Communicating to Influence

26 05 2011

Communication skills are an essential part to influencing others.  In order to encourage prospective clients, your boss, or even your coworkers, that your thoughts and ideas are important, a number of aspects need to be considered when communicating.  Most of human interactions are nonverbal.  Here are some tips for consciously improving your communication. 

1.  Body Language and Tone of Voice:

Your mood is visible through your voice and posture.  When you are feeling good, your speech tends to be more animated and you appear more confident in your self and therefore your message.  To appear more confident even when feeling blue make a conscious effort to animate your voice and raise your posture.    

2. Bad or Distracting Habits:

Nervous habits can be distracting and therefore detrimental to your message.  Things such as finger fidgeting, touching your face or hair, or jangling coins in your pockets all are distracting attention away from your message.

3. Be an Active Listener:

If you can listen and interpret what your listener really wants, you will be able to arrange your words in a way that fits to his or her needs.

4. Be Confident but NOT Arrogant:

You want to come across strong and confident. You want to be confident that you know your message, but overconfidence can come across as egotistical.  Pay attention to your vocabulary and energy levels during your presentation to avoid crossing this line.

There are many aspects of communication.  Learning and adapting your communication style is an important step in enhancing your influence over people.  Verbal and non verbal communication can either make or break your message.





Recap of 2010: Credit

1 02 2011

The year set a record for property foreclosures in the U.S. The number was 2,871,891 property foreclosures. That is an astounding 23% increase from 2008.  And they said things were getting better?

Statistics, by RealtyTrac:

  • 2.23% of all housing units received at least 1 foreclosure filing in 2010
  • December recorded 257,747 foreclosure filings on US properties – a decrease of about 2% from November and 26% from last year in December.
  • Nevada ranked in as the state with the highest foreclosure rate in the country for the 4th year in a row; Arizona being the 2nd highest for the second year in a row.
  • California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Arizona made up 51% of the country’s total foreclosure activity in 2010.

Another interesting thing to point out that happened in 2010 concerns credit scores and credit card debt. The average credit scores of US consumers fell by 1 point since last year, but the credit card debt also fell by 8% to about $7,000. Credit card companies would be pleased to know that by the end of 2010,  Did US consumers begin to make payments for their debts and thus stabilize their credit scores or was more debt just written off?

It turned out that six cities in the US experienced a greater decline in credit scores than the average of the rest of the nation. For instance, Chicago, Houston, and New York City had a 2-point drop. Los Angeles and San Francisco had a 3-point drop. Philadelphia had a 4-point drop. Are these the cities with high unemployment one might wonder.

If you live in Massachusetts or New Jersey, keep up the good work. These states have the highest national credit scores, averaging 686. However, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina have an average score of 650 or lower.

Additional information concerning  average consumer spending in 2010 (holding a bank account), by CreditKarma.com:

  • home mortgage loans – decline of 4% to $173,340
  • home equity – decline of 4% to $49,803
  • auto loans – increase of 4% to $15,274
  • student loans – increase of 10% to $29,016

All of these statistics points to one thing. Businesses and Consumers alike are picking and choosing who they will pay and when they will pay. If someone owes you money become the squeaky wheel! Those who sit back and wait will do just that..they will wait and wait and wait to get paid what is owed to them. Picture your customer sitting in front of their desk with a one foot high pile of bills to be paid and a 6 inch pile of money to pay . A decision is made as to who will get paid. Make sure it is you!

Stay tuned for more blogs by Butler, Robbins & White.





Seven Ways to Stand Out At Work

14 01 2011

1. Control your image. This not only includes your clothing style but your self image as well. You should always dress appropriately for your job. You should have self confidence in the work you are doing and believe that you can accomplish the job at hand.

2. Communicate Effectively. Listen actively to understand what you are being told. When you are speaking, speak clearly. Avoid negativity and pay attention to yours and others body language. Be sure to show interest.

3. Improve your leadership skills. Motivate others by giving reinforcement, teach others, give enthusiasm, and pass up leadership in areas where someone else is better suited than you.

4. Maintain Integrity and Digression. Practice ethical behavior and use your common sense. Do not take credit for others work or pretend to know something when you don’t. Do not lie you want to be trustworthy. Be discreet about what you say and who you say it to.

5. Learn From Mistakes. It is okay to admit your faults and let it go. Do not blame others. Be rational and do not make false assumptions. If you do not know something it is okay.

6. Adjust to Change. Technology and organizational functions are constantly changing. Be flexible and accepting of change.

7. Manage your Time. Planning, prioritizing, and getting organized is a good tool to stay on track and to avoid wasting time. Do not take too long to take advantage of a good opportunity.





