call centres will continue.

The average call centre worker enters the work force after high School so the average age worker is probably 21-24 years old. Many of the workers are 18-19 years of age. Call centres require lots of pre employment screening and testing as well as “good scores” or high grades in High School in related classes and skills. The high schools have curriculum that directly relates to things like english language proficiency, math skills, reading and more to better serve the call centre industry. The island is aligned to serve the tourists and the call centre as its accounts for a large percentage of the total economy.

The average worker does not have a car, in fact most Jamaicans do not have a car its a society of taxis and buses. The average worker lives 45 minutes to one hour away but may require a 2 hour commute daily with multiple taxis involved. Transportation is cheap because its all shared rides so the taxi is always full with other workers but the average worker spend 10-20% of their daily income on transportation.

Call centre workers are generally started at a entry level pay rate. Once they are trained and productive they can easily make much more than that. Most call centres have bonus plans and good benefits like day care, insurance and more. One of the issues that is experienced on the island is late or sick staff but it can be managed if you understand the staffs motivation and work to teach them better habits. It’s cultural to be late so it takes some work to overcome, Island time is the mentality.

Lets talk attitude and dreams. The average worker has a great attitude and dreams of owning a home and car. They want a better life for their children. They see so many things getting better, they see opportunity, they have a vision of a better island. Remember that they have only been governing themselves since 1962. Its a young government and young country.

Overall the workers are very trainable, have great attitudes and want to work and grow as employees and as citizens.

Three Top Trends In Debt Collection Contacts

The debt collection industry is designed to contact the consumers and disposition the accounts. If the consumer was convinced to pay the account ,that is the desired disposition but no matter if the the disposition is deceased, bankrupt or other statuses the purpose of the contact is to disposition the account. So what are the three top contact trends to get that disposition posted?

As the top operational consultant in the debt collection industry since 2001 I have seen many agencies and law firm strategies to collect and contact consumers. Once the consumer has been identified and the initial talk off is executed what are the three most likely scenarios for that contact?

The first is that the debtor will say “I do not have the money”. 

Well we are all very used to that one but whats the best way to handle that rebuttal? What Lighthouse Consulting teaches is to just listen till you hear something better from the consumer. If the collector has performed the talk off correctly then the last thing said by him or her was something close to “My client shows a balance of $1.234.56 dollars and they desire it paid in full today, how would you like to pay this bill today by card or check?”.

Most collectors cannot just listen to the consumer they prefer to talk but if a collector is trained to ask for the payment in full and just push the mute button till he/she hears a payment offer it’s a game changer.  If the collector can listen long enough he can easily move to the next scenario by the debtor making any kind of offer of repayment.

Most consumers will first say I have no money, then if the collector is still quiet they will give a reason for their non payment and if still nothing from the collector they will offer a small token repayment offer. Now you move to the next scenario. The trick is getting that collector to make the request for payment in full and just listen.

The second scenario is most likely to be “I can pay you $10 a month”. 

Once you have gotten the consumer to offer any repayment plan its all up to how well you can negotiate the deal. This is what the debt collector is looking for, a willing consumer. Now the trick is to gather enough info from the consumer that will lead you to methods of repayment such as a 401K, available line of credit, deferred car payment or other way to pay the bill or negotiate the best possible arrangement or repayment.

The last most likely scenario is “I don’t owe that bill”. 

This is much harder to deal with than the two above rebuttals as you have to try to get the real story so you can determine if its a real, legit dispute, a lie or a partial dispute. Handling disputes is very important and requires a patient debt collector who is able to and willing to listen to the dispute. The biggest job at this point is clearly to document the issue and either use docs already provided by the client to get to the real truth and settlement or to send the details to the client for further documentation of the debt.

So what does all this mean, whats the takeaway? Well in my opinion It reenforces the fact that quality training is required in todays marketplace. If you need more information on The Lighthouse Consulting Collector Training Program contact us at 305-853-8773.

It’s Good To Be Crazy, It Opens Up So Many More Options

I have been called many things in my career and crazy was included. I have always looked at problems differently even when I was a child. My first job at age 15 was in a donut shop and I told the owner on the second day of my employment that he should move the machines closer together to reduce the mess on the floor and reduce lost icing which is what was all over the floor that was my job to clean. Of course he looked at me with the eyes of an adult being told what to do by a snotty nosed kid that was working for $2.25 hourly. But two weeks later he moved the equipment just as I suggested.

