Preview The Debt

Author Bill Arnold explains the power of asking for what you want.

Know What to Ask for. Ask Again. Always Ask.


Chapter One: The Boss

Jake gets his marching orders. Bank president Spartan Reeves is a good man with a wise message. He says, “We are not the enemy. We are protectors of a promise.” Reeves reveals the “Friendly but Firm” system for collecting past due accounts.


Spartan Reeves’
The Role of the Collector:
It is far easier to keep a customer than it is to attract a new one. That is a saying every collector should write down and hang on their wall by their phone. The collector’s job is not just to collect an old debt from an old customer. It is to do so in a way that encourages the old customer to become a new customer again.

Chapter Two: Morning Coffee

Christmas Eve morning at the Winston farm begins with an argument and ends with a kiss. John and his wife, April, argue about their spending habits and their looming debt crisis. “We aren’t bad people. We’ve made some mistakes,” April says. Reeves writes about the importance of coming to understand the debtor in order to empathize with him.


Spartan Reeves’
Get to Know the Debtor and Get Over Your Own Anxiety:
Break the ICE; Intellectual debtors; Circumstantial debtors; Emotional debtors.

Chapter Three: Afternoon Visit

Jake arrives to collect the debt. Jake allows John to “empty the trash” of his complaint. “Why are you at my house on Christmas Eve?” John says. Reeves reveals three simple steps for how to create the atmosphere for successful collections.


Spartan Reeves’
Creating the Atmosphere for Successful Collections:
Acknowledge politely;
Be sympathetic;
Get in sync.

Chapter Four: The Walk

John and Jake walk the Winston’s property. “I understand. I have been where you are,” Jake says. Reeves writes about how to Build Rapport with the debtor.


Spartan Reeves’
How to Build Rapport: Use rapport-building phrases;
Express empathy;
Treat the objection as a “yourself in their shoes” situation (example transcript); Positive reinforcement (example transcript);
Stumbling blocks;
Ask fact-finding questions (example transcript);
The right words (glossary); The wrong words (glossary).

Chapter Five: The Debt

Reeves gives his best lesson. John tells Jake he would love to pay something if only he had the money. But he doesn’t, he says. Having no money is the best answer Jake could have hoped to hear. “This is what I call Leading them Down the Pathway to Discovery.’” Reeves writes about Motivating a person to Action. Reeves writes about the “secret weapon” of discovery.


Spartan Reeves’
How to Motivate a Person to Pay:
Use the Debtor’s own Reasons;
Show the Benefits of Settling the Account;
Appeal to the Debtor’s Pride or Anxiety.

Spartan Reeves’ Leading Them Down the Pathway to Discovery:
The best thing a person can say is they don’t have money.

Chapter Six: Candlelight Service

The Winstons and Plimptons occupy a pew together at the Christmas Eve candlelight church service. The minister says, “On earth we have debts. These we must repay. But the ultimate debt can never be repaid. It can only be forgiven.”


Be Courageous
Group Study Guide