A familiar scene in many comedy movies is when somebody asks the question – why didn’t you tell me_______? The answer is always – you never asked! You don’t get questions answered that you don’t ask and many people fail to ask the next question. The question that could save them a lot of pain and aggravation. I like to use the Peter Sellers character in the old Pink Panther movies. He is talking to the hotel clerk and sees a dog near him. He asks the hotel clerk if his dog bites? The hotel clerk says no. Peter Sellers tries to pet the dog and the dog bites him. He said I thought you said your dog did not bite. The clerk replied that is not my dog. He didn’t ask the critical, next question. Is that your dog?

Some important “next questions” most never ask in the credit world are:

  1. Do you offer a better interest rate? If so, how do I qualify for that rate?
  2. Are you the right person to talk to about this?
  3. What would you do if you were me? That one will throw some people for a loop.
  4. Is there a supervisor available for me to talk to? You don’t have to sit there and keep beating the same dead horse, with the same person giving you the same unsatisfactory answer.
  5. Can I speak to an American customer service representative? Do not ever be impolite. That is just plain rude and whatever you say after they pull your account up is being recorded. The next person that you talk to will see that you have been acting like a spoiled brat and that will reduce the chances of the outcome you desire.

Think of how different your life would be if you had asked a few more questions during a handful of major events in your life or situations that were leading up to major events in our lives. I can think of about 30 hundred situations where I could have used more, good information. All I had to do was ask and I didn’t.

Our brain is wired to make us think we are right. You got it, our brain coddles us. I saw an episode of Brain Games on the National Geographic channel that explained it succinctly. All those times you look back and say to yourself, what was I thinking? The answer is, you weren’t, your brain thought it was doing you a favor by not confronting you with the truth. You must turn off that part of your brain that will give you the wrong answer just to keep you happy. The best way I know to do that is to get curious and question everything. One question leads to one answer and that leads to another question and so on.

Here are some tips that I give my one on one clients:

  1. Know why you want the answer to the question you are asking. For example, every piece of credit you have will report to the credit bureaus on a day.  Sometimes that day floats because it lands on a weekend or holiday, but usually, it’s on one specific day. I want all my clients to know when each piece of credit they have will report to the credit bureaus. That is important for 2 reasons. First, this means that there is a time of the month that your score will be as high as it will be for that month. Good credit adds points so you want your credit pulled after all of your good credit adds the points you have coming because you followed the rules. Don’t get your credit pulled until 7 days after that day (it takes 3-5 business days once it hits the credit bureaus to reflect on your credit report) if you are needing a few points to get a better rate. Second, there is one moment a month that your revolving debt needs to be paid as low as you can get it so it reports as low a balance to limit as possible. That time is right before the person pushes the computer key to send your account information to the credit bureaus. You need to know what day that happens so you can report the lowest balance possible. That is how you push your scores up every month. Squeezing out every point of every single scoring opportunity. Rarely is that day on your due date. It could be the 3rd or the 9th or the 22nd. I have a friend who worked in the credit department of a very major department store. He told me that his company’s account holder’s information was sent to the credit bureaus by the last name. Last name beginning with A went on the 1st day of the month, last name B on the 2nd day of the month and so on. When you call to ask your question, explain why you want to know the information you are asking for and listen to their response. If they don’t know but want to answer your question anyway hoping that you don’t know they don’t know it will be quite evident. Pay attention to the little things in the conversation. If they are frustrating you, ask for a supervisor.
  2. A smart person once told me that if someone can’t explain to you what they do and how it is going to affect you in a way that you can understand, run. That either means they don’t know what they are doing or they are trying to rip you off. I am sure a brain surgeon could find a few simple words to explain a procedure they were about to do. If they couldn’t I can’t imagine why anyone would let them work on them if they were just fooling around.

Get curious and start getting your credit education daily. You will be amazed at how much your life can improve if you stop listening to the wrong answers and start seeking out the right ones.