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6 Lead Generation Tips for Freight Brokers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Whether business or personal, starting a new relationship with someone has its challenges.  When it comes to freight brokers contacting new prospects and building a new relationship, it may seem daunting if not overwhelming.  What do you say to your new contact?  How often should you be in touch with a new prospect?  How do you know if you are making the right choices moving forward or setting yourself up for failure?

Over time, freight brokers learn what works and what does not. But it takes time – and usually a long time. Meanwhile, many prospects (and opportunities) have been lost in the learning process.  Below are some ways that can help freight brokers new to the industry save on time and effort and propel them quicker towards success.  As for the more seasoned freight broker, these tips can serve as a refresher to help improve their game…and overall results!

 

Here are 6 lead generation tips to help freight brokers obtain quality leads:

1.  EVERY DAY, obtain THREE new business contacts (and call them):  FACT – As with most any industry, you will lose business for one reason or another. These new contacts will help to replace business that you will eventually lose or business that will never get off the ground (like the dreaded 1-shipment only customer). Some customers will not have any loads for 6 months or a year and then recontact you.  Others will fall through for other reasons, so it’s important that you continually seek and pursue new prospects.

2.  Do your research BEFORE you make the call: Cold calling people without doing any research tells them you did not consider the call important enough.  The key here is to understand that it is not about you – it is all about them. Make sure the conversation is about them, not you.  Use sales intelligence to turn a cold call into a warm call.  Sales Intelligence refers to technologies and practices for collection of information to help sales people keep up to date with clients and prospects.  Use Google and other search engines to gather relevant information (i.e. articles featuring the company and/or executives, recent awards or recognitions, and company locations).

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR WEBINAR ON HOW FREIGHT BROKERS CAN USE SALES INTELLIGENCE FOR PROSPECTING

To get information on your prospect’s company, begin by calling their sales department.  Salespeople are great individuals to talk to when you want to know everything about a company and where it’s going.  You can gain a great deal of knowledge from salespeople, so use that opportunity to ask them questions about what they do and how they do it.  Ask them what lanes they ship, or what states they operate in.

3.  Build a relationship:  Establish rapport with your contact and foster a connection.  It’s no secret – people are more likely to buy from a friend than from someone they view as a salesperson.  This can be difficult to achieve at first when making cold calls.  One way freight brokers can establish rapport is to start the conversation based on the lane they are running or the weight they are moving.  This is great information to use to help make that initial connection with prospects.  You will naturally learn how to build rapport as you learn the ins and outs of their business and the individual him or herself.  Try to think of the process as being on a football team: you start as a freshman and build your skills through training and practice.

4.  Expect resistance from prospects:  You WILL hear excuses such as “business is slow” or “we don’t have any loads that need to be moved.” But don’t give up!  Persistence is key. Remember to ALWAYS follow up with your prospects/customers.

5.  Take ACTION and follow through:  You’ll build proficiency through ACTION.  The process will get easier and you will get better at connecting, but you have to put in the time and effort.

6.  Stay FOCUSED: Keeping your focus is crucial.  Stay focused on the three p’s: the people, the process, and the product.  When you focus on the three most important aspects of business, you WILL have a successful freight broker business and/or be a successful freight broker agent for years to come!

 

Check out our infographic below – and don’t forget to share it with a freight broker who could use some tips on generating leads for their business!

 

Lead Generation Tips for Freight Brokers Infographic
Apply to be an LDi freight broker agent today!

How Top Freight Brokers Leverage Facebook to Grow Their Business

Recently, I had the opportunity of getting a little face-time with one of LDi’s top freight broker agents. During our conversation, he shared with me his struggles on building his presence on social media and with Facebook in particular. His main concern at the time was how he could grow his Facebook freight broker business page fan base. As LDi’s Marketing Manager, I was more than happy to share with him my social media expertise and offer in-depth insight and suggestions that he found to be valuable. It was then that it occurred to me that this information, as simple as it seemed to me with my background, was not so obvious to him and that it could be beneficial to ALL freight broker agents facing this very same struggle.

