Five characteristics of the best freight brokers

Kevin HillFreight Market Blog

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Have you ever heard of the Pareto rule? It is the principle that states for almost all systems the top 20% of performers in any portfolio generate 80% of the results. The Pareto rule holds for your portfolio of customers, basket of stocks, brands managed, and SKUs. It is especially true for all sales teams. The top 20% of freight brokers generate at least 80% of sales and gross margin for any third-party logistics provider (3PL) or freight brokerage. 

What makes the top 20% so good at brokering freight? There are a number of reasons that interlock, but FreightWaves has identified five characteristics that all top-performing freight brokers have in common.  

#1 They are in it for the long run – It takes time to build a book of business in any industry, and freight brokerage and 3PL sales is no expectation. There are countless errors and failures that the top freight brokers have experienced and learned from to get to where they are now. Through this process of trial and error, the top freight brokers learn from experience and are always doing what it takes now to lay the groundwork for the future. Average freight brokers on the other hand, struggle through their days making the same mistakes over and over without putting in the work and practice that will only yield results years down the road. 

#2 They enjoy solving problems – Problems are not bad news for the best freight brokers. For the high performers, problems are nothing but opportunities in disguise. Problems are an opportunity to serve their customers and become a true outsourced freight consultant. Even when it is their mistake, the top freight brokers are quick to admit error and start solving the customer’s problems, often before the customer realizes what the error means or how to come up with a solution. 

#3 They build solution flywheels – Of course, every problem needs a solution and the best freight brokers have become experts in providing solutions. There are no shortages of problems in freight, with no shortages of solutions to be provided. The more solutions a freight broker can offer, the more of a freight consultant they become. The more their advice is valued, the more loyal their customers become in return. With this type of cross-sell, up-sell, value-driven approach, the top freight brokers create a fly-wheel of positive solutions that saves their customers time and money when shipping freight. 

#4 They are freight market experts – The top performers in any profession are always the experts in the field. This doesn’t mean top freight brokers know everything about freight. Most are dedicated to their specific niches where their riches are found. They read and watch the freight markets closely and are some of the best freight forecasters in the industry. They subscribe to all the freight data and analytics tools they can find. The top freight brokers then put all this together to become the trusted freight advisor that their customers rely on to know what is going on with load demand, truck capacity and freight rates. 

#5 They build two networks – Freight brokers have two customer bases – shippers and carriers. Both are equally important and need constant attention. The freight brokers at the top of their game have the highest carrier retention rates. Not only do customers feel comfortable in giving them more and more freight to move, carriers and drivers enjoy working with them. This is because the top freight brokers are just as open and transparent with their carrier base as they are with their shipping customers. This makes sourcing new carriers easier and includes the highly sought after referrals from happy carriers. 

SONAR provides the fastest freight market data in the world, across all major modes of traffic. The SONAR platform is the only freight forecasting and analytics platform that offers real-time freight market intelligence driven off actual freight contract tenders. 

SONAR has proprietary data that comes from actual load tenders, electronic logging devices and transportation management systems, along with dozens of third-party global freight and logistics-related index providers like TCA Benchmarking, Freightos, ACT, Drewry and DTN.

Whether you’re working from the office or from home, SONAR can provide you the data and intelligence you need to stay ahead of your competitors. 

Find out more about FreightWaves SONAR for brokers.

You can find more information on freight brokerage sales on the popular FreightWaves sales show, Put That Coffee Down