I got an email this morning from a guy who owes $36,000. He read on my website that I had a client who settled for 6.6% of his loan balance. So of course, he wants that deal too. The only problem is that his situation was not an “apples to apples” comparison. The client he was looking at, you see, had owed about $1 Million. Based on that, this potential new client assumed that 6.6% must be an arbitrary threshold that the SBA will settle for. I explained to him that while yes, my client paid only 6.6% of his loan balance as a settlement, that situation should not be used as a guide. Why? Two reasons:
1) Even though that client paid only 6.6%, he still paid over $50,000 in REAL DOLLARS. I explained that regardless of how much someone owes, $50K is a material sum of cash as opposed to his situation, whereas 6.6% would amount to less than $3K.
2) Every single situation is different. $50K was all the money that my client had available to him, so the offer was deemed acceptable. The gentlemen who was inquiring about my services seemed to think that the SBA will negotiate for the sake of negotiating, which they will most certainly will not do.
This gentleman went on to say something that really annoyed me. I had quoted him a fee, and he emailed me back and said that while I “advertised” my successful settlements, I never mentioned the fees that go along with it. Hold on there, cowboy. Two things:
1) Did this guy think that I work for free? Why was it a revelation that I charge for my services? It was no surprise that when we got on the phone, he tried to force feed me his entire financial situation, and pressed me for a recommendation of how much he should offer as a settlement. With as much diplomacy as I could muster, I explained that I don’t get into that level of detail on a consultation for two important reasons: 1) I would need to see all of his financial information (PFS, tax returns etc) before I could advise as to what a reasonable settlement offer would look like, and 2) the advice he was seeking is that advice I offer to paying customers.
2) The settlement results I list are not advertisements. They are actual settlements that I have obtained on behalf of my clients. Do I list them to demonstrate my proficiency at settling SBA debt? Of course. But in no way, shape, or form, do I intimate anywhere on my website that all borrowers should expect the same results as my absolute best settlements.
I think it’s safe to say that based on the accusatory and condescending nature of this gentleman’s emails, I won’t be hearing from him again. And that’s fine, because in my experience, when a client enters into the situation with unrealistic expectations, that’s a recipe for disaster. I am always very careful to explain to clients that settlements are difficult and there are never any guarantees, but some people (like this guy) simply cannot be pleased.