As a Collector at American Profit Recovery I have been presented with several opportunities to improve my skillsets and gain knowledge on our ever-changing industry. Having attended these events I’m always struck by the number of people who seemed to be zoned out on their cell phones, counting the number of minutes until the next break. I assume these individuals were just looking for a day away from the office or were “voluntold to attend. No matter how vast your knowledge is on a certain subject matter there is always more to learn and different opinions to consider. So, at every event I attend I like to have at least one takeaway that will benefit me.

Just last week I had the pleasure of attending the “Leadership and Teambuilding Conference” presented by Skillpath. The all-day seminar consisted of several interactive sessions with topics ranging from communication skills to working effectively with different personality types.  While all these sessions had valuable information my biggest takeaway came from a discussion about the value of mission statements. The speaker suggested developing your own personal mission statement. Something you can live your life by. I’ve heard of companies developing mission statements, but have never thought about the idea of creating a personal mission statement. I thought it was a great idea. Since the seminar I’ve had some time to think long and hard about what I value most in life and have developed a personal mission statement. I have it written down and truly think it will help with my mindset, improve upon my attitude, and create a more driven focus.

So, next time you’re away from the office at a conference I suggested you try and find at least one bit of advice to apply towards your life. Have an open mindset and treat it as an opportunity rather than an obligation. It may just end up being very beneficial to you.

bptw-2014-winners-wreath-smallThis could be a really short blog post. American Profit Recovery is a great place to work; Period! We know this because we have been named just that for seven straight years. Best Places to Work in Collections is a program spearhead by industry publication and Best Companies Group and we’re proud to be on the list again.

There are many reasons why we are continually recognized as a great place to work. But, I’ll focus on one. Culture.

Yes, we are a great place to forge a career. We pay well, we offer great benefits and we always help our team members grow, both professionally and personally. We really are a family here.

But our culture is one of respect. First, we truly respect each other here because we feel that is the key to a rewarding working environment. We all contribute at all levels of the organization and we often implement ideas from all parts of the staff.

But we all understand that it is our responsibility to respect the consumers we are contacting. That is what makes American Profit Recovery different and what ultimately makes this a great place to work. We have a mission here and it’s to collect debt with diplomacy. Everyone here knows this and it’s what brings us together in many ways.

Our team wants to do the right thing every time. And they do the right thing because they all understand what we stand for and they are treated as part of this team.

Yes we are debt collectors and if you watch any type nightly news magazine, you would think this is a bad industry to have a career. That might be true at some companies but not here. We’re celebrating our ten year anniversary this year and we have employees that have been with us since day one. That should tell you something.

What does your company do to be a great workplace? We’d like to know!

The Payoff Principle

By: Jason Holowecki

Over the last year and a half or so I have taken an interest in personal development and have noticed the impact it has had on my life and also affected the people around me in a positive way. On November 18th we were given the opportunity to attend the latest seminar put on by The Yes Network. The keynote speaker was Dr. Alan Zimmerman and the session was titled, “The Payoff Principle.” During this seminar a lot of the focus was placed on how improving your attitude and taking action can motivate you and give you the strength to overcome any obstacles you may find yourself facing. These obstacles can easily be found in both your personal life and also your career life. However, the way we respond to these obstacles can determine the outcome, now whether we want the outcome to be positive or negative is entirely up to us.

Something unique that I noticed about Dr. Zimmerman’s teaching methods is that he is very interactive and encourages participation. There was an exercise where he had us stand face to face with the person seated next to us. Once we were facing each other one of us would stretch our arms out to the side and then the other person would place their hands on our wrists and try to push our arms down to no avail. My partner in this exercise was probably about half my size, there was no way he was ever going to be able to get my arms to collapse. At least, that’s what I initially thought; the second part of the exercise was to again face your partner, however this time your partner was instructed to make derogatory comments towards you prior to pushing your arms down. Some examples of the comments were, “you’re a bad person, you’re a loser, you’ll never be successful”, immediately after making those comments your partner was told to attempt to push your arms down again.

To my surprise after hearing these comments directed towards me, my arms felt like they were made of cement and couldn’t have fallen to my side any faster. The most powerful example of this exercise was when he asked one of the attendees to step outside of the room. While she was out of the room we were instructed that when he brings her back into the room anytime he asks her a question about where she is from we are to think to ourselves, “she’s a jerk” and then when he asks about her job we are to think, “She’s great.” He brought her back into the room and anytime he would ask about her job her arms would not move but the minute he asked about where she was from her arms would flop to the side. She was baffled by this as I think were many of us; the point was to prove that the way that people think about us can have a negative effect on us if we allow it.

