Image credit: Old Dominion Freight Line

Get More Sales for Freight Brokers: Cold Calling and In-bound Branding

For lead-generation purposes, cold calling is a tried-and-true tactic. It is extremely appropriate for business whose purchasing audience is very small, for instance, the entrepreneurs and owners in freight brokerage industry.
By Hazel Nguyen | 8 min read
on May 27, 2020
Image credit: Old Dominion Freight Line

At some point in your freight brokerage career, you will be required to call someone you don’t know to get something you want. This is what called cold calling, and the phone can take you to another atmosphere. If you get your phone game on, you will get more confidence, have higher levels of activity, and a bigger bank account for your freight brokerage firm. When it comes to growing this type of company - freight brokerage, you’re going to have to become good at cold calling. There’s just no way around it.

The cold calling is the solicitation of business from potential customers who were not anticipating such an interaction. Cold calling is a technique where a salesperson, technician, owner or service person contacts individuals or businesses who have not previously expressed an interest in the product or services being offered. Cold calling typically refers to phone calls but can also entail drop-in visits, such as door to door.

The willingness to call those not yet known is one of the great traits of highly successful entrepreneurs and start-up owners. The willingness to contact and get meetings with people you don’t yet know to get what you have not yet gotten is cold calling. Before looking at how to combat cold calling about fictitious accident claims, it is worth noting that not all cold calls are unnecessary. Most companies will take you off their marketing list if you change your mind but there are some companies who push the boundaries and some that go way beyond the boundaries.

Cold Calling Is Essential to Grow Your Revenue

Cold calling works very well as a lead-generation tactics for certain types of businesses. It is particularly effective if your business has a small and well-defined purchasing audiences, such as freight brokerage businesses.

Your aim now is to get out there and identify paying clients for your freight brokerage business. However, it is easier said than done. You need to know where to go to find shippers. There are plenty of places you can try. For instance, you can consider the numerous shipper databases or directories.

First off, you need to have an in-dept look at how to define it by using demographic, psychographic and geographic targeting your clients. Then, once you’ve defined your target audience, the next step is to create a targeted list of contact and demographic information for your potential customers. When you have a potential lead, don’t call them before researching the company. If you call without any serious knowledge about a company, its operations or brands, then you could easily be dismissed, and they might not take your future calls. Research always impresses your caller. The list should provide you with their phone number, job title and any useful information about their companies, or where they work. When you have a list of phone numbers, technically you can call the people on the list.

Then, you need to have a script. You need to know why a script is a must-have item. It is because you need to manage how you talk to prospects and control the variables involved in selling your business. The script you follow will work. As you go, you can test a different variant of your script to see if it works better than the first version. You may also eventually develop a different style of script for people in different regions of the country. You may find that your cold open for a female in New York is different than how you start a conversation with a male in Massachusetts. The more variables in your process you can control, the faster you will find a process and style that works best for you.

Get More Sales For Freight Brokers Cold Calling And In-bound Branding Image 1
Image Credit: Press Associate

The problem with making cold calls is that you’re annoying the person you’re calling. The problems start when you don’t present yourself and speak with confidence once someone does pick up the phone. Don’t get me wrong, but it can be a draining process. Be regimented about the times of day you make callings and be disciplined with the number of calls you make. And you need to be feeling confident, energetic but relaxed when making calls. If you are uncomfortable, that tension, that discomfort is going to come through in your tone, whether you realize it or not. So, set out a plan each day, break your calling up into quarters. And remember, smile before you dial. Of all the freight broker sales tips you come across in your research, this one is probably the most important.

So, focus on pulling out problems. Don’t sell anything unless explicitly asked. What you should do when you get someone on the phone is get your prospect talking, and hopefully talking about any problems or pain points they may be experiencing. This is how you learn about their business and learn about the opportunities you must become a freight supplier that they value greatly. When you get a prospect to hit on something that’s not going quite right for them, ask more questions about that problem. You want to focus on digging deeper into that specific problem. The more you can uncover the pain, and even pain the prospect didn’t realize they were experiencing, the more opportunity you will find to become their pain relief, or problem solver.

There is an off chance that a prospect asks you specifically about your freight, your current customers and your capabilities. You need to be able to talk competently about your business. The best way to do this is to have everything tracked in your transportation management software. You will you be able to tell your prospect that you can see exactly where your freight is always. And you could even share impressive details around your on-time delivery percentage over the last week or month. Maybe even mention how you have plenty of capacity in key areas where your prospect might need support. The data you track should be used as an asset. Particularly when it makes sense to demonstrate your abilities to a prospect.

Powerful Lead Generation Tips for Freight Brokers

Start with the First Step in Cold Calling

You may start with the list mentioned above. Or, you may have worked in a specific industry earlier, and may have a good working understanding of the sector. Start with it and move on from there to cold calling other industries. Plus, you’ll probably be able to offer a more competitive price since you already have the transport logistics ready at the destination and don’t have to organize any special transportation. To make the most of the trip to the destination, connect companies that may need moving consignment from there and offer them a reduced price. This way you’ll optimize your resources.

Also, call the companies where your current load is being dropped off and ask beforehand if they have any loads that need to be picked up since you will anyway be having transportation ready after dropping off the consignment to them. You won’t always hit jackpot using this method. However, at times, these companies may have their own load to drop off, where you can quickly seize the opportunity by offering them reduced shipping rates. Stay persistent when approaching these companies. They may not have anything for you at first. However, if you persist, they may just give you a one-off order and then turn it into regular business if they are satisfied with your services.

