Getting to Know Matt Inscore of CSO Financial

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.

Family history may have predestined Matt Inscore for a career in the ARM industry, but to his credit, he hasn’t accepted his fate as a burden. Rather, his enthusiasm for helping support co-workers and colleagues he has been around so long that he considers them to be family and his love for what he does on a daily basis shows how much this industry means to him. Read on to learn more about Matt and how he came to learn about his proficiency at spear-throwing.

Name: Matt Inscore
Job Title: Sales & Marketing Manager
Company: CSO Financial Inc.
Length of Time at Current Company: I began my full-time career with CSO eight years ago.
Length of Time in Industry: Basically my whole life … no, seriously! I started with CSO when I was 13. This sounds very ambitious, until you realize that CSO is a family business, and like so many family-run companies, the kids are built-in labor pools. My mother hired me to do stuff to keep me busy and earn extra money during school breaks. Many of the long-term people who are still with the company I consider my extended family, and they love to tell stories about watching me grow up in and around the office.

How did you get your start in the industry?
It was sort of a round-about way. Growing up in rural western Oregon, being a wildland firefighter offered a fast and exciting way to make good money while also being outdoors. I worked at that for several seasons, but since that type of job had significant downtime during the off-season, I found another type of work that I enjoyed as well, working as a machinist in a local shop. Unfortunately I suffered an injury that required surgery and significant recovery time, so I returned to CSO to offer my rudimentary services once again.

I started as an assistant to the marketing manager at CSO, delivering client checks and helping with clerical work in the office. I liked going out and talking with the clients, and telling prospective clients about CSO. At one point I mentioned to the ‘boss’ (my mother) that I would be interested in taking on the marketing duties for a particular area, and she agreed that we needed someone to do just that – and she hired someone else! Thankfully, after a time I was able to convince her that I could do the job, and she eventually gave me a chance.

What is your career highlight so far?
The point at which things really turned a corner for me I think was when our biggest client at the time, a large financial company, went through a corporate merger with a national organization and all of the collections processes were enveloped into the parent organization. It left a pretty big hole in our client base, and for a short time we were left wondering how to fill that gap.

I had been working very hard to develop my network and introduce myself to prospective clients. Through a contact I had met at a networking event I was able to obtain a meeting with a group of decision-makers at what I thought was an introductory meet-and-greet. But at the meeting, I realized they were expecting a full-blown presentation! Somehow I was able to scramble my way through that meeting, and ultimately did present a formal proposal and get a signed agreement. So just two months after what appeared to be a major blow to our business, we acquired an even larger client that replaced the business we had lost, and that acquisition catapulted us to find additional valuable clients.

When or how are you most productive?
If we define productivity as finding new clients and deepening relationships with current clients, I think for me it is more about ‘how’ and ‘where’, more than ‘when’ I’m most productive. Morning, noon, or night, if I am able to be in a neutral location like a networking event, or a conference or social gathering, I feel like I’m able to produce more in the way of actual progress for our company.

Organic face-to-face interaction leaves a more lasting connection than a phone call or email for me. And it goes both ways; I get a better understanding of who the other person is and how to interact with them. Of course we were able to do this consistently pre-COVID, and I am impatiently waiting the time when we can return to these types of gatherings!

Which industry professional do you admire most?
When I was first introduced to the marketing side of the company, I worked as an assistant to CSO’s then-marketing manager Larry Crowl. After a very successful career with a large national collections firm, Larry was dialing down his activity and wanting to spend more time nearer home. But as with most senior marketing people, he was still interested in remaining active in the industry — which was serendipitous for us! He joined the organization and helped make crucial changes in the way we thought about our work and our industry.

Larry was, and still is, an influential (albeit now fully retired) member of the CSO team, and I don’t think I nor the company would be where we are today without him. One of Larry’s weekly habits was to send out an inspirational quote or thought; but the most interesting part was how he would apply the quote to the collections industry. He literally would write paragraphs or a whole page, dissecting the quote and explaining his thoughts and interpretations. I still refer back to some of those quotes from Larry and revisit his passion, and it reignites the same passion in me.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
Absolutely nothing. I don’t consider myself to be ‘better’ than anyone at anything. There’s always someone out there who is better – but I am harder and more demanding on myself than I am on anyone else, and I think that has propelled me to work harder and have even more persistence and determination. I’m not the best at marketing, but I am probably one of the most invested persons that you’ll meet.

What do you like most about this industry?
Networking and meeting people within the industry is my favorite! Being in social interactions fits my personality, and I am happiest when around enthusiastic, fun people. I don’t consider myself ‘the life of the party’ by any means, but once I was told that I had been described by a colleague as ‘charismatic’. That was definitely a surprise to me, but a pleasant one – I guess it proves that I like to have fun, and it shows!

What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
A collector told me once that she doesn’t just go to work; but she gets to help people every day at her job. She said you’d be surprised at how many people thank her after their account has been resolved, for talking with them and listening to them, and being patient while helping them get over this financial hurdle.

Perception by the general public is the big elephant in the room. Everyone in the industry talks about it like it’s something that we’d like to change, but nobody seems to have a definite plan. If I could change something, it would be the educational component – how we as industry professionals can educate others, one person at a time. Helping provide context and engaging discussion on why we do what we do, and how it impacts their life and livelihoods.

Describe a typical work day.
Where to begin?! As part of the management team, I am involved in daily interaction with IT, compliance, legal, and vendor matters. I also sit on a legislative committee involving industry concerns. And during the past year due to COVID staffing complications, I’ve taken a more active role in assisting with small-claims and other legal activity. But I still try to connect with clients and prospective clients as much as I am (safely) able to!

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I would probably choose to work as a machinist. Using powerful and finely tuned tools to create a physical object out of raw material, that serves a specific purpose or provides a certain function, is a very satisfying accomplishment. To make an object with exacting tolerances, smooth finishes, and good clean edges – and to see that object used in its intended function, as an integral part of an operating machine … heady stuff!

What is your guilty pleasure?
Nothing I’d admit to!

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What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Learn from failure. To take a moment, when something really goes off the rails, and dissect the situation to see how you got to that point. You always hear about getting up and brushing yourself off and moving on – and yes, you should move on. But take a moment, sometimes just a short while later, and try to figure how ‘how did events lead to this?’ to get a better, clearer understanding of how you arrived there. The evaluation and understanding of how the failure occurred also takes some of the sting out of the failure itself, and allows you to avoid another similar failure in the future.

What are you currently reading?
Always, compliance documents and legislative material. However, for a little ‘light’ reading I am currently involved in “Fair Play: The Moral Dilemmas of Spying” by James M. Olson. I listened to him speak at an event, and wanted to learn more about his experiences as a clandestine spy for the CIA. One of the takeaways at this point: during one spy role, he had to get a real job for his cover story, so he ended up working full-time at a regular job and spying on his ‘free time’ … and the money he earned at that job he had to relinquish back to the government – what a work ethic!

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you
A fun fact: I very much enjoy spending free time competing in Highland games, which are cultural competitions originating in the Scottish Highlands. Traditionally consisting of ‘heavy athletics’ events like caber (log) toss, hammer throw, and stone put (shotput), many regional events also have incorporated spear, axe, and knife throws, and other ‘less heavy’ events.

There’s always lots of fun things to see and do at these family-friendly events, including traditional music, dancing, and food — it’s a great way to spend a day or weekend outside! I’ve also tried my hand at crafting my own sporting implements, including forging an axe, and I’ve been practicing at many of the events to better my effort. Turns out, I’m actually really good at throwing a spear – who knew???

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.

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