I’ll admit that this article might seem like a departure from more “traditional” methods for growing a freight broker business such as: turning cold calls into warm calls, finding new customers or retaining current ones, etc. But, I assure you that social media, once considered a novel alternative by businesses, is now a mainstream growth tool for your business and that you’re missing out on additional business opportunities if you are not fully embracing and exploring all avenues with regards to social media. To go a step further, if you have an established social media presence you may not be doing enough to truly reap the benefits that it offers. More specifically, I believe freight brokers should be utilizing Facebook equally if not more so than LinkedIn to grow their freight broker business and here’s my thoughts on why:  first, in the professional world, the general consensus is that LinkedIn is the ‘god of prospecting and connecting’ when it comes to businesses or business professionals…when the truth is that sales and growing your business is a numbers game and numbers are all about reach and exposure. And if you’re talking reach and exposure, no other social media network even comes close to Facebook. For those of you, and I’m sure there’s quite a few, that are saying, “But Facebook is a SOCIAL network!” That’s absolutely true. But, the number of people that are on Facebook and using it daily are astounding! Whereas on LinkedIn, very much considered the powerhouse of lead generation, user numbers are considerably less and they are not on LinkedIn daily. And, now I can hear those same individuals saying, “But we need to connect with businesses”. Also true. But we don’t sell to a business – we sell to a person.

My second reason, is any individual looking to sell a product or offer a service can’t ignore the TRUE determinant of why prospects become customers and customers stay loyal to you…and that’s RELATIONSHIPS. And I’m not talking about a ‘business relationship’ where you call, they have a need and you deliver a solution. That’s just logistics and if that’s your only approach you’ll spend more time trying to drum up new business and the rest of the time wondering why you can’t keep your customers. I’m talking about a personal relationship where you have put in the effort since day one with them. Getting to know your prospect/customer as a person, relating to their concerns, building trust and deepening that connection to the point where they aren’t just a business contact anymore – they are now a loyal customer that trusts your word, depends on you to service their needs and would not even consider sending their business elsewhere. There will even be days, once that level of comfort is firmly established, that your customer will give you a quick call, state their need and know you’ll just ‘handle it’. But chances are you also know their favorite hobby, if they’re married, have children or just bought a new house – all because you’ve built a personal relationship with them. And what social network is known, used for and deemed appropriate for building personal relationships and connecting on a personal level? That’s right – FACEBOOK!

FACTS:

  • More than 467 million people use LinkedIn BUT there are more than 1.6 BILLION users on Facebook DAILY!
  • More than 3 people sign up every second on LinkedIn BUT more than 8 people per second are added on Facebook!
  • An average user spends 17 minutes on LinkedIn per month BUT an average user spends 21 minutes on Facebook a DAY!

That’s impressive! Now that I’ve addressed the why and offered some facts, I’d like to share how a freight broker can begin leveraging Facebook as a POWERFUL tool to grow their business* even if they just created a Facebook business page TODAY! For those of you that have already been working with your Facebook business page, I’m confident that even you will benefit from some of these suggestions, keeping in mind I’m assuming nothing of your social networking abilities or depth in your current progress, so I’m starting with the basics:

