How to Get Freight From Shippers
Eagle Express Service Contributor
-Lead Generation and customer acquisition are one of the more difficult tasks that freight brokers can experience.
-Place more and more leads into your pipeline
-More leads = more potential to convert into customers
-Implement sales flow to build rapport, establish trust, and collect shipment offers
WORK ON YOUR WARM MARKET FIRST
People you already know that may have an in with the company that they work for (shippers, manufacturers, supply chain managers, etc.). Your warm market is more likely to go to bat for you than someone who’s relationship is not as strong. Since your warm market has already established relationships with suppliers, you have an increased chance of acquiring new business.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS
When you’re out and about, pay attention to industrial buildings and warehouses. Any companies located in industrial centers usually have additional square footage, or warehouse units to allow for receiving and shipping materials. Once you find out the names of these companies, start conducting your research on what they are shipping, what type of trucks they use for transport, who their customers are, and where they are shipping. Having this information readily available allows you to identify any weak points they may have in their current supply chain. Address why it is important to eliminate any potential errors (excess freight, no available trucks, damaged goods, or late pickup/arrival) so the shipper is reminded of the importance of having a reliable facilitator of their freight. As you probably already know, time to recovery (TTR) is an important metric to consider, since one error can really set a customer back in their daily operations. Assure the customer that you will do your best to keep their operation running efficiently.
USE THE INTERNET
The internet is a remarkable tool for marketing and obtaining information on companies. For example, if you wanted to acquire shippers that move furniture, then you could Google search “companies that ship furniture". The list of companies that appear in the search engine are now your newest prospects. You may be thinking, there's no way it's that easy. In which case, you'd be right. The work of prospecting is simple but not easy. You'll need to get in touch with the logistics manager or coordinator in charge of finding transport vehicles to ship their goods.
BECOME A SPECIALIST IN A SPECIFIC INDUSTRY
Become a master at moving a specific type of freight (i.e. apparel, heavy machinery, produce, etc.) Companies will appreciate your expertise, which will help build credibility. By specializing in certain industries, you can create leverage when attempting to negotiate with companies for their business. You can say, “I actually am currently working with another company that is moving these kinds of loads. In fact, I already have carriers on deck that can move these shipments.” Since you have experience working with specific types of goods, you can simplify the process for the shipper. The easier you make the process for them, the more likely they are to want to work with you over a lesser experienced broker of that particular item.
PURSUE THE DESTINATION
A good way to get in contact with customers is to call either way the location of where a shipment is getting picked up or delivered. For example, if there are goods being transported from Oakland to Long Beach, then rest assured, there are goods coming into the port that are going to require shipping as well. If you call with enough frequency, then you will eventually come across a load that needs to be moved.
There is no more honest way of increasing your market penetration than through referrals. But why are referrals important? It is like rewarding you for continuously going above and beyond for others, without any agenda. Over time, customers will naturally begin to refer you to other companies as their source of quality shipping. You can also target companies that you have picked up loads from, once the transaction is completed.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media platforms can be a great way to communicate with or gather information on businesses. Most companies will usually indicate what line of work they are in on their profile, which will provide you with greater insight as to whether or not they are a good prospect for a potential shipper. If you determine they are doing some form of shipping, you can send them a direct message to introduce yourself and inquire about their shipping needs. In addition to directly reaching out to consumers, developers have created dynamic social media management tools to optimize outreach, manage customer relationships, and improve engagement with their audience.
You can never go wrong with the old school B2B door-to-door sales approach. Customers tend to respond better anyways when there is a physical presence in front of them, versus trying to respond via email or phone. When faced with the challenge of walking into a business unannounced, it is imperative to allow yourself the opportunity to be told "yes" or "no". Attempt to identify who the decision maker is and be sure your making your presentation to that person. Once you have solidified a meeting with the customer, there are some sales protocols you'll want to adhere to if you want to increase the odds of you closing business. Bring a customer packet with you in the rare case that they do agree to do business with you on the first visit. In case of the inability to do business after the first meeting, be sure to exchange contact information. There is always a chance that they may require your services at a later point and time.
CUSTOMER CREDIT REFERENCE SHEET
Often customers will provide a credit reference sheet to ensure the broker that they have a track record of paying on time and in the correct amount in previous transactions. As long as you received these contacts in an ethical manner, you may reach out to these contacts and mention you were referred by that company because of your existing positive relationship with them throughout your time servicing their logistics needs. If they respond positively, see if they themselves have any shipments that they would be willing to let you move.
FIND OUT WHAT'S WAITING
If you already have shipments going out to a location, see if there’s anything else that needs to be transported out of that location. They’ll get a better rate considering you’re already dropping off shipments in that general location. Not only that, you'll be putting additional money in your driver's pocket. They'll be happy about that and maybe cut you some slack on the next load you book with them.