Freight Sales: Five methods for freight brokers to prospect

Kevin HillFreight Market Blog

freight sales

Prospecting and full sales funnels are the lifeblood of all businesses. Freight brokerages are certainly no exception to this law of business in their freight sales approach. Prospecting is one of the key attributes of the best freight brokers for good reason. 

Having a full sales funnel is one of the keys to control your destiny in order to hit your freight sales goals month in and month out. The more prospects you have moving through your sales process the less stress there is to have to close. When you only need to close one out of many, then you can remain firm with your pricing and avoid the hard to cover low margin shippers that are not worth your time and effort. 

Using all of these prospecting techniques below will fill your freight funnel and keep you in control of your gross margin sales numbers for your entire sales career. 

5 Freight Sales Methods to Boost Freight Broker Prospecting

#1 Cold calling – The granddaddy of them all. “Smiling and dialing” is the quickest and most effective method for any freight broker to fill his/her pipeline. Cold calling should always be your prospecting foundation. Freight sales is a contact sport and the more dials you make, the more success you will have in your career. 

So, if you are struggling and need to hit your numbers soon, pick up the phone and dial. The three most important tips for cold calling are that the first five seconds of the call are the most important, hearing no is when the sale begins, and the more calls you make the better you will become. 

#2 Cold emailing – If you are cold emailing shippers your message needs to be short and to the point. Shippers are inundated with freight sales people calling and emailing day after day looking to win their freight. 

Your emails must stand out from the crowd… in a good way. The five most important things to remember with cold emails are to use a subject line that will get your email opened, try to only talk about your prospect, keep it under 140 words, only include one call to action, and remember that almost everyone reads a P.S. first. 

#3 LinkedIn – The two most successful methods for prospecting on LinkedIn are by direct messaging and interacting on posts, in groups, and with freight sales shows like, Put That Coffee Down

Direct messaging on LinkedIn is a bit different than cold emailing. It is better to introduce yourself and make a professional introduction before trying to set a meeting or pitch your services. One of the best ways to do this is to like and engage on the same posts as your prospects. If you are set on direct messaging prospects from the start though, the same rules apply for direct messages as for cold emails. 

The shipping industry needs
a new metric – the Market Rate –
to end the spot vs contract battle

#4 Referrals – It’s still the gold standard for converting leads into freight sales. Building up a referral pipeline takes years of experience to accomplish. These are leads that are referred to you by loyal customers and other industry contacts that you have built a great deal of trust with over the years. 

While it does take years to build a robust referral network, the best time to start is now. As the Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” 

How can you get started? It simply begins and ends with asking for referrals. This includes your customers, friends and family. One of the most important sources of referrals that most salespeople never develop are with prospects who have turned you down. Remember, even though a company cannot use your services right now does not mean they do not think you would make a great fit for a company in its network. 

#5 Conferences – Whether it’s in person or virtual, conferences are still a great place to network with prospects. For freight brokers starting out in the industry, the rise of free virtual conferences, like FreightWaves LIVE events, creates opportunities that have never existed in the freight industry. New freight brokers now have access to a wealth of industry knowledge and networking opportunities that could only be obtained previously if your company invested thousands of dollars to send you to a conference. 

Listening to industry experts share their knowledge is worth the price or time of admission on its own. Networking with your peers in person or virtually is where the real value of conferences reside. Virtual networking at FreightWaves conferences is all about contributing to real-time conversations in Slack channels along with posting LinkedIn profiles and connecting with others to keep the conversations going long after the conference ends. 

How SONAR aids freight sales 

FreightWaves 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 freight 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 and improve freight sales. 

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