If you’ve been following us for any length of time then you know we like to raise money. And yes we do collect money because that our business, but our team also loves to bring in money for several worthy causes and initiatives. From Cancer charities, jumping in a Lake in the middle of the winter for Special Olympics and funding Veterans causes, our team hits a home run every time.

This past April our team participated in the Annual Collector’s Challenge to raise money for the ACA Education Foundation. They raised over $2,300 by paying to dress in casual in the office, a March Madness Bracket event and fun games throughout the office. This brings our total over the past seven years to well over $12,000. Capture

The ACA Education Foundation funds scholarships for those in the credit and collection industry. Why is this important? Well for one, it works to dispel that image of uneducated people trying to collect money. Many in our company have advanced degrees and use them wisely to help create solutions to a person’s debt problems.

The Foundation helps those that want to grow professionally, build a career and make a difference in the industry. These are the types of professionals we like to bring on board here at APR. For those who get scholarships from the foundation, they want to grow and want to contribute. It’s not just another job to them; it’s a career that contributes immensely to our national economy and to a business’s bottom line. In the end, a better educated workforce in the collections industry helps both the business and the consumer by putting more professional individuals in the business of creating solutions to outstanding debt. In our opinion, it’s money put to very good use.

More on the ACA Education Foundation can be found here:

http://www.acainternational.org/about-foundation-92.aspx

When Henry Ford set the 40hour work week precedent in the 1920’s the math made sense. The automotive plants needed to run 24 hours a day to keep up with demand and 12hour shifts were too long for anyone, given the manual labor (work that is physically demanding) he expected from his employees; http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ford-factory-workers-get-40-hour-week Notwithstanding the fact that during the industrial revolution there didn’t exist the many distractions of modern day life, dividing the workday up into three equal, 8hour parts made good sense.40 speed limitation road sign

Any compensation plan based solely on the number of hours worked is wedded to this idea: Wedded to the idea that no individual can work faster or more efficiently than the worker in front of him, and that everyone is or isn’t distracted throughout the day for the same amount of time. Although this may be true in the context of the assembly line (where you quite literally are waiting on the person in front – or behind you – as it were), we can all agree that no two individuals produce the same quality of work at the same pace given the same duration of time.

There is however, a real and measurable difference between cognitive work and physically demanding work. As you would expect, workers performing physically demanding tasks get fatigued and lose their attentiveness the longer the workday is extended. When you look at cognitive work however, not only is there no ‘perceived’ difference in workload with a 12hour vs. 7hour workday, but subjects actually perform better on tasks as they work more hours (Macdonald, Bendak, 2000)! Additionally, as far as scores on ‘discomfort’ are concerned, they are not significantly different for cognitive work from a 7hour to a 12hour workday either. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169814100000159

Speaking of 40hours per week, the average American (although it varies by age group as you would except) watches between 37-40hours per week of television! Even if you are on the low end, chances are you spend an additional 7hours per week surfing the web (see link below). http://uproxx.com/tv/2012/09/the-average-american-watches-more-tv-than-the-average-tv-critic/

When you look at the average individual’s priorities in any given week and couple it with Cyberslacking (see also ‘Goldbricking’), which according to Salary.comis the leading source of wasted time on the job, the results are even more shocking. A 2007 survey found that companies stand to lose 435 million dollars a week (yes, that’s per week) during football season from employees playing fantasy football alone! https://designspike.com/blog/cyberslacking-ticks-time-off-the-workforce-clock/

The majority of employees report spending between 2-5 hours per week surfing the web or otherwise Cyberslacking (think smartphones too). There are many reasons given as to why this occurs, but ultimately they are all rationalizations for the pre-existing behavior, behavior that is counterproductive in the workplace and costly for employers.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2012/07/17/employees-really-do-waste-time-at-work/ Think about that for a minute, with a 40hour a week schedule, the average person is only working 35-38hours per week!

A 40 hour work week is a 20th century idea, that’s the point I’m looking to make. If you are a salary or commission employee ask yourself the following question. Do I only work 40hours a week? If the answer is yes, are you satisfied with your results, is there nothing more you would like to accomplish?

