We suspect you’re looking to accomplish a few things by joining a 3PL’s Freight Agent Program. Whatever your reasons, a competent and responsive agent-based brokerage is key to help your freight brokerage grow.
Interested in becoming a freight broker? Before you jump into brokering freight, brokers and other industry experts agree these are the must-do tasks before you set out on your own.
Finding new shipping customers is not easy, we know. With you in mind, we put together this post for some ideas on how you can grow your book of business!
You’re taking the leap from being someone’s employee to brokering on your own. So what should you expect when switching from an employer’s Form W-2 to a Form 1099?
Growing your freight broker business can seem daunting. You probably landed your first few clients fairly easily: you had industry connections and were able to negotiate solid contracts. Those first big customers were enough to launch you on your own.
Now that you’re established and have your existing customers solidly managed, you probably want to keep growing your business. This is going to take a bit of ingenuity and creativity on your part, but fear not; we have some proven tactics that you can implement now to help grow your business.
As we all know, generating leads doesn’t just happen. There are a few things required to earn qualified, quality leads.
Know Your Value Proposition
Don’t just tell people what your business does. Tell people why your business is the best at brokering.
Why did your first few customers originally go with you? Probably because you offered something their existing primary freight broker couldn’t. This might have been because:
- You were the most reliable contact to reach by phone.
- Your customer service was exceptional.
- You knew the industry better than anyone else they were dealing with.
- You connected them with a reliable carrier who is always in their area.
You personally provided exceptional value and someone wanted to work with you regularly because of it.
What was that thing (or things) you did so incredibly well? Feel free to even ask your best clients what’s so great about you. In fact, ask them for an answer in an email or by messaging them on LinkedIn. If you have a personal reference or testimonial in writing from satisfied past or existing clients, you have a concrete reference.
Just how important are these testimonials that express your unique value proposition? Here’s some food for thought: according to one Hawkeye study, 71% of B2B buyers in the awareness stage and 77% in the evaluation stage cited them as the most influential types of content.
Tip: Make certain you know exactly what your value proposition is, because it’s going to matter in this next step.
Present Your Value on Your Company Website
Do you have a website?
If the answer is yes, skip these next two paragraphs.
If the answer is no, why? Every single business should have a website, even businesses in logistics. Buck Ballard of The Trucking Podcast puts owning your own website as a high priority in this day and age: “You got a business, you need some real estate.” Websites are the new business card.
It’s easier than ever to have your own website. Services such as GoDaddy and Wix have free website templates to plug your content into. Free websites will have some restrictions, but if a website is acting as a placeholder for your company info, then don’t worry about it. If those restrictions bother you, then there are plenty of web designers out there for hire that will design and maintain a website for a fee. If you don’t have a website, get that sorted out now.
A web presence needs to include your value proposition, contact information, and a lead capture form. Make certain your website is easily accessible: it’s on your LinkedIn Profile, it’s on Facebook, on your Twitter bio; everywhere.
First, you want your value proposition in front of people. Carriers and shippers will work with you because you provide something exceptional. Remember those written references from your best customers? Ask if it’s ok for you to include a quoted testimonial from it on your website.
Second, your contact information needs to be prominently displayed on the website. As mentioned earlier, websites have essentially replaced business cards. Whatever you would have included on a business card, make certain it’s on the website.
Finally, make certain you have a lead capture form to collect a name, company name, email, and phone number. If you want any other information, you can add more fields. Most website templates include contact forms which can work as lead captures for your small business. It serves the purpose, as you’ll receive notifications to your inbox when someone sends you a contact form with their information.
As business owner and CEO, Donald Miller is quick to point out in his book, Building a Story Brand, a person’s email is one of the most private things they could give you. It’s their direct line and they aren’t keen on handing it out for nothing. In order to make leads feel comfortable giving you their contact information, give them good reason with your value proposition on the company’s website.
This takes some leg work, but it’s worth it.
First form of outreach: ask for referrals from your existing clients.
Make it clear that you are expanding your business because your resources have grown, not because you’re going to negate on the excellent service you’re providing. If your client enjoys working with you, ask them to pass along your contact info to others in their network.
This is where the website and lead capture form will come into play. Your clients will forward your website to those in their network and that new potential business will fill out your contact form.
People are incredibly uncomfortable handing out the contact information of others—I won’t hand out any of my friend’s information. However, we’re all quick to send a friend a business’s website. A friend of mine has been seeing a chiropractor for 20 years, so when I said I was looking for one, she messaged me the business website. I checked out the therapies, called to make an appointment, and now I have a chiropractor I’m very happy with. Since she trusted this business, I was willing to trust them too.
Second form of outreach: you may need to cold call. (But do your research first.)
No one likes cold calling, which is why LDI helps you set up your cold call process. Our agents receive a 90-day onboarding guide which includes step-by-step and scenario-by-scenario call scripts to find new prospects. Whatever the situation, you will be coached and prepared with call templates and guidelines to steer the conversation towards securing new customers.
Need More Help?
Start with these three things to improve your lead generation:
Be able to sell yourself: knowing what value you offer to this industry will help you secure customers and partners whose values align with yours.
Display your value proposition clearly: a website that says who you are, what you do, why you’re the best at doing it, how long you’ve been doing it, and how others can contact you will make the right impression. A website says that you mean business and you’re here not only to stay, but to grow.
Reach out: Ask your clients and partners to pass along your contact information to others in the industry. You’re looking to grow your business and want your best customers to pair you up with other fantastic customers. Short of that, pick up the phone and start calling to find other amazing businesses to work with.
Ready to start putting these freight broker lead generation tactics to use? With the help LDI’s savvy, experienced team, our handy onboarding guide, and our industry-leading technology, your freight brokerage will be on its way to becoming a lead generation machine.
Sales prospecting often means cold calling as many people as you can, and hoping they all end in a hot lead or new client for your freight agency. Getting a prospect on the phone long enough to ask your essential sales call questions is crucial. However, people don’t take to cold calling quite as well as they used to. In fact, 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on a “Do Not Call” list.
So, what can you do to ensure you’re carrying out effective sales calls? Ask the right questions. A first call with a potential client will set the tone for the remainder of your relationship together. If you have the time and resources, it’s highly recommended that you carry out some research about your prospect and their company and industry before calling. And when you’re on the call, sincerely listen and ask about their specific problems and concerns, and — most importantly — offer help. Help them envision their business running a little smoother doing business with you.
If you’re not sure if you’re asking the right questions to set your relationship up for success, don’t fret! We’ve compiled 13 essential questions that freight brokers like you should ask on a sales call to help not only make effective sales, but build sustainable client relationships, as well.
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?
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).
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.
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.