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Between compliance, office management, collection techniques, and the other concerns that go along with running a collection agency, it can be hard to keep up with industry changes and new technologies–or even regulation changes that could get you into hot water. What are some ways a busy ARM professional can stay informed? PDCflow’s new series will take a closer look at many of the resources available to help your agency run efficiently. One of the best resources–and today’s topic–is other professionals.
Networking has been, and likely always will be, one of the best ways to thrive in any profession. Having a group of people who understand the challenges you face can help you socially. Knowing people that can help you accomplish career goals will help you professionally. Being in a position to help others accomplish their goals can help you feel good about yourself and create reciprocity (which may come back to help you down the line). So how do you meet the people that will make up your professional network?
Collection Industry Resources: Associations
In Person – One of the best ways to meet like-minded ARM industry professionals is to attend trade shows and conferences. There is simply no substitute for face-to-face interaction. There are many associations that provide membership and conference attendance opportunities. Find the unit or chapter for your state, or start by attending a national show:
ACA International Convention & Expo – This national show attracts professionals from all over the United States, and provides ample opportunity to meet peers, as well as a chance to learn about new technologies that can help your agency run more efficiently.
California Association of Collectors Annual Conference – The oldest collection association in the United States is holding its 101st conference this year. Held every fall, this intimate expo is a great way for California and regionally-based agencies to discuss issues that are unique to them due to state legislation.
The Northeast Debt Collection Expo – Being held this September in Atlantic City, this show will host collectors from 12 states as well as Washington D.C. This is a great show for those on the east coast who are looking to meet with peers from New England, New Jersey, New york, the Mid-Atlantic, and West Virginia.
Collection Industry Resources: Online
Online – Between the cost and the time commitment, sometimes conferences are not an option. Besides, you need a way to stay informed year-round. There are many ways technology can keep you in the loop and in touch with other debt collection professionals digitally.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with peers in a professional setting. Connect with peers or vendors you meet at shows. The items they share will show in your LinkedIn feed, keeping you up on the latest industry news. To get the most out of the social networking site, check out groups created specifically for debt collectors, such as Credit and Collections or Credit and Collection Professionals. Some of your merchant service providers or collection software providers may even have private groups you can join, where you can interact with others that use the products. This can help you get the most out of the software you invest in.
Twitter – While not as personal as LinkedIn, Twitter can help you stay connected with the world around you. Many industry influencers and brands have Twitter accounts. This can make it simple to see interesting news and blog articles that you may not have known about otherwise.
Association Group Emails or Message Boards – Many associations have message boards or email groups you can take part in once you have registered as a member. This is a more targeted way of keeping in touch with those you have met at shows. They are also a great way to ask for peer advice on how they handle specific situations in their own agencies.
Where do you find the best networking opportunities?
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