How to stand out from the competition with Bryan Carlson of Meyers Movers
Challenges and benefits of having one salesperson
As a smaller, family-run moving company, Meyers Movers can get by with only one salesperson. They’ve been around for a hundred years and have people hire them because their parents and grandparents used them.
“I had a customer once who was in her mid-80s and I walked in and she said I remember you moving my grandparents and so we had moved her grandparents, her parents, her daughter, and her grandson. So we had moved five generations of her family.”
Bryan says that those personal relationships are so essential for the company, and he works hard to build and maintain them.
“We had discussed prior to this about being more technologically savvy and I am doing some video appointments now. But for the most part, I still go out and look at every single job whether it's a studio apartment going somewhere or if it's a 10,000-square-foot house. I still pretty much get my eyes in person on it. And put a lot of miles on the company car but that's okay. “
He says that being the only salesperson has its benefits and challenges– May through August gets pretty hectic, but Bryan says he likes being “the only game in town, so to speak”.
What sets your moving company apart from the competition?
As movers, you’re an important part of people's lives in a very stressful time and need to gain the trust of customers quickly. Without trust you don’t have a business, so finding something that sets you apart from the competition is critical.
Bryan doesn’t have to search too hard to find the unique differentiator Meyers Movers.
“I'm fortunate because what makes us unique is: the same family has owned our business for a hundred years, I'm the only salesman, I'm one of six guys who've been with our company for 25 years or longer, we’re the mover of the Chicago Bears. So I have a lot of unique things to present when I walk in. But if someone starting out can find one thing that sets them apart because in Chicago there are 300 movers, so you have to set yourself apart somehow.”
What are the biggest challenges you face day-to-day?
Bryan says that as a moving company with a smaller staff, daily problem-solving and firefighting is the biggest challenge. You have to be flexible as you might be doing a sales call one minute and then jumping on with a moving crew the next, and constantly in problem-solving mode to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The next biggest challenge is sometimes being too accessible to customers. In today’s tech-savvy climate, customers end up with cell numbers and can sometimes call or text at all times of the day.
“You'll have a customer text you or call you because of your cell phone no matter what day, time, day or night. I had a call once at 1:30 in the morning when my boys were little and my son was up. And so I recognized the phone number and I answered it. And he was a doctor so he worked nights and he goes, what are you doing answering your phone at 1:30? And I said well I knew it was you and why are you calling me at 1:30? And he said well I thought I'd leave a voicemail. And I said well since I was awake I figured I'd answer your question. So I would say just being available 24 hours a day.”
What are some of your favorite ways to network and get business that some people may not think about?
Bryan swears by sales conferences as a great way to build relationships in person. He’s also increasingly using LinkedIn to broaden his network– you never know who could end up sending you business.
Real estate agents are an obvious one, says Bryan, but partnering with real estate agents really forces you to understand how your services are unique, because realtors have every mover under the sun trying to partner with them.
Finally, Bryan says that when it comes to networking to drive future business, sometimes you have to create relationships now that will pay off well down the line.
“We have one senior move manager we're working with and we will have done 11 moves with her this month. So primarily local but thankfully I am her go-to for interstate moving. So I can't stress that enough, that that is a business opportunity that is only going to grow because you have people that are like my mom's age. And she's still active and living in her house, but 10 years from now she's not going to be. She'll probably be in a community somewhere. So it's what I was told is that we're five years into a 20-year bubble of these senior moves coming up and that's a huge business,” says Bryan.
Onsite estimates vs virtual estimates?
Lots of companies are moving towards virtual estimates but Bryan says that it’s a lot of upfront work for the customer. Onsite estimates will always offer more accurate estimates as you can measure everything that needs to be moved. Relying on customers to do it is risky.
What’s your strategy for hiring movers and drivers
Finding employees is a challenge across the country right now. Meyers Movers found themselves in a staff shortage this year for the first time since the company opened its doors.