It was quite crazy to tell your boss how to run his business but thats what I have been doing ever since. As a consultant to the debt collection industry my job is to tell successful business owners how they can be more successful. To tell them how they can improve their processes and strategies to reduce costs and increase collections. You have to be crazy to tell a collection agency owner how he has left money on the table, how he has failed in spite of his success. Its a fine line.

But the truth is doing debt collection the way we were all taught by the masters will no longer work. The business has changed so much that just making the calls will not result in the best results. You have to have a strategy and and great technology in place.

What I find in most engagements is that the agency has the view of the technology they need but they do not have the expertise to set up the strategies. For example most agencies have realised that a self cure strategy must exist so they spent lots of time looking at online payment sites and then picked one because of some features they saw in the demo. But when they set up the technology and begin to use it they do not get the results they are looking for. The problem is in most cases the way they set up the technology. The most common mistake I see starts with the login for the debtor. Recently when looking at a new clients pay site records I noticed that 45% of the people who came to the site abandoned because they could not log in. They agency was requiring that the debtor have the account number to login and many debtors did not have the letter in front of them. Also most of the debtors were on cell phones and the site was clunky on a cell phone interface. I had them change the login to their last name and last 4 of their SSN and the abandonment rate reduced to 8% from 45%.

So todays strategies are outside the box we were taught by the masters. They also include things that the old school collectors never imagined, emails, voice mail drops, messages on hold music, text messages, social media and so much more. Creating all these stratagies to get the debtor to login and pay online are new to the industry and do not fit the methods of normal debt collection. What should the email say and not say? Is it best to dunn the debtor with an email or just lightly push them to login and explore payment options? This is where you need a professional.

I practically invented self cure and I have been helping agencies to set up the surrounding strategies that drive that debtor to the payment site. The wording and timing of emails, voice mail drops and other communications that follow a specific strategy are the most effective. I have been doing this longer than anyone so my failures have now driven my success in this field. I had to get crazy to figure the best strategies as the traditional collection tactics I was taught decades ago were not effective.

The second biggest mistake is not setting up the reporting to evaluate the strategies. If the debtor was sent a letter, received 2 phone messages and a voice mail drop which one was the strategy the made them go online and pay the balance in full? You need to know that to evaluate the strategies. Most pay sites are not connected to your system in a manner that these straggles are identified to a reporting system. I can help you cover those gaps so you can get the data.

Are you getting the best results you can from your self cure strategies? Need a tune up? Lighthouse Consulting is the answer. Just a 5% increase in online payments can mean thousands of dollars of profit more each week for most agencies.

Give Phillip w. Duff a call at 305-853-8773 for more info my services.

Problems with hiring quality staff? This works like crazy!

As a consultant I have my finger on the pulse of the debt collection industry but even a layman can see that hiring staff is the biggest hurdle in the US today. The $12-$15 hourly employee in the US is a difficult group to hire and train. First they really don’t want an entry level job and they feel they already know everything so training is tough.

Many of my clients come to me to solve this issue and I tell them It’s a social issue not a business issue. I can’t fix the world, I can’t fix the way these employees grew up, but I can fix the problem.

Yes I can fix it by inserting a different culture of staff. Now your wondering where in the United States I will find a different culture than what seems to exist in every City and State in the US. Well the new dilute is not in the US it’s in Jamaica. These employees have none of the same sense of entitlement of the US staff. The staff in Jamaica are happy to have a job and want to be trained.

Lets back up some now. Call Centres are the second largest industry on the island of Jamaica. Vistiprint, Xerox, Fingerhut, AT&T, Verizon, Direct TV and hundreds more have call centres here. Why you ask, great labor rates, great staff and English speaking. Honestly its the ROI. So the idea of a call centre here is not a new idea and the staff have been working different campaigns for decades.

So how do you take advantage of this labor pool without having to figure out the new culture and a new country to do business in? Lighthouse Consulting Jamaica can provide a turn key solution to you as cheap as $10 hourly including labor, technology and support. Yes for just $10 hourly you can get;

An employee

Computer station

Hi speed Internet connection

Cubicle

Chair

IT support

HR support

So thats an all in cost of just $1600 a month per seat. So that collector has to collect just $1600 in fee to break even. I bet your number in the US is 3X to that number or closer to $5000.

All this and the staff are really more trainable and more willing to work. This is how you solve your staffing problems.

Now your saying “but my clients won’t let me outsource to another country”. Well its not outsourcing the way I help you set this up its your office, you own it. Lighthouse is just your landlord, IT and HR support. The office is in your name, Ill show you how to set up everything you need to open your satellite office in Montego Bay or Kingston, Jamaica.

Call Phillip W. Duff now for more info at 305-853-8773.