This blog is not an attempt to discredit every employee who works 40hours per week; certainly most people are hard-working individuals which is how they got to where they are. The idea rather, is to bring attention to priorities and distractions. The goal is to shed light on what makes one individual more productive than the next, more profitable than the next, more successful than the next. Working more hours is only a piece of the puzzle. Distractions are another. If your job dictates that you can only work 40hours a week, then spend more energy focusing on reducing distractions and making the most of your time. If, on the other hand, you can work more than 40hours a week, then you should. In doing so, focus equally on reducing distractions and increasing your time investment, and get more out by putting more in.

Here’s what I hold to be true and I think my fellow cohorts at American Profit Recovery would agree. If you want to make more, then work more. If you want to be seen as a leader among your peers, then work harder. If you want to both make more and have the leadership title, then work more and work harder while you work more.

Parting words: Be grateful for what you earn and have the ambition to accomplish more. Revel in your achievements, but dismiss the demon of complacency that is comfort.

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security…all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.”    – Jon Krakauer

National Small Business Week is May 4-8 this year. As a popular saying goes, small business is the backbone of our economy. And if you look at the past several months of Jobs Reports, you don’t need any more proof. Small business has led the way in job growth for many months and the trend continues as our economy gets back on track.SBA_NSBW2015_FINAL_v2

A small business is classified as any business that has under 50 employees. But many small businesses have far less than that. And the resources they need to conduct a whole host of tasks can be limited because many are serving the customer, as they should.

This is far too often the case when it comes to getting some customers to pay on time. In many small businesses, the accounts receivables program can be improved and certain parts of that program can be outsourced.

Here are a few tips for getting your small business receivables back on track:

Good Information: Always obtain good information from anyone your business extends credit to. That can be for a product, any type of service and in the case of medical and dental, it can be a co-pay. Anytime you have to invoice a customer, you are essentially extending credit. See our video on what types of info you should get from a customer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q21b_Kom7BU

Invoice on time: We just can’t say this enough. Many times when we speak with a small business, we find that invoicing can be sporadic. A small business relies heavily on cash flow so it’s vital to make sure that invoicing is done on a regular basis. Whatever that interval is, stick to it.

Get help: By outsourcing your accounts receivables, you can save your small business time, money and a whole lot of headaches. Your staff can focus on making customers happy, you can grow your business and in the process, your cash flow will improve.

For more on our experience with small business, check out a past video we did on the subject.

 

 

April has been designated as Financial Literacy Month. It’s designed to help educate anyone on the practical ways in which we all need to manage our finances. It’s also meant to educate those struggling with various issues of debt and how to navigate their responsibility to those they owe money to. In the video with this post, we have a number of tips that can assist a Financial Literacy on Orange Puzzle.consumer when trying to resolve an issue with a debt collector. It comes straight from one of our veteran collectors and its worth sharing with anyone you know who may need assistance.

As business owners and those charged with the task of accounts receivables, we all know how important it is for consumers to pay for a product or service on time. If not, the business suffers and in some cases, has challenges meeting their obligations; a domino effect.

Each and every one of us has had to pay a debt at some point in our lives. But it’s the manner in which we meet our financial obligations that builds a solid foundation for our financial lives. And as you can imagine as a collection agency, our team deals with a whole host of situations when it comes to late and non-paying consumers.

The short answer when asked how to work with a collection agency is to communicate. When a consumer is willing to communicate with the creditor and work out a resolution, in most cases, the issue is resolved without any further action. And that is a win, win for both the business and the consumer.

We have a number of great suggestions by one of our veteran collectors on how to increase the chances of a successful outcome when working with American Profit Recovery or other collection agencies. Take just a few minutes to view the video but more importantly, share this with anyone you know that may be struggling to meet their financial obligations.

Another great resource in which we highly recommend and endorse is the website Ask Doctor Debt, http://www.askdoctordebt.com/ which is an incredible consumer resource for anyone who has questions around how to get out of debt.

Financial literacy is a combination of saving money, spending wisely and meeting our obligations. And with the proper discipline and focus, anyone can be smart about money.

Sales 1%’ers !