“This summer was the first time in the history of our company we had no summer help. And that's going back to when we were almost moving people by horse and buggy, way back when. So it is a tremendous challenge,” says Bryan.
He goes on to say that pricing your business based on quality over quantity can help when you need to turn business away because of a staff shortage. This is where networking and partnering with other moving companies come in handy. Sharing work can help multiple moving companies weather the storm.
“This past summer, I had a coach that was hired by the Bears out of Oregon. There was no way we were going to Corvallis, Oregon to go pick this coach up. But we got it covered and they did a great job.”
Outside of referrals and networking, what’s the best way to generate regular leads?
There are paid lead generation companies out there like Wheaton. But, getting in with bigger companies that have a lot of employees can keep you busy.
Again, Bryan says this comes down to what makes you unique. Meyers Movers has a long-standing reputation and the Bears logo on the side of their trucks. Essentially, you need to do what works for your business.
“As I tell customers, there might be White Sox fans and there might be Cubs fans but everybody loves the Bears in Chicago so that's one thing that's really it for us as far as marketing goes. And just maintaining relationships that we already have. And if you do a good job then you never know who that next person is or who that person knows that says, oh hey by the way. For many years, we had Wilson Sporting Goods as a national account, and Papa Bear Halas who started the bears started Wilson Sporting Goods and so that's how we got our foot in the door with them to do their moving. So you never know where the next opportunity might pop up.”
Tips for small moving companies looking to grow
Bryan says that small companies can really benefit from starting with senior moves. They’re typically smaller moves and are a great way to get consistent business.
He also says that while it’s tempting to be all online and super tech savvy, don’t negate building personal relationships with customers. Go to their house, have a conversation, and build rapport with them.
Every moving company needs to start somewhere. And remember, even some large companies that have been around for over a hundred years are still operating with one or two trucks and a staff of ten.
Full webinar transcript: How to stand out from your competition with Bryan Carlson
I will kick it off at the top of the hour. Welcome everyone to our live Q&A of the “Ask the Experts'' series. My name is Heidi Liou and I'm the Strategic Partnerships Manager at Supermove. I'm here today with Bryan and very excited to talk to him. Supermove is on a mission to make moving simple for everyone with software that brings your whole team from your sales to dispatch, operations, to your coordinators, all-in-on software for movers.
I met Bryan a few months ago at the Wheaton Convention. He's the Director of Sales at Meyers Movers and I'm very excited to learn from him about how to stand out from your competition, specific to the world of moving.
A brief bio about Bryan: He went to the University of Iowa and is currently living in Plainfield, Illinois. He's worked for Meyers Movers for the past 29 years and was on his first move at age 13 which is incredible because I just joined the industry a little more than a year ago. He's been the only salesperson for over 24 years. And year after year, he makes the top five in sales for Arpin Van Lines, which is changing and we will discuss that later maybe.
We're here to learn from you and pick your brain about how to be a boss in sales. I'll start by asking some of the questions that were submitted during registration and then open it up to questions from the audience at the end.
So to kick it off, tell us more about your story if there are any blank spots you want to fill in with your bio. How did you get into the industry and what has kept you in it?
Well, I've actually known the owners of my company since I was eight years old. So it's not often you can be 49 and say you've known your bosses for 41 years but I can. Actually, the owners of our company are husband and wife and she was my den mother when I was in cub scouts and so that's how I came to know them. We had a very large move at a local college and so my boss asked his son if he knew of anyone that wanted to make some extra money. And when you're 13 years old, your options are pretty slim and I was a big kid so he asked me if I wanted to be on the job. And I'll never forget watching the guys slinging file boxes up to the fourth floor and thinking, oh my goodness, I'll never be able to do this. And five years later when I was 18, I had no problem doing that.
And you've stayed in it because?
