As Warren Buffett’s famous quote goes, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” This is as true in sales as it is in investing.
Often sales people in freight get caught in a “price trap.” This scenario is best described as when the sale is based on being the one with the lowest rate. This is an issue in freight, because it is often difficult for most trucking and logistics companies to truly differentiate themselves from the competition.
In industries where differentiation is difficult, salespeople often focus on being the low-cost provider. This often leads companies to choose the lowest cost provider, which results in a race to the bottom where service levels are consistently below expectations.
The good news though is you start competing at a higher level in your freight broker sales game today by following these five proven methods to create value for your customers:
#1 – Always smile – The cheapest and easiest method is to just have a good attitude. It costs you nothing, and adds more value than you can imagine. People like doing business with people they like, so smile, be pleasant and solve problems quickly.
Respond immediately to inquiries (telephone calls, emails and any other form of contact). By doing this you are saving your customers time, which we all know is money. Be like a great waiter who knows what diners need before they even know it themselves.
#2 – Own a niche – Make yourself and your company the experts in your most profitable niche. This can be based on geography, lanes, industries, commodities, consolidation, freight forecasting, etc. Just pick a niche you want to grow and go all in on it. Don’t worry about being all things to all customers. Become the market expert by diving deep into the niche and sharing your knowledge freely.
Publish and give away so much free advice so that it makes you nervous about giving away your secret sauce. Then, push the envelope from there, and give out even more knowledge for free. There’s a huge difference between having access to knowldege and executing it. Most people will still feel it’s easier to hire the expert (you), than try to replicate what you’re doing. And your competitors are probably trying to copy what you are doing already, so why not claim the number one expert spot in the mind of the market before they do.
#3 – Name it and claim it – Document a proven process you are using now that keeps your customers coming back to you. Your process doesn’t have to be widely different from what your competitors do. If it is working for you then create a process that drives value. Then put on your marketing hat and rename the process and the steps that make it up with some pizazz and style. This will make it memorable and create value in the eyes of not only your customers and prospects, but also the market as a whole.
#4 – Hammer home return on investment (ROI) – A sale is not made until the value of the product or service exceeds its price. The more value received relative to the price, the less friction there is for the buyer to buy. Companies run on numbers. Freight runs on numbers. Numbers are the most visible output in freight, transportation and logistics.
Become a master at tailoring your offerings to capitalize on improving the performance numbers for your prospects and customers. Make it as easy to connect the dots on how you will lower internal costs and/or grow their revenue. By focusing on these visible costs and values salespeople can quantify how far the value of their offering exceeds both their own price and the price of their competitors.
#5 – Scratch beneath the surface – ROI is all about the numbers, but the final piece of any deal is all about the emotion. So, find out what your prospect values beyond the numbers.
What are your customer’s hidden costs and value-adds? Are your customers aware of these costs or value-adds? This takes some digging. It could be business-focused like their corporate mission, corporate politics, customer service, growth or any number of other business functions that are outside the transportation department. Or, it could be personal reasons such as lessening their workload, looking good in front of their bosses, or getting that promotion.
Whatever the reason, all deals become much easier once you find, identify and address the hidden costs and value-adds that your customer may or may not know exist.
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.