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Skills & Qualities of a Top Performing Debt Collector

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There are both innate qualities and learned skills that can be observed in top performing debt collectors. Debt collection agency owner, Travis Irving of HRI Group, shared with us the skills & qualities that he sees most commonly in his top performers. 

Qualities of Top Performing Debt Collectors [2:15]

Surprisingly enough, Travis states that not having previous debt collection experience is a quality many of his top performing debt collectors have in common. It sounds counterintuitive, but their lack of preconceived notions and previous training enables them to succeed at his agency. The main reason being that Travis is able to train them to collect in a way they feel proud of.

“When we’re done with each consumer that we talk to we want them to get off the phone and say ‘wow that was probably the nicest agency I’ve ever spoken to in my life. I wish i had other debts I could pay through them.’ That’s what we really focus on,” says Travis.

Ultimately, debt collectors are talking with consumers that are dealing with unfortunate and many times, embarrassing situations.  Collectors that let consumers know they have assistance and never make them feel like they are any less of a person have a high potential to succeed. Lacking previous debt collection experience is a quality that bodes well for this.

Alternatively or in addition to lacking debt collection experience, a top-performing debt collector will be a knowledgeable, caring great listener and team player that’s able to pick up on verbal cues over the phone and turn a bad situation into a win-win for everybody.

“When you have a team that’s able to work together towards a common goal with the same type of mentality, there’s no way you cannot succeed,” Travis emphasizes.

Skills Needed for Debt Collection [5:40]

Verbal Communication Skills

“You have to be able to use more than the words ‘um’ and ‘like’,” says Travis. You also have to be able and willing to humanize debt collection terminology that the consumer may not understand. This skill presents itself as the ability to hold a conversation about various topics in a captivating way. Strong verbal communication skills could be the difference between the consumer staying on the line vs. hanging up after thirty seconds.

Computer Skills

Specifically, being able to type quickly with accuracy and having proficiency in Microsoft Excel are highly important.

Common Misconceptions About Debt Collectors [7:20]

“You may be capable of doing this job, but whether you are good at it is a whole other discussion.” Travis says. Candidates for debt collection roles often believe that because they have the necessary competencies, verbal communication and computer skills, that they’ll excel in the role. The truth is there are a lot of other qualities a successful candidate should have in order to be a great debt collector. The ideal candidate must be highly motivated and able to “maximize their highs and minimize their lows,” as Travis puts it.

Travis stresses that “you’ve gotta eat, breathe, and live this industry to be profitable and have a great future.” In other words, you have to have an innate ability to “hustle.”

How to Prepare For a Job as a Debt Collector [9:30]

Start off in the toughest role that you can get at a debt collection agency. “If you can survive that, then you will survive being a collector, dialer, agency owner or broker,” Travis says.

Your experience will enable you to identify whether you have that innate mental toughness that will propel your success in the debt collection industry.

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