I stayed in it because it was my summer job too when I was in college. And then I started surveying for Arpin and just going on looking at jobs for national accounts. And then I had an opportunity to interview with another company in a completely different industry. And at that time my boss said I'd like to make you full-time sales. And I said, well in all my life I've worked for friends, and parents and only had two jobs. I said, so I'd like to do the interview just so I can see what the process is like. They liked me but I didn't like them and I've been the salesman for Meyers Movers ever since.
Yeah, and it's a fun job. As I tell my customers, every day is different. I don't know what I'm gonna see, or who I'm gonna meet and everyone's life is a story. And people are inviting us into their lives. And so you can walk through a house and see something and then start a conversation about it and then you just learn something new. So it makes it fun.
So you're still the only salesperson?
Yeah and I go out. We had discussed prior to this about being more technologically savvy and I am doing some video appointments now. But for the most part, I still go out and look at every single job whether it's a studio apartment going somewhere or if it's a 10,000-square-foot house. I still pretty much get my eyes in person on it. And put a lot of miles on the company car but that's okay.
What's it like being the only salesperson? I mean you've always been the only salesperson but are there times when you wish that you had more help or are you kind of excited to be [inaudible]
Yeah, May through August sometimes gets a lot of pressure. But we're not that big, so that kind of necessitated my being the only salesperson. And I wouldn't say I would like more help. I like being the only game in town, so to speak. And I would say that my selling is a little easier than most because we've been around for almost 100 years. So a lot of times I walk in the door and people already know about us. I had a customer once who was in her mid-80s and I walked in and she said I remember you moving my grandparents and so we had moved her grandparents, her parents, her daughter, and her grandson. So we had moved five generations of her family.
Yeah, and we have very very loyal customers. We're very blessed in that regard.
I was gonna say, talk about having that trust and that credibility. New moving companies who enter the industry, can't say they have that. But at the same time, I don't know if the millennial generation is asking for that credibility. So I'm sure it works in your favor but that's interesting.
Well, one thing too that this discussion is about what you can do to set yourself apart. A new mover can set themselves apart by finding something unique to them. This is something I was thinking about leading up to this. I'm fortunate because what makes us unique is: the same family has owned our business for a hundred years, I'm the only salesman, I'm one of six guys who've been with our company for 25 years or longer, we’re the mover of the Chicago Bears. So I have a lot of unique things to present when I walk in. But if someone starting out can find one thing that sets them apart because in Chicago there are 300 movers, so you have to set yourself apart somehow.
Wow. Well, the Chicago Bears. How did you guys get that partnership with them?
Well, they actually reached out to us. At that time Arpin Van Lines was the official mover of the NFL. So that got our foot in the door with them because they were looking to make a change. And a number of our affiliates at that time, and a few of them still do teams—our affiliate in Pennsylvania, they do the Eagles and we do the Bears. And so that got our foot in the door. And then after a few years—I think it was probably seven—Arpin decided not to be the official mover of the NFL. It wasn't the NFL that didn't want us, they just said we didn't want to pay that money. But at that point, we had signed exclusive contracts with the Bears and so here we are. But once again, what sets us apart is the same person and now people have done the Bears forever. For you, the owner of my company has been the mover of the Bears for 33 years.
And to the point where, when we moved Mrs. McCaskey who's 99 years old. She hand-wrote a letter to my boss thanking him for the great job that we did moving her. So we have a lot of continuity which definitely plays in our favor.
I'm sure there are a lot of companies that are like, how do I get that business from them? [Laughs] I feel like you just can't.
Yeah, it's a trust thing with them more than anything. They know that they can count on us, that we could be in New York City. Here's a case in point: We were in New York City and one of the guys was having an issue with his back in the middle of the night. We drove to a furniture store to go pick up a chair for the guy to sleep in. Then we went to his room at 11 o'clock at night. Here's your new chair to sleep in. So they know that they can count on us no matter what, which is a feather in our cap.
Well, out of all the moves you've done—I don't know if you can even estimate how many moves you've done in your whole life—what's the one that stands out the most? What Do you want to share with us?
