The story of the washer

A client recently related this story of a simple washer and how it turned out to be a $1.9 million dollar sale for his company….

The phone rang and it was Edith from the local church. She asked if I could come over to her house one day and take a look at a leaky faucet. Edith was about 80 years old, widow and really didn’t have anyone to help with small home repairs. I told her sure and made it over the next Sunday after church. It was a simple $.50 cent washer that needed to be replaced..

Few weeks later I got a call from Fred who said he was referred from Edith and he needed some help with a gutter on his house. No problem I said and made an appointment the next week to take a look at it and repaired everything for him at $75. At first I thought maybe I should send out one of my employees but Fred asked if I would specifically come out and take a look at his project.

Very next day I get a call from Bill who was referred from Fred who was referred from Edith. He said he heard that I did good work. At this point I already have 45 employees and a multi-million dollar construction company but as far as these people know I am just a handy man from a local church.

Bill and I got together and once again it was a simple fix to a broken stair on his back porch….

4 months later I get a call. Guy asks if I construct buildings and I said yes and how could I help? Well it turns out that he heard about me from Bill who heard from Fred who heard from Edith that I do good work.

Taking care of simple referrals I have learned makes a big difference. They are to be prized possessions that need as quick attention as possible. I could have let my estimator or other employee handle this task, but I really felt that since Edith was my primary source of these referrals I owed it to her to do these jobs myself.

The gentleman who called and asked if I built buildings turned out to be a $1.9 million dollar project that we recently just finished in Redmond, WA.

The simple way my client took care of his word of mouth referral, a $.50 cent washer job, turned out to be a $1.9 million dollar warehouse. Wow!

Word of mouth referrals should be treated with utmost care and expediency. Your employees should always be alert to handle these types of clients with extreme care and efficiency. The owner went out of his way to handle these very mundane tasks, but in the end he reaped the rewards for his company.

Steve Hume

Hume Management & Consulting


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