Most freight brokers have to source their own freight broker leads. It’s often a time-consuming process that is difficult for many freight brokers and freight brokerage businesses. One challenge comes from the term “shippers.” It’s a label freight brokers slap on all companies shipping freight. While this is true, shippers are diverse. Companies in various industries and regions often have very different needs that require a varying array of solutions.
Other challenges involve researching companies to determine what volumes and types of freight they ship. Finding this information can be time-consuming, especially for new freight brokers.
Here are six tips for sourcing freight broker leads that will minimize the time and resources required to source and research shipper leads.
Each load has a pick up and delivery location. Most of the time only one of these locations will be your customer. The company at the other location is a lead that you already know. The act of contacting this company to schedule appointments and managing the loads is your research. It should become a normal part of your conversation to get to know their business better. Once you’ve built up trust as you are working the freight, your sales process becomes a natural part of the conversation. Inquiring about their needs and what you can provide isn’t a sales call. It is an extension of the valuable service you are already offering.
Most freight brokerages are sitting on a mountain of freight broker leads in their customer relationship management (CRM) or transportation management systems (TMS). Most of these leads have at least a little bit of information from previous calls and representatives. This can cut down the time it takes to identify and research shippers before making your initial contact. While some will say these are “dead leads,” don’t give in to that temptation. It’s a term freight brokers that lost the sale often use as an excuse, rather than accepting the brutal truth that their value proposition was not good enough to win the business.
Sifting through conference agendas for specific industries is another method for sourcing freight broker leads. A quick online search with an industry name and conference will yield dozens of past conference agendas from various logistics events. Skimming through the speakers and exhibitors is a useful starting point. With most conferences going virtual in 2020, there is also the opportunity to attend most conferences virtually at low to no cost.
Quite a few shippers and consignees are located in industrial areas. This means there will be other companies in the same area that ship freight. Using online maps you can view other nearby industrial companies to source new freight broker leads. This method is especially useful for in-person meetings – you can maximize your time by setting up sales calls with multiple companies in limited geographic areas.
LinkedIn is the most popular and useful social media site for sourcing freight broker leads. Most companies and professionals have at least a minimal presence on LinkedIn for networking purposes. Freight brokers can search by industry, geography and company size relatively easy. More detailed searches can be used with a paid subscription to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator service.
For sheer volume, purchasing third-party leads are useful for most freight brokerages. While the freight broker lead-sourcing strategies described above are essential for success in a freight brokerage, each requires quite a bit of time, resources, and skill to become efficient at building lead lists. With external lead lists or databases it moves freight brokers from sourcing leads one by one to working in bulk. Essentially, it means more time on the phone selling, instead of spending hours each day scouring the internet looking for leads to call.
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You can find more information on freight brokerage and carrier sales tips on the popular FreightWaves sales show, Put That Coffee Down.