On a side note we all have the power to be stronger than the obstacles that try to bring us down, all we have to do to not let it affect us is think positive thoughts. The exercise was done one more time with all of us thinking positive thoughts to ourselves while our partners once again made derogatory comments, the result this time was that our arms stayed outstretched no matter how hard our partners tried to push them down.

To wrap this up I’ll give you Dr. Zimmerman’s Payoff Principle Formula:

Purpose + Passion + Process = Payoff

Some highlights of this formula are:

  • Understand the critical importance of a purpose-driven life and career
  • Clarify and write out your purpose statement
  • Make sure you’re living your life and working your job “on purpose”
  • Choose to “act” rather than “react”
  • Build inner drive and spirit
  • Deflect negative influences that could drag down your passion
  • Understand how an inadequate self-image blocks success and a strong self-image guarantees success
  • Defeat self-doubt and maintain self-confidence in challenging situations and around difficult people
  • Neutralize self-defeating thoughts that block goal achievement
  • Determine, set, and write out worthy goals that define your success
  • Begin to live and work outside your comfort zone … where all greater success is to be found

In closing I’ll provide you with two powerful takeaways that Dr. Zimmerman delivered:

You’ll have more success in the next two months when you take the time and show a genuine interest in helping people, than you would in the next two years trying to get people to like you.

If you only had six months to live, what would you do, where would you go, who would you talk to? The answers to those questions are your purpose, and who says you have six months? Tomorrow is not guaranteed don’t take it for granted!

Small Business Saturday is coming up this weekend on November 29 and this reminded me of small business owner I helped one time.iSm Biz sat 14mages

Her name was Dorothy, and she owned a flower shop.  She literally had an entire stack of work cards of people who owed her money.  As I showed her our diplomatic debt collection program, she cordially thanked me for my time and told me that she just did NOT want a collection agency to be contacting her customers.  I told her once again how diplomatic it was and how we can help her, she again politely thanked me for my time.

I packed up my stuff and headed for the door.  While on my way out, I picked up a nice, large floral arrangement and continued to head for the door.  Dorothy stopped me and asked “what are you doing?”.  I kindly informed her that I was leaving and that she was not interested in my service.

She said “No, what are you doing with the flowers?”  I stated that I was taking them.  She abruptly said “Without paying?”  I said “Yes Dorothy, that is exactly what everyone else in that stack has done to you, only I am going to save you the gas it would take to bring it to me!”

She paused for a moment and said “Sit down, what do we need to do?”  I signed up Dorothy that day and we did a phenomenal job of recovering her receivables!  She was very thankful to me for putting things into perspective that day.  I truly felt as if those people had stolen from her and I wanted to help.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and need to get paid for their products and services. As we approach this holiday season, think about the small businesses you can buy from.

And if you’re a small business struggling to get paid, we’d love to show you how we can help get that money in the door and keep your customers.

Be a Hero

If you could be a hero, would you be? We’re not talking about having super powers or wearing spandex, we’re talking about saving a life based solely on your unique genetic make-up. It’s a simple question really. Would you, if you could, be a hero? Would you save a life?

When I was an adolescent in middle school, having the summers off school was the best. Budding hunter-gathers, a group of my friends and I spent every waking moment during those sunny months at Sand Lake. With our parents at work most of our time was spent digging for worms and fishing for pan fish. On those really hot, Northern Michigan days we would swim to cool off. Sand lake is one of these great public beaches where anyone can enjoy the water, but no lifeguard is ever present, the local community simply couldn’t afford the staff. Instead, they purchased ‘No lifeguard on duty: swim at your own risk’ signs.

By now you can see where this story is headed. It was a Saturday in August, high noon; it must have been 1994’ or 1995.’ A close friend of mine, Wayne, was the first to hit the water after we ate our customary pre-packed lunches (high-carb PB&J or Bologna on white bread is all we knew back then). He swam out to and then past the buoys as we had done one hundred times before. ‘Then it hit me,’ is how he tells the story, ‘my stomach cramped up and I couldn’t breathe, let alone stay afloat!’ He adds, ‘all those stories my Mom told me about not swimming after you eat, I thought where old wives’ tales, but in that moment I knew how very wrong I was.’

