Written by Paul-Bernard Jaroslawski at FreightCaviar.
Now that you have set up your freight brokerage; the question is, how do you get your first customer? As a freight broker, covering loads is your bread and butter. You need to be creative in your lead generation and marketing. Also, you have to put in the necessary hours to look for customers. In this guide, I will share with you useful tips and tricks on how to be sales savvy. This will have your brokerage covering a lot of freight as quick as possible.
If you need help starting a freight brokerage, check out our comprehensive guide to starting a freight brokerage.
In This Post:
- The Art of Making Cold Calls
- Try Warm Calling
- Make Use of Industry Directories
- Do Not Take “No” for an Answer
- Study Your Competition
- Customer of Customers Can Become Your Customers
- Try to Revive Your “Orphan Accounts”
- Make Effective Use of Load Boards
- Build a Social Media Following and Advertise
- Make Use of Loyalty Programs
1. The Art of Making Cold Calls
To use cold calls effectively, you are going to need to develop a thick skin. Many doors will be shut in your face, and you will deal with a lot of rejection. However, calling is a staple when it comes to lead generation. Emails are easy to ignore so making business calls to potential customers is better. Use the call to collect information and create contact with customers. Here are some things to keep in mind when making a cold call:
- Have an idea of what to say.
- Describe your business, background, and what you can offer.
- It is always better to do some research about the client before making a call.
- Identify the decision-maker who you need speak with.
2. Try Warm Calling
This sales technique is meant to set you apart from the competition. You will demonstrate high-level knowledge of logistics and the business of your lead. Warm calling is when you make calls to potential customers with whom you have had prior contact. They have more of a personalized element than cold-calling since the last connection acts as an ice-breaker. Research is important for these types of calls.
- Look up the lead’s website.
- Study their products, services, and location.
- Find out recent news and articles about their company on Google.
- Check out their LinkedIn profile to get more information.
3. Make Use of Industry Directories
You can narrow down potential customers according to your needs using industry directories. A good example of a useful industry directory is MacRae’s Blue Book. They provide you with information like business type, product catalog, and location. You can also utilize CarrierLists and ZoomInfo.
Do not underestimate the importance of building relationships in the logistics industry. Ask for referrals from satisfied customers. When clients that you have worked with put in a good word for you, this turns a potential cold call into a warm call. Perhaps you worked with a shipper who knows other shippers who could use your services as a freight broker.
5. Do Not Take “No” for an Answer
Many of your potential customers might already be working with other brokers. This should not stop you from asking to be placed on a reserve list. There is always a chance that the lead’s broker might not be able to fulfill their needs. If you’re on the backup list then potential customers can contact when they need assistance.
Give them all your contact details. It is also helpful to ask for an opportunity to make an offer that might be better than the rates the potential customer is currently paying.
6. Study Your Competition
Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with as much information about your competition as possible. By knowing your competitors, you can determine what areas of the industry you need to focus on. Don’t forget to ask questions! When you have a potential client on the phone, it’s a perfect opportunity to ask questions, and gather information that can give you a leg up on your competition.
- Find out what freight brokers your leads have worked with in the past.
- Research the shipping options potential customers are using.
- Find out about failed relationships with other freight. brokers. There might be opportunity for you to fill that gap.
- Focus on meeting needs where other brokers are falling short.
Pay attention to competitors’ activities online. Observe how they are using media to market and adopt proven tactics for your own business.
- Find out their top-performing keywords.
- Are they performing well in web searches (SEO, Search Engine Optimization)?
- What are their top-ranking pages?
7. Customers of Customers Can Become Your Customers
Find out about the products in the loads that you are handling for your customers. This is a wealth of information because if your shipper is delivering raw materials, that creates an opportunity for you to gain a new client. If the raw materials are turned into another product, you might cover that delivery as well. Make use of search engines like Google and search for information on your shippers’ customers. Make contact with them and create a relationship.
8. Try to Revive Your “Orphan Accounts”
These are clients that you have worked with before. Reach out periodically and maintain open lines of communication. Maybe they will use you again. If certain accounts ended on a bad note, try and demonstrate to the client that you have made amends. Aim to regain their trust, and maybe they will give you back their business.
9. Make Effective Use of Load Boards
Making use of the load board marketplace will be good for your lead generation and marketing. This is a platform where you build credibility in the industry and attract more clients. Some of the best load boards are:
- DAT Solutions
- Direct Freight
10. Build a Social Media Following and Advertise
The social media market is fast becoming the tool of choice for lead generation in logistics. Whether it is running ads, writing a blog, or staying active on LinkedIn, social media is full of lead generation and marketing opportunities. It is good for:
- Attracting new clients.
- Gathering feedback from your customers and audience.
- Improving the relationship with your customers.
- Increasing your brokerage’s brand awareness.
Make use of loyalty programs. Research has shown that loyalty programs are effective for getting and retaining customers. As a freight broker, you want to keep your customers satisfied. You never know when they will refer you to their contacts who need the type of service you offer. These programs attract new customers and strengthen relationships with the ones you already have.
To Wrap Up:
Follow these simple tips and attract new customers for your freight brokerage business. Stay hungry and always be on the lookout for opportunities. Network and build relationships with people in the industry because word of mouth is one of the most effective ways potential customers hear about your brokerage.
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