I had a customer a while ago who asked me, how many houses have you been in? And I'm like, well I probably average a thousand appointments a year so if I've been doing it for 29 years, I've been in 29,000 houses. And then you extrapolate that out to the average house having three people in it, then I've seen almost 100,000 people in my life, which is pretty wild.
But the move that I would say sticks out the most is, years ago we moved Chris O'Donnell, the actor. He was in Scent of a Woman, he was Robin in a few Batman movies and he’s a really nice guy. And so we did two moves for him. And the first move I went to see him and I told him, I met you before. And he goes, oh yeah? I Went, it was after a Cubs game. We were at a bar. I came up to you, I tried to talk to you, you said you couldn't hear me, and I walked away. And he said, well Bryan, I probably could hear you and I just wanted you to leave me alone. And so I was like, oh okay well at least you're being honest. So I bought a Batman poster and he signed it for me and I said I was looking for a Scent of a Woman poster which is a movie he was in with Al Pacino. I said, but they were harder to find, so he's like yeah those are tougher. So that move went great.
Then a year later he called me and he had sold his house. So he goes, I have one day to move, so we packed and loaded a four-bedroom townhouse in a day. And he asked me to be there. So I was there packing and as I'm packing in his kitchen. I'm on the countertops, pulling stuff down. And he has all these McDonald's cups with him on them as Robin. And I said, hey Hollywood, you only drink out of something with your face on it? And He said, Bryan, I get those for free. And I said, Chris, if I had a cup with me on it, I'd drink out of that thing everywhere. And when I got there to do the appointment, he wasn't there and one of his buddies came over. And I walked in the door, and he went, Chris wanted you to have something. And I said okay. And it was a Scent of a Woman poster. He had remembered and sent me one.
And so then we were there packing. And his buddies come over. And he goes, Bryan, he goes, you want to have a beer with me and my friends? And I'm like, well Chris I am on the job and I really shouldn't drink anything. And he goes well Bryan, I'm the customer and the customer's always right so you're gonna have a beer with me and my friends. I said okay I'll have one.
So I had a beer with him and his buddies and then the driver was there with his wife and she was just starstruck. And she's like Chris, can you say hi to my friend and she had her phone and he goes, sure. And so he's talking to the friend for a little bit. And he goes well, thanks for being a fan, I appreciate it. And we walked around the corner and I said that was really nice of you to do. And he goes, it was 30 seconds and that lady will now watch everything I do for the rest of my life because I was nice to her. And I said yeah you're absolutely right.
And so the move went great and we were finishing up and I brought some stuff to get signed and I brought that poster. And so the first thing he signed was for my cousin who had just graduated high school because she loved him. So he signed stuff for her. And then he signed the poster for me and it says, “To Bryan. Thanks for all the help. Quit drinking on the job. Chris O'Donnell.” And so we get all done. The driver leaves. And I'm just tidying up the runners and stuff. And I'm about ready to leave, and he comes chugging out of the house and I'm like what's the matter like did we forget something? And he goes no I forgot to tip you. And I said Chris, you signed all this stuff, I'm making a nice commission off your move, I'm good. And he goes, I had one day to move and you made it happen so thanks. And then the next day we went to his brother's house and moved his Robin costume and all of his memorabilia, so that was a lot of fun.
Wow, the story gives me the chills. I didn't know that movers are developing such strong relationships with their customers. I know that there are repeat customers but I never know how deep and how close these relationships can be so I really appreciate your sharing.
Yeah, it's remarkable. I mean we're a very important part of people's lives in a very stressful time. I just booked a very little local move for a customer that I moved to New York and back. And the relationship we developed with her. Her husband is one of the leading orthopedic surgeons in the world. And my son wants to be a doctor so I said can my son shadow your husband? She's Like absolutely, no problem at all. And when we move her, she requests what crew she wants and what guy she wants because she knows them so well now. That's the relationship and the comfort level that people have.