  1. Create a Facebook business page
    1. Obviously! This is easily done from your personal page by looking to the upper right corner of your screen and clicking on the white downward arrow. In the drop down menu, select ‘Create Page’.
  2. Optimize your Facebook business page
    1. It’s important that BEFORE you decide to just create a business page for yourself that you research other users on Facebook, similar to you, that have created a business page and that you take the time to carefully review all the elements that went into their page (banner image, photos, bio, videos, everything). It’s always best to emulate the best instead of winging it or starting from scratch.
  3. Link your Facebook business page to your personal profile
    1. This is a great way to alert your personal contacts that you have a business page and hopefully drive them there and Like your business page. The more connections the better and those connections will hopefully help to share your business page content that could mean the potential for new or more business opportunities.
    2. To do this, start from your personal page and look on the left-hand side under ‘Intro’. Click on edit and start typing in the name of your business page. When you see it pop up, click on it to add it. Now it has become a link that people visiting your personal page can click on that will take them directly to your business page!
  4. Put a Facebook Fan Box on your website/blog
    1. Now that you’ve made your FB business page, don’t stop there! You need to promote your page every chance you get – be it on your website, in your blog, at your place of business, on your company literature, etc. Spread the word, again, it’s all about REACH and EXPOSURE.
  5. Take advantage of your personal Facebook account
    1. Whatever you post on your business page, you can also post on your personal page – that’s the beauty of Facebook and its lenient nature and flexibility.
  6. Content is KING
    1. Even if this is Facebook and interaction is very social and laid back, you should always post with being mindful to the “Big R’s” of social media:
      • Relative: relative refers to the content you are posting for your audience. ALWAYS think of your target audience FIRST before you post anything! You wouldn’t post a smoothie recipe on a jewelry store page. SPEAK to your SPECIFIC audience. Your Fans should find your page informative, helpful, interesting and appealing. Remember that this is your attempt at promoting your business side so you should project yourself as an expert, thought leader, educator and above all else, a professional.
      • Relevant: to attract and keep your Fans, you must post information that is always relevant. Keep topics current, keep your page fresh and you can even have fun with it by posting an industry article, a podcast of yours or (thanks to Facebook!) a funny meme about the transportation/logistics industry, etc. – and never, never, ever post anything questionable or offensive (I can’t stress this enough).
      • Reputable: whatever you post, that’s your image and whatever information you put out there, it needs to be accurate and easily verifiable.
      • Reciprocate: like any other social media network, content is shared. As much as you’d like your Fans to share your posts, you should make the same effort to regularly share some of your Fans posts as well. It can’t be a one-way street if you expect to continue having loyal Fans.
      • Responsive: Engagement is key. Just as you will invite comments and interaction from your Fans, you must make the effort to respond to their comments and stay constantly engaged with them. Answer questions, stay on top of your notifications, reply to comments and do it all in a timely manner! That’s just basic social media etiquette.
      • Results: Make sure to regularly check your Insights tab to gain valuable information/feedback on best time to post for your Fans, which of your efforts saw more engagement – was it a video? A meme? A posed question where they needed to select a response? An industry article? And harness that information to streamline your future efforts for better engagement by appealing more to your Fans.
  7. Post on Weekends
    1. With being the biggest social network out there, people aren’t just on it during work hours. They are on evenings AND weekends too! So, post anytime you want – if it’s good content (see #7).
  8. Invites, Likes and Fans
    1. Now that you’ve created a business page, you need FANS! Luckily there are SEVERAL ways to gain Likes:
      • Invite your friends from your personal page. Again, it’s all about reach and exposure and this one’s quick and easy.
      • From your personal page, join groups relative to your business page. For instance, freight brokers might search for groups using some of these words: truck, trucks, trucking, freight, freight broker, shipping, logistics and so on. Once you join or are accepted into some groups, you are now free to post content to their page. Make sure you don’t do anything to get yourself kicked from the group such as over-posting or bad content. The rule is, if you’re unsure – DON’T POST!
      • Make another established freight broker/trucking contact an admin to your business page. This is another quick and easy way to have access to their connections and invite them to your page as well!
  9. Create a Group
    1. Not only can you add Fans to a group by promoting it on your personal and business pages but others on FB will be searching for groups to join that they are interested in and join your group all on their own! How easy is that???
    2. Also, since you created the group, you set the tone for the page and content. This is the next best thing to prequalifying your prospects! Even though not all group members might be a hot prospect, at least they are more targeted and easily accessible to you.
  10. Check Yourself
    1. Just a word of warning as you venture into Facebook territory and begin marketing your professional self and your business. In the past, what might have been viewed as acceptable to your personal connections on your personal page (trash talk, slang, off color or inappropriate jokes/references, etc.) will now be potentially viewed and judged by anyone that connects to your business page. So, it might be wise to examine the content on your personal page (videos, posts, images, content) to make sure there is nothing that might offend or turn away potential prospects or current customers.

Let the above methods serve as a jumping off point for any freight broker looking to create a Facebook business page or have already done so but not sure how to proceed in optimizing it’s use. For those that found this information to be too basic and you’re looking to deepen your leveraging efforts with your Facebook business page even more, I invite you to obtain a copy of our free report, “Advanced Facebook Leveraging for Freight Brokers”.

If you have any additional suggestions on how to leverage a Facebook business page to help grow fan base and ultimately business opportunities, we’d love hear them! So, please feel free to comment on this or any of LDi’s blog posts or suggest future article topics and thanks for reading!

*Please keep in mind that this only serves as a general gauge and not all freight brokers will reach the same level of achievement, results or success when utilizing a Facebook business page to gain more customers or grow their business.

