The Collection Call GPS

| Mary Shores

Collectors: this one is for you!

Have you ever wondered how to navigate a collection call from start to finish, no matter what roadblocks, stalls, or objections come up?

It may seem impossible. After all, we can’t predict how a consumer will react.

I’m going to make a bold statement: it is possible, and in today’s blog post, I’m going to show you what I like to call the collection call GPS—a foolproof plan to get through any collection call as long as you have the right resources.

The trick is to think of stalls and objections as chances to recalculate your route. Simply pivot and change your desired solution each time the consumer brings up a pain point.

It’s one thing for me to tell you to recalculate. The question is, how do you actually do it? Let me explain the collection call GPS to you step by step so you can get started right away.





Step 1: Become Familiar with the Tools at Your Fingertips

As a collector, you have several tools at your fingertips that can be easy to overlook in the heat of the moment.

These tools include…

  1. The 8 Steps of the Collection Call

  2. Company call scripts

  3. 5 types of questions

The one big thing I want you to know is that each of these tools is designed specifically to keep your collection calls on track.

ACA International designed the 8 Steps of the Collection Call to give beginner collectors a roadmap to get through a call. Think about it: if you’ve never collected money before, you would likely have no idea where to begin. The 8 Steps give you a starting place and tips to move the call along.

Company call scripts are also just as effective as the 8 Steps. While the 8 Steps give you the tools to navigate a typical collection call, call scripts give you an extra boost and empower you to respond to common pain points. Without pre-scripted pain points, you’re left trying to solve problems in real-time. This might be easy for veteran collectors with seasoned instincts. The problem is that new hires and less experienced collectors can feel overwhelmed when unfamiliar pain points arise. Scripts give them the power to stay in control of the call.

Finally, the 5 types of questions are important tools as well because they give you opportunities to pivot when the call seems to be going nowhere. Questions give you the power to shift the conversation and get the consumer’s mind off a pain point.

If you’re not sure what the 5 types of questions are, you’re in luck because I’ve written several blog posts centering on the art of asking questions:

  1. The first four types of questions (closed-ended, open-ended, reflective, calibrated)

  2. The fifth type of question (feeling questions that you can use in a crisis)

  3. How to know what type of question to ask

Now that you know a few different tools you can use to navigate collection calls, you can move on to the next step of the collection call GPS, which is to determine your destination.





Step 2: Determine Your Destination

You’re on the call with the consumer. You have your tools ready to go. Now, how do you get from Point A—the beginning of the call—to point B—collecting payment?

You need to determine exactly where you want the call to end up.

For example, I train my collectors to always start with the objective of collecting payment in full.

Pro Tip: When you determine your destination, make sure you believe you can get there. Many collectors will assume the consumer won’t pay in full, and so they won’t even try to get payment in full, or they’ll use passive communication when they ask. If you believe you can get to your destination, you’ll feel more comfortable using active language when communicating with consumers, which automatically increases your odds.

Now let’s move on to step 3, which is all about noticing roadblocks.





Step 3: Notice the Roadblocks

At this point, you have a destination in mind, and you’re guiding the consumer toward that destination. The key in this step is to notice any possible roadblocks.

Does the consumer seem anxious? Frustrated? In a hurry?

Anything you notice that could be a potential roadblock can help you gather the information you need for the next step, so grab a pen and paper and write down everything, even if it seems small. I promise it will be valuable to have these details once you get to the next step!





Step 4: Choose Your Tool

Uh oh, you’ve come across a roadblock! Now what?

Remember how you prepped your tools in step 1? It’s time to put those tools to use!

Because you completed step 1 and familiarized yourself with the tools at your disposal, this step should be easy. Let me walk you through a possible scenario.

Let’s say you’ve asked the consumer for payment in full, and they told you they don’t have enough money right now. The roadblock is that the consumer says they don’t have enough money. Now you need to choose a tool that will move the call forward despite the roadblock.

If your company has a pre-scripted response to this pain point, this is a great opportunity to use it! If not, it may be a work to use one of the five types of questions to gather more information and reroute your call.

Your tool will determine how you're going to pivot the call, so choose wisely!





Step 5: Repeat the Steps as Needed

As you complete these steps, you may need to pivot from your original destination. For example, if you originally set your destination as collecting payment in full and the consumer says “no” to more than three payment in full attempts, you need to determine a new destination and use your tools to navigate toward a payment, even if you’re just setting the consumer up on a high payment arrangement.

Use these five steps on repeat until you reach a solution that both you and the consumer are happy with!

Did you know The Collection Advantage online training program has an entire lesson about the collection call GPS? The good news is, you can purchase an individual login for the course! Check out the details now to get started!

Have you heard the news about Collector.Live! 2022? I’m going to speak about negotiation tactics, and I’d love to see you there. Find more details at

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