It's like how people have relationships with their doctors. It's specific people that they want to interact with again and again.
And it's remarkable. People that are listening can relate though. They'll have customers that have told them things that they really didn't want to know about. Their customers are sometimes a little too forthcoming during a conversation. But if they feel comfortable having you move their stuff, then sometimes they feel comfortable sharing things that they wouldn't tell anybody.
Yeah. Or maybe they're in a state of panic and so they're just spouting out things
That's very true too.
Being the only salesperson, I know you talked about it being kind of a good thing. But I'm curious, what are some of the biggest challenges that you face in your day-to-day work?
Day-to-day is problem-solving. Sometimes not only are you a salesman or a mover, but sometimes you're a fireman and you've got fires to put out. I'm very fortunate because we are as tight-knit as we are. My co-worker Amy, who's on here right now, and I'm not just saying this because I know she's on here, we work so well together. We've known each other since we were little kids. So I wouldn't be able to do the job I do if I didn't have the team behind me to help me out. And I don't have a lot of fires to put out because our guys do such a nice job.
But the day-to-day, especially with what you do and being as technologically savvy as you are, it's the accessibility. You'll have a customer text you or call you because of your cell phone no matter what day, time, day or night. I had a call once at 1:30 in the morning when my boys were little and my son was up. And so I recognized the phone number and I answered it. And he was a doctor so he worked nights and he goes, what are you doing answering your phone at 1:30? And I said well I knew it was you and why are you calling me at 1:30? And he said well I thought I'd leave a voicemail. And I said well since I was awake I figured I'd answer your question. So I would say just being available 24 hours a day.
Wow and how does being on 24 hours a day not lead to burnout? Like what's your secret for staying sane?
I'm a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. In meeting me, you realize that I don't let a lot bother me. And once again, I have the team here and the team at home—I am the type of person who really doesn't worry about much—but I have folks that worry about things for me, who remind me that I should be worried about things so that that helps me a lot. I have a very low stress level in my life and I try to do everything and be kind of goofy and fun to take the air out of the stressful sales, so to speak.
Wow. Our next session will be about stress management 101 with Bryan.
[Laughs] that's fine. I’m an expert on a lot of things, I guess.
What are some of your favorite ways to network and get business that some people may not think about?
Well, one that I was thinking about. One thing that happened today actually. Someone I met at our last sales conference, an agent in South Carolina, just shot the breeze with him. And all of a sudden, I was getting ready for this, and I got an instant message on Linkedin saying, hey I've got a customer who's gonna be calling you. So it's okay to mine your friends. It's a mutually beneficial thing. You can scratch each other's backs and it really can pay dividends in the future.
Another way that I found that I've started trying to do more recently is this platform on linkedin. Like if I have a good move and I know the customer—it's not creepy like you're going on some other form of social media—but you can say hey I knew that move went great. Let me come back around to them here. And that way, it helps broaden the group in which you're visible. So that's been one way. And right now for us, it's January, a slow time. I tell you what, we have one Senior Move Manager we're working with and we will have done 11 moves with her this month. So primarily local but thankfully I am her go-to for interstate moving. So I can't stress that enough, that that is a business opportunity that is only going to grow because you have people that are like my mom's age. And she's still active and living in her house, but 10 years from now she's not going to be. She'll probably be in a community somewhere. So it's what I was told is that we're five years into a 20-year bubble of these senior moves coming up and that's a huge business.
Yeah, I've talked to some other leaders in the moving industry about different industries that movers should tap into, like real estate and senior moves. Is there anything else that you find is an industry that moving companies should reach out to and partner with?
