Cold Call Questions Modern Freight Brokers Must Ask

Prospecting to a Modern Crowd

We’ve previously written on the 13 Essential Sales Call Questions for Freight Brokers. It’s written specifically with cold call questions in mind and the script is worth reading. The advice is timeless and there are some sales aspects you’ll want to review. We’ve even brought a few of the questions here, so you might see some overlap.

However, we don’t live in a timeless age of Sales. You have to know the basic Principles of Sales (some things never change), but the act of engaging in Sales isn’t static. Communication etiquette changes. The ways in which people hear and respond changes. Be certain you’re using the timeless principals while adjusting to the times.

Prospecting to Modern Customers

Freight brokers work with customers across the country, so it’s impossible to hit the pavement to solicit new customers. Very few businesses have the patience for off-the-street salespeople anyways. Freight brokers need to call and/or email to find new customers.

We’ve written on a few updated ways to find new shipping customers. Now it only seems fitting that we refresh our cold calling post with updated ways to engage with prospects.

Once you have your new list of prospects figured out, hit them up! You can email or message them, but there’s nothing like a good old fashioned phone call.

Your Value Proposition as an LDI Freight Agent

You’re a great freight broker because you provide excellent service. In order to provide excellent service, you know the answers to the following questions concerning your current customers:

  • What are the customer’s challenges?
  • What frustrates them?
  • What do they wish other freight brokers would do but don’t?
  • What causes the customer stress?

Prove to yourself you know these answers for your top three customers. Write them down on a piece of paper and keep those answers handy.

On the other side of that paper, think about how you solve those issues. What are the skills you use to bring solutions to the table? Industry knowledge? A readiness to call 30 carriers to move a difficult load? A trusted carrier network? Write down what you have that makes you a great broker to your customers. Title these your Value Proposition.

Now that you have written proof that you’re a broker who understands your customers, you should have confidence you’re a great partner. Use that confidence while calling on new customers! Even if you don’t feel like you’re a good sales person, you know you’re a good freight broker, so make that work for you.

Ready, Set, Cold Call

Have a notepad ready. Whether you take notes by hand (better) or notes on a screen (better than nothing), just have some way to record information quickly.

Or just have a few copies of our freight broker cold call questionnaire printed and ready (best)!

Title the notepad header with the prospect’s information: the business name and your contact person.

While you’re calling these businesses, begin with the usual, “Hi, this is [your name], is this [contact at prospect’s name]?” Confirm, or get transferred to the right person.

Cold Calling Check List

Freight Agent Cold Calling Questions

Warming Up a Cold Call

  • I’m A Freight Broker Specializing In ______. I Have Trucks In Your Area Delivering ____; Are These The Kind Of Shipments You Do Too?

    This is a different way of asking about their business. You’ve already done research on this prospect, so you know what they ship. You chose a similar freight haul for that exact reason, knowing that the prospect uses those trucks you just described. Demonstrate your expertise of your specialization by bringing attention to the fact that you have that particular truck in their area and don’t they use that truck too?

    Whatever you do, DO NOT give your prospect a chance to say no. Consider: if you say no to someone asking something of you, you’re likely to end the conversation right there. But if you say yes, then you’re sticking around for a follow up question.

    Ask this question, or a variation of it, to get the prospect saying “yes” right away.

  • Tell Me About Your Shipments.

    Good companies love to talk about what they’re doing. Where do they ship to? How often do they ship? Do they have busy times and lulls? Are they currently doing the shipping themselves or do they have a broker? Remember take notes as needed.

  • 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.” Hopefully you have been speaking to the right person, because you did your homework on LinkedIn or another Social Media site that lists this person’s work title. However, positions change and people might not update titles, so it’s good to ask this subtle question just to be sure. If the contact’s position did change, note the correct title next to your contact’s name at the top of your notes.

    If they’re the director of purchasing, mention that based on everything they told you, it sounds like you and this prospect will be a good fit for each other. Ask for the name of the shipping manager and if ___ will give you a warm transfer. Note the name and title of the person you’re getting transferred to so you may reference them by name throughout the call.

    When you get to the shipping decision maker, listen carefully to their responsibilities.

  • Who Else, Besides You, Makes Shipping Decisions?

    This is your double-check. Your goal is to talk to the person with the power. Everybody else has problems you can potentially solve (refer to your notes from earlier), but the person who makes the shipping decisions is the only one who has the authority to let you assist him/her.

  • What’s Your Biggest Challenge Shipping Your Freight?

    Write down the answer to this question. Ask follow up questions to understanding their challenges beforehand so you can solve them when they happen. If a similar customer has a similar challenge, briefly share that you have experience solving this problem.

  • What Are Your Main Priorities While Moving Your Freight?

    Another question you must write down the answer to. Usually these answers will be along the lines of price or transit time, but you might be surprised.

  • 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. Knowing what’s important to the decision maker will make them feel that you’ll fulfill their requirements.

Getting Down to Business

  • 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.

  • What Would You Change About Your Current Freight Broker?

    Write down all the information your prospects give you. If they say “I wish they would get their rates to me faster,” then mention you have a history of getting your rates to customers fast!  But don’t spend too much time talking about yourself; you want the prospect to talk and enjoy speaking with you.

  • Do You Keep Your Options Open For Transportation Partners?

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

  • 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.

    This is why you have your value proposition right in front of you: to inspire you to promote your success as a freight broker and highlight the great service they’ll receive partnering with you.

  • How Do You Measure Success With Current Freight Brokers?

    Success is probably measured by how seamlessly their freight is picked up, transported, and delivered on time.  But always see if you can go deeper for other answers and insights.

  • How Would You Award 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 you award it?” to give them permission to open up and tell you what is most important to them.

  • What Lanes Are You Shipping Right Now?

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

  • I’ve Really Enjoyed Speaking With You Today; Thanks For Your Time. 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. It’s where you capitalize on all the work you’ve done.

Keep Up the Momentum!

There are countless other questions a freight broker agent could ask a customer/prospect.  The above questions are a great starting point to engage prospects during a cold call. You’ll 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!

For words of encouragement and any professional support, reach out to your corporate team at LDI. We won’t micromanage your day-to-day business, and we are always here to mentor, help, and train.

freight agent program - logistic dynamics
1 reply
  1. Katie Ireland
    Katie Ireland says:

    With any cold cold you have to be prepared with a list of questions. Doing some research on your customer is very important. Remember people listen and buy from people they like. Always to continue to find new prospects. I have said to my agents prospecting the same leads over and over again is really not helping anyone. Actively finding new leads everyday is where your going to grow a business. -Katie Ireland -Business Development Recruiter-

    Reply

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