I don’t know about you, but up until a few days ago I had no idea what a drop bolt was. I am the least handy person, when it comes to fixing stuff, that I know. I can change a light globe and change a car tyre, but that’s about the extent of it. Now, not only do I know what a drop bolt is, I also know that whatever drama that a drop bolt can create, can also be resolved. Get ready for the great drop bolt drama…

I live in an apartment block with seven apartments, and being one of three owner-occupiers, I am on the committee with two lovely ladies. We recently had our front access security gate fixed, and we quickly realised it needed an additional drop bolt attached so we could hold it open when needed, as it had an automatic closing mechanism. The company doing the work sent a quote for the drop bolt, and if I am being perfectly honest, I didn’t pay too much attention. It was $420 and seemed reasonable, so we accepted the quote. Until the drop-bolt was attached, that is.

As I mentioned, I had no idea what a drop bolt was, and then when the girls and I saw it, we were flabbergasted (a word not used nearly enough!). We couldn’t quite believe how they could possibly justify $420 for what we discovered was a $15 drop bolt, and labour that could have been no more than 30 mins. We spoke to the Body Corporate who said, since we had agreed on the quote, there was nothing we could do about it. However, I had other ideas.

I went into spy-like investigation mode. It was all very exciting! My first plan was to anonymously call the company and ask what their call-out and hourly rate was. They explained that they charged a $180 call-out including 20 minutes of labour time, and $45 per 30 minutes after that. I then did some sums in my mind. I was pretty confident they could have done the job in the 20 minutes but gave them an additional 30 minutes to be on the safe side. That worked out to be $225 plus the $15 for the almighty drop bolt.

My next step was to ring them back to question the quote and ask them to modify it to reflect a more reasonable amount. Wow, that was one of the most frustrating calls I had made in a long time. I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. When I explained the situation and asked if they would adjust the quote, I was met with someone who would not budge and told me there was nothing they could do. No amount of tantrumming from me worked. I got off the phone, feeling angry and frustrated, and then I reflected on it for a while. I realised I had handled the conversation very poorly. Why? I had made the whole conversation about what I wanted, and not even considered what was important for the company.

Later in the day I had an aha moment. I was looking at their website, and if I am being honest, I was trying to find a way to leave negative feedback. Instead, I found a statement that I knew could help us. The statement said this; Our business depends on the satisfaction of our customers; we would be grateful if you would post a Google Review to share with our other customers. Now I knew what they wanted. So, I drafted an email, a very friendly email, explaining that I would love to be able to post a positive review, however we were not satisfied. I explained the situation and asked that, if it was true that customer satisfaction was so important, they would consider reviewing the initial quote. I sent it one night during the week. The next morning, I received and email grateful for my feedback and that they were happy to reduce the quote to a much more acceptable amount.

The drop bolt drama was resolved. How was it resolved? Not by me getting angry. Not by accusing them of ripping us off. Not by threatening that they would lose our business. It was resolved by finding out what was important to them and showing them how they could get it. What a powerful lesson this is for all of us. How do you get a child to eat vegetables? How do you get your partner to do something you would like them to do? How do you get someone to come and fix something for you? How do you get yourself out of bed doing what you need to do in life? You do it very simply by finding out what is important to people (and yourself) and showing them (and yourself) how, by doing what you want them to do, it will help them (you) get what they (you) want.

It is amazing what you can learn from a drop bolt! Always look at things in terms of how it impacts another person, always talk in terms of what they want, and you will be amazed with what can happen in their life, and yours. I am so grateful for the drop bolt drama.