15 Must-Know Questions Freight Brokers Ask To Move More Freight

The life of a freight broker agent can be very rewarding but not without some challenges.  Calling to find freight is definitely one of those challenges of the business.  Freight agents need to find freight – so you need to make the calls.  Every freight broker knows this.  To add to this…you may be a freight broker agent, but you aren’t really a salesperson.  Your real job is to solve your customer’s freight and shipping challenges.
In order to solve challenges for our customers, we must first figure out:

  1. What are the customers challenges?
  2. What frustrates them?
  3. What do they wish other freight brokers would do that they don’t?
  4. What causes the customer stress?

The answers to these questions can’t be discovered when we do 90% of the talking.  Instead, we MUST ask great questions, and then close our mouths and write down the answers we’re given.  Once we know what their challenges are, and we know that we can assist them to solve these challenges; we can start talking about us.

What Questions Freight Brokers Must Ask The Shipping Decision-Makers To Build A Relationship With Them:

  1.  Tell Me About Your Business?

First off, you should have already googled the company you’re calling.  Ask this question to break the ice.  Good companies love to talk about what they’re doing.  Join in the conversation from the information you already have with them.

  1.  What Are Your Main Responsibilities?

The answer you want to hear is “I’m the Shipping Manager/ Shipping Decision Maker/ in charge of freight here”.  If they’re director of purchasing, simply ask for the name of the shipping manager.  After asking for the shipping manager’s name, ask if you can speak to them.  Once you get to the shipping decision maker, listen carefully to their responsibilities.

  1.  Who Else, Besides You, Makes Your Shipping Decisions?

Your goal is to talk to the person with the power.  Everybody else has problems you can potentially solve, but the person who makes the shipping decisions is the only one who has the authority to let you assist him/her.

  1.  What’s Your Biggest Challenge Shipping Your _______________?

Ask for the biggest challenge shipping their products.  Ensure you write down the answer to this question.

  1.  What Happens When ________________________________ Happens?

This is for locating their challenges beforehand, so you can solve them when they happen.

  1.  What Are Your Main Priorities While Moving Your Freight?

(IE. Price, transit time etc.) Another question you must write down the answer to.

  1.  What Qualities Do You Look For In A Great Transportation Partner?

Your goal is to be excellent in this profession.  Excellent results only come to excellent people with excellent work ethics.  When you know what’s important to them, you’ll ensure them that you’ll fulfil their requirements.

  1.  What Do You Like Most About Your Current Freight Broker?

This question shows that you have class and that you don’t speak poorly of your competition.

  1.  What Would You Change About Your Current Freight Broker?

If they say “I wish they would get their rates to me faster”, then you ensure them that you’ll get your rates to them fast!  With all of the information your prospects give you, write everything down.  By taking action and giving them what their current agent doesn’t, you’ll stand out and be seen as both better and different than their current agent.

  1.  Do You Keep Your Options Open For Transportation Partners?

This is one of the main questions you MUST ask.  This question qualifies your prospect.

  1.  What’s Your Criteria for Bringing in a New Freight Broker?

Some may have criteria, some don’t.  Overall, their criteria is for you to solve their challenges.  When you go to them with your solutions, you break their autopilot and comfort zone and they won’t be able to help but listen to you.

  1.  How Do You Measure Success With Current Freight Brokers?

The main way is that their freight broker gets their freight picked up, transported and delivered on time.  But always see if you can go deeper for other answers and insights.

  1.  How Would I Win Your “Freight Broker Of The Year” Award?

They might be reluctant to answer or tell you they don’t have an award like this.  Use the phrase “But if you did have an award, how would I win it” to give them permission to open up and tell you what is most important to them.

  1.  What Lanes Are You Shipping Right Now?

Remember, success on the telephone goes to the person with the best notes.

  1.  What’s Your Email Address So I Can Send You My Information?

You MUST ask this question every time.  We’ve already shown we’re interested in them and gotten to know their requirements.  Don’t forget this final step where you capitalize on all the work you’ve already done.

There are countless other questions a freight broker agents could ask a customer/prospect.  The above questions are a great starting point to engage them and find the answers that will not only serve to develop a relationship but help you be THE freight broker agent they choose to solve their freight and shipping challenges.  Now, it’s up to you to ensure they’ve made the right choice and turn them from a good prospect into a great customer!