I absolutely suck before I get my daily dose of coffee. I’m grumpy, groggy, and completely idiotic. In one of my brighter before-coffee moments I decided I would work on quotes for my move from Virginia to Vermont. I Google’d “Moving Company” and got something like “123movers” as the first result. Being the ignoramus I am to moving I thought 123movers sounded pretty good. I surfed around on the site and dropped a lead – that was around 6:00 AM. Time to get some coffee, read some more emails, read the iPadPapers (news papers), and catch up on DealerRefresh – NOPE! Within 5 minutes my phone started ringing. It is now 6:05 AM EASTERN TIME, and this guy wasn’t anywhere near Mumbai. Even better, he wasn’t from 123movers either.
Over the next week I received at least 6 calls a day with most days being more like 10. Not a single one was from 123movers. I went back to 123movers and realized that this is a third party lead generation site. I’ll take the big “Duh Alex” for that one because it says right on their homepage that they’re a moving company comparing site. So when I tell you I’m a huge moron before coffee, you should take me at my word. However, I definitely made a mistake in thinking I was only contacting 1 moving company when I ended up speaking to 12.
I need to move, I need to speak to a moving company, and I need to understand how they charge so I can feel comfortable with my decision. I know none of this. I spoke to every single one of those moving companies. Each initial call was about 15 minutes long as I tried to describe my “inventory” of furniture, clothes, and other junk. Everyone quoted roughly the same pricing but varied their methods either by square footage of truck space occupied or the weight of the load. But, they all had good reason to pre-qualify me before giving a quote, and they were all there to give a quote. Absolutely none gave me a quote by email up front even though I asked for it from a few of them. I didn’t reply to most of their emails and noticed quite a few went into my junk mail due to big images and lots of links.
There was one company that spent the time to educate me on things and they even gave the highest quote – a good $800 more than the next highest. I liked that. They told a good story, understood that I didn’t know anything about moving services, and quoted me higher – it made me think that they were based on quality. But at the end of the day I didn’t go with this company. I got too many calls and emails and to be quite frank – I lost them in the shuffle because they never followed up after that one call. The guy thought he had the sale in the bag I guess.
After all the frustration of dealing with so many companies I went back to the old fashioned way of doing things and asked my friends and family. My dad convinced me to only talk to Mayflower or Allied Moving and I ended up choosing Allied because Mayflower never showed up for their scheduled appraisal appointment! The representative from Allied knew a few of my high school friends and was very professional. I feel good with my choice.
What can you learn from my experience?
- Shoppers aren’t always intentionally “shopping you”. Sometimes we get sucked into third party sites.
- People who submit a lead are serious. When they tell you otherwise it is because they’ve made a purchasing decision – you were too late.
- Don’t be afraid to quote high if your story is compelling.
- Rapport-building still wins.
- Fancy emails don’t mean squat when they’re in a junk mail folder. I could have cared less about the fancy stuff anyway.
- Fancy websites, on the other hand, definitely lend to credibility and perceived quality.
- In an extremely competitive market you have to differentiate yourself. Strategize for the niche and not the whole population – you ain’t gonna get everybody.
- Referrals are still the greatest advertising source.
- Follow up, follow up, follow up!
- Don’t talk to me before coffee.