From the beach we heard the faintest mumble, as we turned we saw him splash and disappear, emerge, and disappeared again! Before anyone could move my sandwich hit the dirt. I ran the 40 yard sprint to the water’s edge and swam the 70 yards past the buoy faster than I may ever again. He was gone! I dove beneath the water’s surface…Wayne wasn’t there! I dove again…longer this time…deeper beneath the murky water I dove…my lungs burned, I couldn’t find him…I couldn’t give up…I dove to the weed bed…as the weeds wrapped around my arms and neck panic set in…my blood oxygen levels dropped…I couldn’t see…I couldn’t save him…I lost my friend…I felt helpless.

Something brushed my abdomen! It was flesh…human…an arm…it was Wayne! Unconscious and water logged I pulled him from the lake bed to the shore. I dropped him in the sand and his bluing body coughed. He coughed and coughed and caught a breath. Everyone was elated and cheered, we embraced, it was all he could do to muster the words, I love you man.’

It’s on rare occasion I tell this story. Sitting here, reliving the events of that day is still an emotional undertaking. Defining moments in a person’s life are rare at best. My first came when I was a twelve years old. Intentions, faith, and hope alone are all delayed disappointment when compared to action. ‘Thought without action is empty’ – Immanuel Kant.

My son was 22 weeks as of this Tuesday. Recently I joined ‘Be The Match’ (see link below), where everyday people can be heroes. When I look at my son and I hear him giggle I realize that there are so many disorders that are treatable through bone marrow transplants, the science is good, and donor matches are what we’re lacking. I realize that ailments aren’t just things that happen to ‘other people.’ Although he is perfectly healthy, I picture my son, and I challenge you to picture a little boy or girl who was born with a metabolic disorder, or an inherited immune system disorder, or bone marrow disease, or sickle-cell anemia, or leukemia, or lymphoma: Picture this sick child, weak but full of smiles, their family feeling helpless, swimming in the weeds of despair. Now picture that this child is yours, or your niece or nephew, or your best friend. There are treatments available, there is a donor match out there…they just haven’t sign up for the registry yet! Picture this child and ask yourself; are you going to rest on your good intentions, your faith, or hope, or will you answer the call to action.

When you sign up with ‘Be The Match’ registry you take a pledge to help any patient in need; to tell family and friends; and take the time to donate so you can save a life when the call comes in. In telling my story and writing this blog I own up to half of this pledge in hopes that one day I can once again save a life.

‘Seven out of 10 patients do not have a matching donor in their family. So their doctor will turn to ‘Be The Match’ for help finding an unrelated donor or cord blood unit on the Be The Match Registry. More people are needed to join the registry so patients have a greater chance of finding a match. Joining the registry is the first step to become a bone marrow donor.

By: Matt Helz

This was my first opportunity attending the GIE down in Louisville KY. What an awesome experience!   I had the privilege of attending the trade show with two of the best guys to learn from, Matt Moskowitz and Andy Yavallo.

10679775_10152869585663383_4120188365664518367_oWhat made the experience so great was seeing the interaction between Matt, Andy and their clients. The relationships they have with their clients are amazing! Every time I turned, somebody was coming up to them to say hi and give them a huge hug. It was like witnessing old friends meeting after being away for a long while. It showed me that APR is not just about growing a business and being successful for our clients. It’s about treating our client like old friends that we respect and adore.

Matt and Andy showed me that our job is more than bringing new clients on board and driving results. It’s about building long term relationships by learning more about clients personally and what is important to them. These relationships will not only allow us to serve these clients well for many years but it will also bring us new opportunities with referrals, letters of recommendations and video blogs. These relationships will allow us to overcome misunderstanding and bumps in the road that every relationship will eventually have to overcome.

This experience made me feel that I was defiantly part of something special and I am truly excited about the future and the friendships that will be made.

Honor and Courage !

As we approach Veterans Day, I wanted to throw a few feelings down about why this is such a great day.  First, my Grandfather served in the US Army and second, my Dad served in the US Navy on the USS Forrestal.  Both were and are great men!

A display of many American flags with a sky blue background, comI think about the courage that a person has to have in order to make a commitment to serve our country.  Knowing that they could possibly make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedom that we all some days take for granted.

We absolutely live in the greatest country in the world, and I know that we probably do not truly understand just how great we have it.  I voted yesterday….. yes, I voted.  Too many countries do not allow their people to have that option.  I can choose who I would like for school board, Supreme court, Congress, Senate, Governor and President.  I can choose and be heard on a number of issues.   Our voice does actually matter.