Well, it's kind of along the lines of the senior move managers. You could also reach out to the communities themselves. You are getting a relationship with the move coordinator for a big community. Then you're set. Real estate, that's an obvious one. But also that's where having a uniqueness about you because those realtors are going to have every mover under the sun trying to of course we're fortunate we have one of the best realtors in the united states I've moved, between him and his children, I've moved him 16 times. And his name is Bryan and he spells it the right way like me with a Y. But he and his word is gold. So if I see that he referred us, I'm almost certain to get the job. And I was talking to an affiliate of ours, who happens to be one of our best competitors—we run up against each other a lot. When we were in Nashville, they told me that they've tried to get him to recommend them and he refuses because he won't use anybody but us.
Wow. Yeah, that's something that you cannot buy—that referral of someone that you moved yourself.
Yeah and just once again, the trust level, like the lady who I mentioned whose husband is the physician. When we moved them to new york, we did it via facetime. I had the code for her 11,000-square-foot house. I had the code for her garage. I walked in, I FaceTimed with her to see what was going on, and then she just trusted us. And then when the crew was done, they called her and she shut her garage and turned her alarm on. She was never there. For a sixty-thousand-dollar move.
Yeah, there's your technology component.
You mentioned finding uniqueness and marketing that as a mover. Do you want to speak about that a little bit more?
Well, you can do that when you sit down with someone and you start doing your spiel and you could just say whatever, that one unique factor or if you have a couple that apply to what you're doing right now. Like with all the senior moves that we've been doing, I can say we're on the preferred list of X amount of communities, and we've done this many senior moves this month, and we work with this move coordinator. And so I can tell the client here's what's going to happen and right away they're at ease because now they know I know what I'm talking about.
You're the expert.
Yeah, you show them you're the expert. Or if you're someone just starting, what's something unique about just yourself? You're Selling yourself just as much as you're selling your company. My sons asked me, Dad, what do you do? And I said, I get people to trust me. And they said, okay what do you mean? And I said, say you don't know me but I say okay give me everything you own and I will have it in California in two weeks and you just met me. That's a tough thing to do. So if you can get people to feel comfortable with you and trust you, that's key.
And also reading people. There are people that I'll meet—and I'm a very outgoing guy in case you guys didn't know—but sometimes people are like, what's it gonna cost me? So it's very hard for me to do but I shut my mouth and I just walk through the house and do things. So also reading the situation is very important too.
Yeah, you're speaking a lot about building these relationships in person and I guess that's happening either during an estimate when you're on-site, building that relationship or at another in-person event. What's difficult about the industry is that it’s shifting towards fewer in-person interactions, or maybe you're someone who’s seeing that the in-person will always be there.
Well, I think the in-person will always be there just because my philosophy is that I don't want someone, who's going to pay me to do a job, to do my job for me. So with COVID, it was different because you had forced video calls and stuff like that. But there were times when I still talked my way into a house. There was one job, in particular, I had 20 wooden crates and I'm not going to ask the customer, hey do you mind taking two hours out of your day to measure all of your stuff? It's just not right. I didn't feel right about it. So we've maintained our distance and I did what I needed to do and it got the job done, and sometimes you have to go above and beyond just feeling out a situation.
I had a customer we moved to Nashville. And you could tell what was important to this customer and it was her clothes and her shoes. And I packed her closet. I went there and I told her, don't worry I will pack your closet. And she texted me during the move and asked me to take pictures of how I was packing her shoes. And so sometimes, if you’re going that extra mile for a VIP, being there makes a difference.
Yeah, that’s definitely a lot. And I feel like if I were in your position, I'd be like, are you serious?
Yeah, that move was $48,000. And I packed 50 dish packs full of shoes. So it was well worth it to take it one day to be there.
I just want to remind everyone, if you guys have any questions, feel free to post them in the Q&A. Mario thanks for commenting in the chat. But we will go over the Q&A once I'm done with the prepped questions. And thanks to everyone who did submit questions before. So I did get this: When quoting move prices, do you include any coverage packages?
