Now that you have spent a great deal of time and resources in opening your new company lets take a quick look at your process so you can be effective and profitable and ask where do I begin my investigation? Allow me to show you the path, young Jedi. Here is a 5-step strategy you can start using today in your waterfall or process when working a skip or potential loss file. If you will take this and make it a policy, utilizing it consistently, then you will improve your overall effectiveness, because you will have a proven system in place to mount a progressively focused effort toward the task at hand: LOCATE THAT SKIP!
- Plan: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”…It’s an old saying which remains true in sports, business, or any endeavor in which we participate. Before we can act, we must first determine what type of skip we have. We begin to profile the subject, read the credit app, the collector notes, and start to visualize our subject and his new location. We draw upon our own intuitiveness and gut instinct, fully utilizing our creativity and imagination.
- Research: Now that we have a plan, and we have an analysis of on the type of skip, we will want to start to verify what information in the file is valid and what is outdated. Find out when the subject was last located at the given address. Speak to the landlord and the neighbors. The more contacts made, the more information you will obtain on your subject. Ask for hobbies, nicknames, marital status, number of children—all the types of information that are usually missing from an application that could potentially help you locate the subject. At this time you may want to check some of your databases as well for new information. Don’t forget to find out who else may have been associated with the old address. This may lead you to a current or former boyfriend, girlfriend or roommate.
- Organize: Throughout the entire process you should be keeping detailed notes including a time and date stamp to record what work was completed, and when. A very old but true saying in skip tracing and collections is, “If you did not document it, you did not do it”. Start using a skip guide to compile all your findings, thoughts and hypotheses in one place.
- Analyze: In this stage we want to start looking for patterns the subject may have. We are all creatures of habit. People will continue to frequent the same establishments and pursue their hobbies. Even if they have separated themselves from old friends, they will likely have connected with new ones. We all have a core group of people we surround ourselves with: these people can come and go from our life depending on what path in life we are currently on. That core group may provide a clue to the whereabouts of your subject.
- Execute: This is where all the time and energy will pay off. We take all the information that we have gathered and begin hitting the phones, talking to everyone on our list. We want all these calls to be conversations, not interrogations. People like to talk, so ask those open-ended questions to keep the conversation moving forward. You never want to end a call until you have something new, or someone new, to contact next.
Follow me down the path to better skip-tracing!
Be Blessed, Be Safe and Happy Hunting
Alex Price is a nationally-recognized expert on the Art of Skip Tracing and author of Skip Tracers National Certification Program with over 25+ years of experience in skip-tracing, collections and public speaking. Alex began his career with Barnett Bank as a field representative collecting past-due accounts. He then moved to World Omni Finance, where over the next ten years he worked in all aspects of collections and handling the nationwide charge-off skip portfolio.
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