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The independent voice of the global moving industry

It's all about image

Dec 05, 2018
How many times have you heard that nobody grows up wanting to be a mover?  Some people long to drive trains, be a doctor, go into space, or take to the stage but few hanker to lift pianos upstairs.

This has always given the moving industry a problem and some would argue that it’s getting worse. Millennials might not be ‘work shy’ but they don’t search out physical jobs. The image of the moving industry is one of a low skilled, manual job. It’s not true, but that’s the way it looks. To do it properly a mover has to be a diplomat, be compassionate, understand marketing and sales, have physical stamina and technical experience. But why don’t customers see it that way? How can the image be changed?

How much of a role should the world’s trade associations play? Is it their job to drive the image of the industry so that the public understands what’s involved when moving day comes? Those who say so must accept that their annual fees are going to rise dramatically as influencing public opinion is expensive.

Can social media help? Well, perhaps, but people are going to have to stop doing their dirty washing in public if they are going to make any progress here. It might also be a good idea to make the language a little sweeter on Facebook and Twitter too if the public is to think of the industry as truly professional. 

But from my experience I think that sales people have contributed to the faltering image of the industry. Selling is a profession from which everything else flows. If the sales person doesn’t get the order, nothing happens. If the price isn’t right, the company goes bust. Yet so often sales people have been replaced by estimators or surveyors as if ‘sales’ is a dirty word. The better the image the sales person can create, the better the price they can get. Yes, the service must match the promise, but the crew will never get a chance to do a good job if the salesman didn’t. In my opinion, a good start in the quest to improve the industry’s image would be to invest in sales training: establishing what a customer really wants and making sure that they know you alone can provide it.

So, what do you think? Is the image of the industry stopping you recruiting the best people? Is that helping to keep prices low? If so, what do you think should be done? Most commentators, when discussing this, simply reiterate the problem. Let’s break the mould and work out how to lift the industry to its rightful place in society.

Steve Jordan, Editor, The Mover magazine

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