We attended a great seminar last week from the Yes network!  The speaker was a gentleman named Michael Hoffman, who was very entertaining and full of good information.  His seminar was regarding how to become a top 1% sales professional.  Although the seminar was geared towards sales, I think the material applies to all of us in life and communication.  We all know that sales touches all of us in one way or another….. selling your kids on doing homework, friends on where to go to eat, etc., etc.  Some of the main takeaways for me where as follows:

To be a top performer is not something you are born with!  It is something that you become over time and we control our destiny a lot more than some people may think

Top 1%’ers do 3 things well….

  • 1) They are constantly learning – they are reading and learning and growing as a professional.  Open to new ideas and open to  yes.
  • 2) Smart and Adapt – They top performers are not expecting to be spoon-fed and constantly look to adapt and find ways it will work for them
  • 3) Apply – They are action people….. do not procrastinate, apply what you learn right away.  Always asking how can they improve today?

They have a process

  • Sell yourself first – Build rapport, get to be someone who they can know, like and trust
  • Ask questions – it is all about THEM… not you.  You can’t just start selling a one size fits all.  Once you know their story, the solutions become easy
  • Present Solutions – build value, build value, build value.  If you build enough value, in their best interest, you will have a new client
  • Ask for the order – amazing how many sales people do not actually ask someone for the order.  As a professional, IF you feel what you offer will be a benefit to their business, then you are doing them a disservice to not ask them to become a client
  • Remember… it is all about them and what they need, not about YOU and what you need or think they want.  Treat every person individually and do not assume they want the same things as you, or as everyone else.
  • One size does NOT fit all, and the better you are at customizing your product or service to their specific needs/wants, the better you become.  Use their words and power phrases and incorporate them into your presentation or conversation

Para-language

92% of your communication is NOT the words

It is the tonality, the smile, the physiology that makes a great communicator.  You can say the right words, but without the excitement or passion, they are just words.  Try saying the same phrase in a mundane, boring tone and you do not get the same message as an excited and passionate tone will bring

Business and communication is all about people, not just the product or service you provide.  It is all about solving problems for THEM… not YOU, but THEM!!!

It really hit home and re-emphasized the message that American Profit Recovery strives for every day.  If you help enough other people get what they want, you will in return get what you want…. A saying I got from the late and great Zig Ziglar.  It is a way of life and not just for sales.

 

There was a time, early in my career, where I measured success strictly by the numbers. Number of overtime hours I worked per week; number of consumers I successfully contacted and collected from; the number of dollars I collected; and the number of times I assisted a fellow Collector collect.

Not too long after my career in Collections at American Profit Recovery began, my career in Collections management did too. As a young manager I knew the value of goal setting and leading by example, but I still assigned success to numeric performance outcomes alone. The number of quality Collectors I could recruit, interview, hire, train, and maintain in any given calendar year; the number of net monies my team could collect in any given month; the number of phone numbers we dialed, accounts we skip traced, and hours we were on the phone on any given day.

A year as a Collection manager will teach you many things: the importance of always recognizing contributions, of inspiring a shared vision, of challenging the current process to always be improving. Another lesson is the value of building relationships and putting your team above all else. Ahead of ancillary tasks and routine duties; ahead of your own calls; ahead of your own collections; ahead of anything else that may preoccupy your time. When you’re never too busy to field a question, never too busy to take a difficult transfer call, and never too busy to make it your responsibility to be genuinely interested in what kind of individuals make up your team, well, success follows by default.

After a few more years as a Collection manager there was another shift that occurred. The mark of success became determined by how many people I hired who become leaders in their own right. Leaders, not just those who have been promoted to management and now have the title, those too, but also those who are looked up to, those who are models of the way forward, those who go out of their way to help other Collectors succeed. The lesson is learning the difference and similarities between and within management and leadership; and learning the difference and similarities between and within training & development and coaching people up.

Two and a half years now as V.P., Collections and there are lessons to be learned still. I cannot quite pinpoint when it occurred, but there was a realization that hit me not that long ago. As important as the numbers are; as important as it is to lead by example and not expect from others anything you’re not willing to do yourself; as important as recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training & development, and goal setting are; as important as always recognizing contributions, of inspiring a shared vision, of challenging the current process in order to always be improving; as important as it is to never be too preoccupied; as important as it is to being genuinely interested in others and coaching individuals up is, what’s also tantamount to great leadership is service management. Service management extends from inter-office and intra-office communications, to conversations on the phone with Consumers, and to the clients whom those Consumers owe.

