As an appointment seller, you're going to run into tough questions and objections, especially when there are other companies in your area who quote low hourly rates or other prices over the phone, or will run a service call for free.

When you read through these responses, remember that it's not what you say as much as it is the way that you say it. Project warmth and a positive level of expectation. Assume that prospects want to set an appointment, that they're going to buy, and that they'll be very happy with their decision.

What is Your Hourly Rate?
If a prospect asks about your hourly rate, say, "We got away from charging by the hour. We felt it was unfair to our customers. When you charge by the hour, different customers pay different prices for the exact same work. Also, you've got people holding a stopwatch to you, so you can't take your time and do an excellent job without people thinking you're padding the bill. So we sat down and decided on a set price for everything we do that would allow us to provide reasonable rates while maintaining our level of service, and that's how we came up with our prices. Do you want me to send the technician out this afternoon?"

Requests for Quotes Over the Phone
If a prospect asks for a quote over the phone, say, "Most of our customers prefer an accurate price based on us seeing the situation. Most price quotes given over the telephone are inaccurate and change when the technician arrives. We don't believe that's fair to our customers. By the way, the dispatch fee is only $X, and we waive it when the work is done anyway. You want the work done, right? You'll love our service technicians. Everyone else does. They do excellent work and we provide you with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Our technician might even be able to get you a discount. Why don't I see how soon we can get one out to you?"

"Are you calling around asking for ballpark prices and people are giving them to you? Well, I'm not saying this to be a wise guy, but my ballpark prices is the exact same as everyone else's, maybe even a little lower. It's just a ballpark. It really doesn't mean anything. People buy from us every day of the week, and they've been doing it for years. People love us. Almost all of our new customers checked around and chose us. They like our firm price guarantee, which means no hidden charges of any sort, and no surprises. They like the fact that we clean up when we're done and we provide you with a warranty on workmanship. I can have a technician to your door at (time)."

You can also handle requests for prices over the phone by saying, "They gave you a price over the phone? Did they give you any reasons, other than price, as to why you should choose them to do the work for you? Will your decision be based on price alone? Lots of people choose us, even after getting other prices. Would you like to know what they’ve told us are their reasons for choosing us?" Then state some features and benefits of working with your company, and go for the appointment.

Another option: "We subscribe to a menu pricing service and they provide us with a discount pricing manual. Those are kept in the service trucks. Why don't we have a technician come by and check it out for you? By the way, (insert a feature and benefit of working with your company here). Do you have a specific time you need us to be there?"

Or say, "We used to offer prices over the phone. The problem was the phone quotes were usually wrong. We’d discover problems and conditions our customers didn’t know about that made the phone quote too low. So we started quoting high to be safe, but that wasn’t good either. We finally decided that the only way we could give good advice and accurate pricing was to send a professional to your home for a complete evaluation."* Say some nice things about your company, then, without a pause, go for the appointment.

The Dispatch Fee
If a customer objects to your dispatch fee, say, "The dispatch fee is to pay the technician for his time to come to your home, figure out what's wrong, and determine the best and most economical solutions. I'm sure you wouldn't expect the technician to work for free, would you? Would you prefer a morning or afternoon appointment?"*

Or, "There's really no such thing as a 'free estimate.' Anyone who offers you a 'free estimate' makes up for it by charging more for the repairs. It's expensive to send a professional in a service vehicle to your doorstep. Our service call fee means that you actually pay less in the long run because you don’t pay for someone who asks us for an estimate with no intention of proceeding with a repair. You would prefer to save money, wouldn’t you? Would you prefer a morning or afternoon appointment?

* - Script (copyright sign) The Service Roundtable

Charlie Greer is the creator of the audio series "Who Answers the Phone?" for appointment sellers and their managers. For more information, visit his newly designed website www.hvacprofitboosters.com, or call 800-963-HVAC (4822). Email Charlie at charlie@charliegreer.com.