My Life In Jamaica And The Heat Of Summer

Well its July in the Caribbean and its hot, not as hot as it’s been in the Western US but it is hot. In Jamaica air conditioning is a luxury not a expectation. Homes here traditionally have AC units only in the bedrooms. Most locals have no AC as electricity is one of the more expensive things on the island. There are no natural resources to burn to run electric plants so Jamaica ships in natural gas from the US to run its plants.

So since my last post lots has happened and a lot more has just gotten delayed in government circles. I have been trying to get all my local docs such as a drivers licence and it is just a big circle of bureaucracy. So to get a new bank account open I needed to register with the NIS office, the National Insurance Scheme. I gathered my local friend/guide and proceeded to the NIS office to get the simple doc which I was told only required proof of your birth to get. I had had my guide go to the NIS office the Friday before to make sure what was required so as not to waste a trip. The following Tuesday we went to the office and it had moved and no-one knew where the government office had moved to. We kept asking people in Sam Sharpe square in Downtown Montego Bay where the NIS office was located a couple days earlier and got a lead as to the new offices location.

Upon arriving at the address given we found a hardware store that reminded me of a big Ace Hardware or a small Home Depot. We abandoned that search and moved on to the next thing on the list buying a TV that I will use as a computer screen at my home office. While we were there we called the NIS office and got no answer. But the guy in the store had a cousin that worked there and called her cell phone to find out that the office was really inside the hardware store from before. We proceeded back to the hardware store and located the temporary office, they are remodelling the one in Sam Sharpe Sq. but they had no phones or computers and could not help me get a NIS card, they suggested I return in a week or so. Welcome to Jamaica.

I was able to get the card in just 20 minutes while visiting Kingston the next week but the drivers license is still in the works. I am getting used to all the delays and hurdles as well as its now my expectation it will take a long time to complete anything so when something happens easily I am surprised and if it takes all day I am prepared as I blocked out the whole day and brought water and snacks.

I spent lots of time last week listening to recordings of the collectors for a particular project that is about 6 weeks into production and was very impressed with the staffs skills. They are performing very well kudos to the clients trainers that came down from the US.

Well Sumfest http://reggaesumfest.com is starting, its the biggest Reggae event in the world, 7 days of music and partying. Its based in Montego Bay so I expect lots of traffic and crazy US and Canadian tourists. Its good for the city in many ways but I like that everything is getting cleaned and painted for the event. It seems like some of these areas only get this attention annually but it really helps the look of the city. All the businesses have new signage, streets are cleaned and curbs have fresh yellow paint. This years festival is the biggest ever.

So if your following this blog your likely interested in agents in Jamaica and this blog shows how valuable my program is by guiding you through all the government hurdles and keeping your costs level even if things like the electric bill increases drastically. No matter what happens your costs are consistent with my program. Call me to learn how you can have staff and overhead in Jamaica at just $10 hourly.

Where’s the elephant hiding in your business?

When I first began helping my clients open up their collection offices in Jamaica it became apparent that that the obvious is often hidden. The problem its hidden from us by our own prejudices and things we have always been told. About a year ago a girl on the island said to me in answer to simple question something that has stuck with me and fits so many situations on the island. She stated “It’s cheaper to buy 50 paint brushes than a paint machine”.

What was meant by the statement? Well in Jamaica labor is cheaper than a machine and it does not require gas, maintenance and does not break down. As Americans involved in the debt collection business we know that the biggest line item on your P&L is labor. We have always been taught this and we believe it but the truth is “Its the Elephant hiding in your business strategies”.

hidden elephant_4ac1e49e108f3.jpg

Labor is cheap and ultra effective in Jamaica. The call centre industry is booming and has been the number two industry on the island for decades. Tourism in number one of course but Xerox, Vistaprint, AT&T and many more American call centres are based in Jamaica. There is said to be 1 call centre worker for every 10 people. The Jamaican staff that I can help you hire are very trainable unlike their US counterparts. The staff being hired in the US as collectors these days are difficult at best but you already know that.

If you own or run a collection operation in the US you should call me to discuss how you can reduce that labor line item and gain a better staff member at the same time. I can help you set up seats for as little as $10 USD per hour, per seat. That means you just need to recoup $400 in fee to pay the costs for a weeks work and facility charges. After that your in the profits on the total costs. The great thing is that for the $10, I’m including the internet connection, computer equipment, IT, HR and cubes in that cost. It is all inclusive!

Come down and look around. Let me show you other shops. Look and you will be doing business in Jamaica. Ya Mon!