Well one thing I do: virtually every interstate estimate that I do, I include full coverage with a zero deductible. My philosophy is that that way, the customer knows it's there for them. And it's almost a guarantee that they'll take it. It's rare if someone's moving just to Wisconsin from Illinois, okay you're not going very far and they might do a different deductible or even 60 cents. But I include full coverage on every job. And our claims rate is very very low. So it's just Wheaton Valence is probably very happy because they get a lot of dollars from us because we don't have a lot of claims. But I do let them know that it is there. And we can always change it, but you automatically will have it on there
In the past couple of years, hiring movers and drivers has continued to be a challenge for everyone. Do you find that fewer people are getting into the industry? And how does your team tackle this challenge?
Yeah to say that's a challenge for everyone that is no joke. This summer was the first time in the history of our company we had no summer help. And that's going back to when we were almost moving people by horse and buggy, way back when. So it is a tremendous challenge. We are fortunate that we're quality over quantity so we make sure that we maximize what we've got by pricing accordingly. If you talk to affiliates of mine that know how I price my moves, they are astonished by the type of discounts that I can do. I was talking to an affiliate of ours who has 27 drivers, which is a nice thing to have. And they said, well what do you discount? And When I told them, they were like, we'll move your stuff all day long. So that's where it's coming in handy. It's not so much getting new people to work for our company, but it's working together. Because just a year ago we went from being a decent-sized fish in a small pond, to now we're in a little big ocean being in the Wheaton and Beacons groups. So cultivating relationships with our fellow agents comes in handy to get things done that we couldn't do.
This past summer, I had a coach that was hired by the Bears out of Oregon. There was no way we were going to Corvallis, Oregon to go pick this coach up. But we got it covered and they did a great job. So we've tried even paying on search groups and things to get people to come. And that's the first time we've ever done that too and still nothing. So we're just gonna do our best to not so much increase what we've got, but to keep what we have because that's another thing that sets us apart from our competition. People will ask, why should I choose you? And I'll say, well the guys are the ones that make the difference. I'll be in someone's house for an hour or two maybe. But the guys will be on a job sometimes for a week or two, depending on how big it is, so appreciate the people you have to keep those trucks full.
Yeah. Now that Arpin is a part of Wheaton, do you think it's helpful that you have more people to tap into and maybe now you guys can do more moves?
I am very thankful. We were apprehensive because we were Arpin agents forever. We were one of the first ones. So you go from what you're comfortable with. And Arpin was like family, like the owners of my company and all the owners of the other agencies have known each other forever. So then we get thrown into this mix and it's like whoa. But now it's paying great dividends. I've built some fantastic relationships. And I'm looking forward to going forward now as a Wheaton agent. It's kind of weird to say. I think I just did my first email saying agent for Wheaton Van Lines instead of Arpin. But I think that this partnership that we've now become a part of is just going to be helpful from the folks at Wheaton from the top on down, they've been nothing but helpful and great to work with. And our family of agents, the ones that I've had the opportunity to work with, I have no complaints, not one. I have not had a job go sour because of something that went the wrong way with another affiliate, so fingers crossed we keep smiling.
We do have a question from the audience. Outside of Linkedin and repeat referrals, what other marketing strategies do you employ to generate consistent leads? And are you in charge of generating all the leads?
Well, we don't pay for them other than the ones we get from Wheaton. We're not on like move.com or any of those things. We feel they're not what we want to do, it's not the one-bedroom moving across town in the city. A lot of times we're in the burbs, so we price ourselves out with travel time and whatnot. Our marketing budget is primarily for the Chicago Bears and that's it. So having their logo on the side of our truck and our uniforms and everything, as you can see the orange office so it's everywhere. As I tell customers, there might be White Sox fans and there might be Cubs fans but everybody loves the Bears in Chicago so that's one thing that's really it for us as far as marketing goes. And just maintaining relationships that we already have. And if you do a good job then you never know who that next person is or who that person knows that says, oh hey by the way. For many years, we had Wilson Sporting Goods as a national account, and Papa Bear Halas who started the bears started Wilson Sporting Goods and so that's how we got our foot in the door with them to do their moving. So you never know where the next opportunity might pop up.