Begin with People You Know Well or Your Current Social Circle

Make professional looking business cards and brochures and let them know you’ve launched a new freight brokering business. Ask your social contacts, friends, acquaintances, and distant family members about the organizations they are employed with. You never know, these firms may need shipping services and may come knocking on your door. While most zealous start-up founders chase slick lead generation techniques, most ignore the power of tapping into your own backyard for business. Get a breakthrough into an industry through your initial contacts, and later build on it by targeting other firms in the same field/industry.

You can advise new freight brokering professionals and companies to keep a notepad and paper handy in their vehicle for jotting down the names of companies they spot while travelling. Mention the name of the company, prominent landmarks, any contact information, or anything else of special mention which can come handy in the rapport building process. You may note special information like they are the city’s biggest paper manufacturers or a fast food chain with the largest turnover in town.

Establishing Your Connection and Reputation

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Image Credit: XPO

A clean and awesome reputation so you get plenty of referrals from existing customers. Your existing customers are the best evangelists for your freight brokering firm. When word spreads through the industry about your professional and prompt services, other companies may want to try your services too. Let us say a company had to ship their consignment somewhere and at the last minute, trucks weren’t available. The first thing those companies will do is check with their contacts if any alternate trucking companies or trucks are available. If you have a good reputation in the market, the contacts or other companies in the industry who’ve received satisfactory services from you will recommend your name to the stranded companies. This can give you plenty of referral leads.

Identify other shipping destinations within the same company. Say you’ve established a good working relationship with the shipping in charge of the shipping plant of the main company. However, the main company may have plenty of other locations across the country. These may also happen to areas where you’ve established carrier relationships. Use your networking and relationship building skills (a hallmark of a good freight broker) to get your contacts to introduce you to shipping managers of different locations of the same firm. Get the word of mouth referrals. Ensure that you don’t straight off ask your contacts for connections introductions. Be a little discreet and use your discretion. You’ll need to do some fishing for on the phone and email to prequalify leads. Get a feel of your contact’s rapport shipping managers of other locations.

Using In-bound Marketing to Grow Your Freight Broking Business

Cold calling is effective, but it is also a traditional and “old-school” tactic. But it is a good idea to talk about cold calling as a marketing tactics. If you use it right, you can turn cold calling into a very effective tool for generating marketing leads for your freight brokerage business.  

In today’s age of technology, a huge chunk of your profit is left on the table if you aren’t tapping into the benefits of social media and doing business online. You build a steady community of loyal buyers who bring repeat business and more customers through word of mouth among their social contacts. Savvy businessmen are discovering the power of community in increasing their business and establishing greater communication with customers. Use slick digital marketing trends to draw more customers and reap rich profits in the freight brokering business.

Initial Client Interactions

Ideally, the best way to contact clients is via the Internet. Once an online connection has been established, you can then move on to the phone. Therefore, your first interaction with your client will be via phone. The problem is that, on most occasions, you will be redirected to voicemail. If you leave a message, then your recipient will most likely not return your call. If you are unable to get a callback after three or four calls, you may want to move on to your next client. Most shippers are very busy individuals with a lot of work to do. If you come across a potential client, simply inquire whether they use freight brokers or not. If they do, then this is your chance to pitch your services. Take the chance to show how different you are from others. Have some confidence and speak well without stuttering. If your potential client has questions, be patient and listen to them. Then proceed to answer the questions as clearly as possible. Remember that shippers have been in this business for a long time. They prefer talking to someone who knows what they are talking about. Therefore, do not beat about the bush; get straight to the point.

Branding by Your Website

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Image Credit: Press Associate

Clients always want to know whom they are dealing with. Since you are unlikely to get to meet shippers and transporters in person, the next best platform is a business website. Therefore, take the time to create a professional website. This website should be informative, user-friendly, and presentable. It should have your official business name, a logo, and a clear indication that you are a freight brokerage firm. You need to let your potential clients know about your services, any specialization, experience, and even accreditations.

Crucial information that your website should display is contact information. Make sure that you include your address, official business name, and other contact information, such as an email address and phone number. If you have an official mailing address, include this as well.

Apart from these details, let potential associates, clients, and the public know about your exceptional services that can be tailored for different shippers. Talk about all the positive attributes, including affordable rates, reliability, efficiency, and so on. You want people to know just how professional and excellent your services are. As soon as your website is ready, let it go live, then start the optimization process. If you want to create an optimized website with an effective online presence so that your clients can find you, do not hesitate to contact us.

Include a Referral Bonus at the End of Every Mail You Send

As a freight broker, you send plenty of mails to prospects as well as non-prospects. View every mail you send as an opportunity to refer someone who needs your services to you. Offer what it presently costs, including your time and money to get a new customer. Is it worth it, you ask? Do the calculations yourself. Incentivize your current network to give yourself better business. You may spend some money initially on these referrals however the value of new customers is tremendous. This is how you go your business.

The Bottom Line

Even though many marketing cold calls are perfectly legitimate and above board many of us have experienced nuisance phone calls on a regular basis. Once you start to understand how well the approach of cold calling works, you’ll see that there’s a different, more logical, way to approach cold calling than you’ve read about in other books and articles you’ve found.

If you’ve handled the cold calling properly, if you haven’t made the mistake of presenting before you have enough information, the cold calling will make sense to you and the other clients that you get the sale.

This article is also credited to Stephan Schiffman and Freight Brokers.

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