In my current position I have the advantage of exercising my service management skillsets by working with every department in the company: from IT and Admin, to Customer Service and Sales, to Collections and Compliance. This doesn’t mean everyone always gets the answer they necessarily wanted to, but it does mean working together to make decisions that make sense. The key being the willingness to make decisions and not being indecisive (this can paralyze a department, a company, a relationship). When you pledge to helping your fellow cohorts you find that it’s both rewarding and mutually beneficial. Service management, like a positive attitude, benefits everyone.

What Clients Ask Us

We realize there are many collection agencies out there trying to get your business. And we understand that in many cases, it can be a big decision to bring in a collection agency and have them start contacting your customers. After all, you worked hard to attract your clients and you don’t want to lose them.

If you are a current client of American Profit Recovery, you have probably seen firsthand just how different we are when it comes to recovering the money owed to your business and the way we treat each and every consumer.

So when our team sits down with potential clients struggling to get paid on time, we are asked many questions but there are a few that always seem to come up. The answers to these and other questions define how American Profit Recovery consistently operates. Those include:

How successful will you be in recovering my money? How will you treat my customers? How will I know what type of progress there is on the accounts I submit to you? What type of training do your collectors go through?

One thing you’ll find refreshing is that everyone you speak to here is open, honest and dedicated to helping your business get paid and keep your clients.

Take 90 seconds and see what one of our owners has to say. The short video with Matt Moskowitz outlines what we hear every day from business owners and how we ultimately show them we are just the right fit for your collection needs.

 

 

Time To Take The Plunge

I am glad that say that for the third year running APR will be sponsoring the Special Olympics of Michigan Polar Plunge. This year we will have a team of six employees taking the plunge at Sylvan Lake. The Special Olympics will always hold a special place in my heart. When was in high school, one of swim teammates had a disability. He came to every practice and worked as hard as anyone else, all he wanted was to be on the team. He was an inspiration.

Please join APR this weekend, Saturday the 28th at 12 pm, at Sylvan Lake community center. I hope to see you there, if you can’t make or just want to donate, the link for donations is http://www.firstgiving.com/team/280915

FYI – For anyone who saw the article on CNN about the new health craze of exposing yourself to temperatures of -220 F and are wondering if Sylvan Lake will be that cold when we plunge, it will not be!

We wanted to take a few minutes and introduce you to some of the most understanding, kind and thoughtful people we know. And guess what? They are some of our collectors here at American Profit Recovery. That’s right, debt collectors…

Being kind and respectful helps both the client that hired us to help them get paid and it also helps the consumer that needs to catch up on their financial obligations. In fact we believe being kind is the only way to resolve a past due account.

Our tagline if you haven’t noticed is You’ll Profit From Our Difference.” Both client and consumer profit from the way in which all our team members conduct themselves; with kindness and respect. We’re here to do one thing, bring people together and resolve outstanding debt. How do we do it?

We Help. In the case of our clients, we bring a higher level of understanding of your business, your challenges and we help you understand your options.

When it comes to the consumers we call on, we help them resolve their debt by working it out. We bring a level of kindness and respect that not many associate with our industry.

We are firm believers in the approach that helping others only makes you more successful and clients and consumer alike have thanked us for the way we have helped both parties when it comes to resolving debt.

Take two minutes to view the video and hear it straight from the people who call on consumers every day and provide help.
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Our mission here at American Profit Recovery is to provide our clients excellent financial services, as well as our employees with a worthwhile career. Such excellence speaks for itself through results. We must also always strive to do our best in helping our consumers to solve their financial problems. Here at APR, we hire the best people, teach and hold them to high standards, and we learn from actions while avoiding complacency. That helps everyone.

We model excellence in our leadership and management’s actions. Our Ownership and management team work together to model excellence, build trust and play an active part in the collection industry and our communities. Our motto could be “Achieve the Honorable!”   Our commitment to honesty, integrity and trust worthiness will always guide our actions.

See our commitment to honesty in this short video.

 

 

The information available on this web site is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain legal advice.



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