Collector.Live! took place in Dallas this year and grew again. The Collector. Live! event is a pioneering concept where 17 industry leaders live stream up to six hours of collector training from one place, in this case Dallas, for collectors to watch from the convenience of their offices. Editor-in-Chief, Joshua Fluegel and I caught the presentations in person. Broadcast from an intimate theater in Dallas, the event was attended by collectors and collection managers who provided on-site response to the insight delivered by ARM leaders.

collectorlive 2019ACA International Director of Education and Membership Development, Harry Strausser, III and ACA President Elect and COO of CACi, Roger Weiss, kicked things off as the masters of ceremony. Strausser reminded us that whether collectors are referred to as customer service representatives or financial management experts, “professional debt collectors should enjoy every moment of every day and sense the value of what you do in this important job that is often misunderstood.”

Christian Lehr, VP/COO of Healthcare Collections, LLC during his session, “How to Identify Problems and Avoid Finger Pointing,” said, “Happy employees are 20% more productive,” and “unhappy employees are toxic.” Lehr noted that, “Millennials are the highest percentage of the workforce, one-half want out and only 40% are thriving.” Lehr said, “Happy employees are those who know they matter to their employer, are moving forward with the company and feel they are contributing.”

Kelly Knepper-Stephens, VP Legal and Compliance with TrueAccord in her session, “Hello, How to Get the Most Out of Location Information Calls,” advised collectors making location information calls to only say you are, “confirming or correcting location information,” during an FDCPA compliant call, and cannot say, “I am a debt collector” or “the consumer owes a debt.” If asked, you cannot be misleading but may say, “It is an important business matter.” You are not permitted to call again, “unless you have been requested to do so or received incorrect information.” Knepper-Stephens emphasized being polite and positive to reflect, “that you need help,” as she emphasized that these are, “some of the best calls for skip tracing.”

Weiss, gave a presentation on Jedi Mind Tricks: Closing Calls with a Payment Today. I reviewed the Weiss presentation on a recording of Collector. Live!, which also included downloadable PDFs of the presentation. Weiss said, “There is a sale made on each call.” He emphasized using words like, please and thank you. “Say ‘I understand,’ use power words and lose negative phrases. Weiss emphasized, “You have got to let them hear you smile over the phone.”

Co-producer Mike Gibb said, “There is an entire financial services industry that could benefit from this type of event, but we intend to hone it for the ARM industry.”

“At the end of the sessions there were 30 minutes of interactive questioning from all over the country,” said coproducer Jack Gordon. This enhanced the “eventiness” of the sessions, a word Gordon may have originated to describe this session of his online conference.

This end of the day Q & A was the highlight for me when the speakers voluntarily answered questions concerning everything from the seven steps of a phone call to lump sum tax season settlements. The major takeaway from this very accessible new format for collector training is how sincere and enjoyable people in the collection profession tend to be. The happy, knowledgeable, vibrant speakers displayed Strausser’s opening reminder that, “Collectors should enjoy each day and sense the importance of the job they are doing.”