New Years Resolution for 2011: Five Ways to improve you collections from 2010 to 2011

14 12 2010
  1. Develop an approval process to reduce the number of problem accounts. Only extend credit to those who pass your approval process. This may include getting a background and asset check before accepting them as your customer. Once you accept a customer, you may want to consider the following:
  • Possibly getting a credit card to secure payments.  Next to cash payments, this is an effective way to ensure the customer is committed to paying you.
  • Consider setting in a Progress Payment Plan for work in progress or Contract Sales.  For example, 15% at placement of order, 40% after 60 days, etc. to lighten the tightness of cash flow and lower the payment for the customer.
  • Set a credit limit for every customer.
  1. Get Deposits. In Large orders, produce to orders, and custom orders, getting a non-refundable deposit of 10-50% of the final price ensures the customers commitment to pay.
  2. Do not wait too long before you attempt to collect. The grace period past the due date should only be about 2 business days.  After that is it time to contact your customer to let them know that you are on top of things.  The longer you wait the less chance you have of collecting. Be friendly with the first reminder.  If your customer still does not pay after you continually contact them, consider hiring a debt collection agency, and FAST!
  3. Document any contact you have with your customers.  Always start a conversation with the terms of the original agreement to let your customer know that you are going to be on top of the issue until the bill is paid.
  4. Be fair and firm.  Creating templates of scripts of what you will say is a great way to be sure that you stay calm and friendly when trying to get your customer to pay.




Small Business Loans for 2011 Unlikely: Businesses turn to Collections for Cash

3 12 2010

Cash is needed in order for any business to operate.  In the past it was easier for Banks to lend money in order for the business to continue operating but since banks have tightened up giving loans to small businesses, many have been forced to max out their credit cards carrying further debt into 2011. Businesses will continue to need economic relief. The question is “where will it come from?”

 

Fico claims that banks as Lenders may not be able to meet the credit demands of small businesses seeking relief in the future.  59% of those surveyed expect small businesses to request a higher amount of credit over the next six months, but less than 37% expect lenders to increase the amount of credit given to those small businesses.

 

According to Standard & Poor’s Data, only four companies last month received leveraged loan covenant relief for a total of $883 million in leveraged loans.  This is the lowest amount of relief given since February 2008.

 

S&P expects covenant relief activity to be high in the beginning of 2011 as checks due to lender agreements from 2008 and 2009 are paid.  But as the year goes on, businesses may not be able to get relief from banks.

 

Until problems in mortgage portfolios are solved and private sector employment grows, the gap between credit demand and credit supply is unlikely to close. Along with this, the number of failing banks is increasing as well.  In 2010, 141 banks failed, making it the worst year ever, and this list is expected to continue to grow.

 

With banks unable to loan money, small businesses will seek other ways to generate cash to operate.  THERE IS A SOLUTION.  Businesses can rely on Commercial Collections professionals to recoup lost cash flow from customers who have not paid. Although times continue to be hard professional B2B collection agencies have the tools, the staff and the expertise to put your receivables on the TOP of their bills to be paid.

 

Caine & Weiner reported that out of the businesses surveyed, 57.5% plan to place accounts for collection in order to generate cash and the sooner the better. Credit and Collection managers also plan to reduce credit lines given to clients and to initiate collection sooner in order to protect their accounts receivables and generate money as banks are unable to offer financial relief in the upcoming year.

 

The bottom line is that businesses can no longer continue to be their customer’s bank and CFO’s; Controllers and Credit Managers must be more proactive in 2011. It can be argued that revenue generation is the most critical function of a company.  However, that revenue must be converted into cash.  Cash is the lifeblood of any company.  Every dollar of a company’s receivable must be managed and collected.





Smart Questions to Ask A Corporate Collection Agency

24 09 2010

A collection agency can become an important partner for any business in helping to recoup debts owed the business from past due clients when all other attempts and options have proved futile. Because the collection agency your business hires is in effect representing you, there are several smart questions to ask a potential agency in order to select one that is reputable as well as effective.

The first question to ask is how long the collection agency has been in business and at their present location. You want an agency that has a good track record and that has been in business long enough to show that they are professionals who get the job done to their clients’ satisfaction.

Another smart question to ask is how many collection agents they have on their staff and how are they trained. Find out if one or more collection agents are assigned to your account. Ask the collection agency if they expect their staff members to be professional and courteous at all times, both attitudes which can only help you in the long run.

Ask how easy the collection agency makes it for the debtor to reach them, either by phone or in person or email and even thru social media such as Linkedin, Facebook and even Twitter. Find out if they offer debtors a toll-free number for returning their calls, making it easier for a cash-strapped debtor to call back and discuss the situation rather than avoiding the call because they cannot afford to make a long-distance or toll call to the collection agency.

Ask if the agency is computerized and how often they report the status of your account to you.

Ask if the agency will provide client referrals or testimonials from others in your same type of business. Ask what sort of fees they charge you to collect monies owed and if you must sign a contract to retain their services and how long is it binding on both parties.

Ask a prospective collection agency how they ensure that they are following all state and local laws and regulations regarding collection.

Ask how long the collection agency works at trying to obtain your money from past-due accounts and how they determine when to advise you to start legal proceedings against deadbeat clients.

Have a question? Call us now.

Butler, Robbins and White has been in business for 30 years and we are on standby now to help increase your business’ cash flow. Call now at 1800-749-1969 or email us your contact information to new_client@brwcollect.com