These brave men and women commit to protecting that right and our way of life!  I want to say thank you!  No, I mean really … THANK YOU for what you do and for preserving what America stands for.  For protecting my wife and kids…… thank you!  I know words can’t always completely describe our gratitude, but thank you!  When we see a Veteran let’s all shake their hand, salute them or just give a big hug, for they are true heroes.

Lastly, another special part of this day is that it is my Dad’s birthday….so Happy Birthday Dad!  You have always been there for me and I want you to know I appreciate and love you.

Make a Difference Day

Joe W BlogThe fourth Saturday of October witnessed national ‘Make a Difference Day. ‘What did you do to make a difference in your community? Did you, volunteer at a soup kitchen, tutor a student, volunteer at a nursing home or hospital? This year, I was lucky enough to have two projects. The first was Scots in Service Day and the second was in giving a helping hand at the United Way’s Southwest Solutions early learning center.

Everyone who knows me knows that I went to the College of Wooster, GO SCOTS. Each and every year, we Scots, come together, across the world, and give back to our communities. This year, Wooster Detroit community worked with Kensington Metro Park. Anyone who lives in the metro Detroit region, and hasn’t already, should make it out to the park, it’s a beautiful place to visit. This year we helped the park by removing some invasive trees. After we were done, we fed some birds; one even perched on the edge of my hand to eat some seeds.

Southwest Solution is an early learning center located in the heart of Detroit. They focus on empowering parents with young children, ages that range from birth to five. The center also provides free early learning to children, in one most impoverished location in the country. The biggest surprise to me was that the signs were bilingual and that 80% of the families they service are Spanish speaking. We helped Southwest solution by building an outdoor shed on their playground. Overall, it felt good to get my hands dirty and help two great organizations. I hope everyone else made a difference too.

Happy Anniversary APR !

It is amazing to think that we started this company 10 years ago.  On one hand, it seems like yesterday and on the other, it seems like a lot longer than that!  I distinctly remember the day we first walked into an empty office space having just left our jobs.  The day was September 13th, 2004…..

I remember because it was my wife’s birthday that day and I got to tell her that her husband is now unemployed and starting a brand new business from scratch.  Happy birthday, honey… we have no income !!    She knew, as did I, that there was no doubt that we would do great things with this company.  It was exciting and scary at the same time.  The reasons I knew we would be successful are as follows:

1)      Great partners!  We all had a level of success in our previous positions and knew what it takes to get there.  We all had a commitment that, in my opinion, was unparalleled.  We also had the principles that this company has held closely ever since.

2)      Three principles that we would instill and preach for as long as this company shall live!  Work Ethic, Positive attitude and Integrity !!

3)      Do the right things!  For our employees, for our clients, with our vendors and in the community.  You have heard it before….. do the right thing even when no-one is looking.  We have constantly looked for ways to improve our company for everyone.   And, we constantly look for ways to give back.  You can read numerous blogs on how our employees have generously donated their time, energy and money to help those in need.

4)      Hire the right people.  And we have!  We give all the credit to the hard-working, dedicated, and quality people that we have on our team.  This company has come so far because of the efforts of our employees.  We try, but don’t know if we can ever thank them enough for sharing our vision and passion in what we do.

I know I could come up with more, but these are some of the main reasons we have become a great company!  I am anxious and excited to see how far we can go together in the next 10 years.  We thank all of our clients for putting their faith and trust in us and the service we provide.  We love helping them in their business!

Happy Anniversary APR…. cheers !

I recently attended the Kentucky Bankers Association annual convention. I wrote about the wealth of information and knowledge many of us walked away with last week in our blog.

One of the best presentations I attended was on creativity. Yes, creativity!

There was a riveting presentation by a gentleman named Erik Wahl.  His presentation was labeled UNthink.  We were enlightened with some brilliant artwork and insights on how to not lose your creativity that we all had as kids.  Over time we all become less creative and more conforming in the way we conduct ourselves and our lives.  From school k-12, we are taught to do things the same way and as we enter the work force, even more so.

Take the time to break out of the norm from time to time and enjoy some art, music, dancing or whatever trips your trigger!  A great example of this is when Erik asked the audience who can draw….. pretty much NOBODY raised their hand…… he said if he asked a high school group, he would have a few hands…… if he asked a grade school group, everyone in the room would not only raise their hand, but with ultimate excitement !!!  How true is this?

Also, in today’s world of advertising, it is ever more important to have TRUST.  A big word and one that has lost a lot of meaning over the years.  We all need to know, like and trust people in order to feel comfortable to do business with them.

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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