The kitchen sink wasn’t draining. My regular plumber was nowhere to be seen, hence my call to a new service provider.
I searched online for a local plumber, checked a few reviews, and made my call — A logical and typical question for most of us is to ask, “What do you charge?”
A very polite young lady on the other end of the call say, “We don’t quote prices over the phone.” Somewhat annoyed at not getting a straight answer, I responded, “I’d like to have a rough idea before he gets here.”
The young lady proceeded to inform me there was no charge for the house call. She said the plumber would assess the problem when he arrived and then give me a written, fixed-price estimate.
I was impressed when I heard this. The owner of the plumbing company (and his advisors) put a great deal of thought into the process of dealing with the pricing before they knew what the problem was.
Naturally, they don’t want to overestimate a job and talk themselves out of a job over the phone. They don’t know what the problem is or how much work is needed, so quoting a price without seeing and assessing the situation could lose the job before it started.
This approach also eliminated the need for the plumbing company to charge to come to the home and determine a course of action. (I don’t like to pay 50 bucks or more for someone to tell me I need to spend hundreds.)
The plumber and his helper arrived at our house. He introduced himself and headed to the kitchen to assess the source of the problem.
When he was finished with his assessment, he explained the problem and provided the written estimate. I signed the estimate and he proceeded to fix the problem.
Looking back, the brilliance of this approach is that the plumbing company had built into their process several major strategies. By not asking for an upfront fee, they minimized my risk. I wasn’t going to have to pay for a service call in which no service was performed.
I had an opportunity to speak with the guy who was going to do the work. I could assess his competency. Plus, I spoke with him personally. A conversation always opens the door to rapport building (my favorite step in the sales process). Through his ability to build rapport, answer my questions, and propose a reasonable solution, I felt I could trust him to do the work.
That rapport led to trust and the trust I had gained gave me the confidence to pay a little more than I hoped the repair would have been.
Bottom line. I’d call them again thankful for the rapport and the trust that was established.