Yeah, it's incredible that you guys don't have to spend a lot of money marketing. I think the new companies that are popping up are relying on digital marketing to get leads and buying leads too so it's a different game.
Yeah, we're kind of different and we're kind of more old school. So we don't push reviews. I mean if you were to go on google or yelp, we don't have a lot of reviews on there or anything like that. If we have a great move, I'm not asking my customer, hey can you do this? I mean if they do it, then great, or if I move a friend or a family member, I’ll be like hey, by the way, throw something on there for us. But other than that, we don't even have to push that sort of thing.
Yeah, it's because you guys have had a long history and you can just rely on all the good moves that you guys have done.
Yeah, it was interesting. My boss was in yesterday and he was going through all these old pictures. And I saw some of myself when I was in my early 20s and you're seeing the history, seeing where our business was in 1955 because he came across a picture from that. So yeah it is fun to have that in our past.
Yeah, do you have any tips specifically for small companies looking to grow?
Well, I would just come back around to the senior moves being a great way because they're not big jobs so if you're not a very big company it's a great way to get consistent business that won't tax you to the hill with men and manpower. So that's a great one. It's funny. There's a competitor of ours and we have a very good relationship and their name is Carlson Brothers. And so kind of funny. And their salesman's last name is Meyers so go figure. But they are a small business. They usually have three to four guys. And their main work is senior moves. So that keeps them afloat and they're very good at it. And that's the uniqueness. Then you could say, hey look we specialize in this. And then that could be the thing that gets you to the finish line.
Yeah, it seems like an easy tidbit but now that I think about it, a lot of Supermove customers and moving companies I talk to, I can't say that there's like a unique identifier that they pitch. I don't know how a lot of companies are standing out today if they don't have that on their website and if they're not the ones that are sharing that all the time.
Yeah and also one thing that has worked well for me over the years is just not only observing what's going on as you're walking through a house but also observing what those people are all about. I can't tell you how many times I've got a job because I noticed a picture on the wall and I said, oh you went to Yellowstone? I went to Yellowstone. Oh, you did? Wasn't it amazing? And then right away, boom, they feel comfortable with you because you have a shared interest in something. So I joke that I know a little about a lot of stuff. So I know enough to get by in conversation for an hour when I'm in somebody's house regardless of what the topic can be.
Sometimes I believe that movers with all the experiences that you guys have, you guys definitely know the most. We have one comment. It says, another great group to get involved with is the building owners and managers association (BOMA). This group is composed of owners, managers, and affiliate members that provide services. Restoration companies are a big segment of the organization which is another resource for movers. BOMA Chicago only has two movers in their organization.
All right, well, whoever that was, thank you.
Get on it, Bryan!
Feel free to reach out to me after this is over.
I can connect you two.
Yeah alright sounds good.
Awesome, well Bryan I want to take this time to tell you how much I am appreciative of you spending time with me, with everyone, to share your story and be so honest about your experiences. And your stories are awesome. I think you're so fun to talk to and I can't wait to meet you in person again.
Once again this live Q&A was brought to you by Supermove. We bring your whole team to one system and make it as easy as possible to run your moving company. And if you're not using any moving software today, feel free to reach out to me or check out our website and we can get you set up on the demo.
Any last words, Bryan?
Well, I just wanted to thank you for letting me be a part of this. I was very honored. It's nice to be recognized. But I like the format and being able to share. And it's been great meeting you. And I look forward to working together in the future. And if anyone who's on here ever has any questions or needs some advice or whatever, just link with me and shoot me a message. I'll be happy to help you in any way that I can. Unless you're a competitor in Chicago in which case then I'll have to see about that.
[Laughs] All right well thank you everyone for attending. And yeah I'll make sure I put Bryan's LinkedIn in the description once this is a recording. And look out for our next event by following Supermove on social media. Alright thanks so much, Bryan.