Freight Brokers can be very valuable to a business, especially if they find the right one. Being in this business for 10 years now, it is amazing to see how most brokers operate. We have built our business on a simple concept, having the best customer service possible. Why is this so important and how can this help with long term success?
I would say the first step is being able to get your foot in their door. When you are trying to obtain a customer’s business, you are more than likely having to outdo their current options whether that be carriers directly or other freight brokers. A lot of business only care about one thing, price. If that is their only care and the only thing that determines winning and losing business, then they might not be a great fit for your business. Those types of businesses sometimes don’t understand the value of building a relationship with someone that actually cares. There is a lot of value that a broker can bring to the table, you just need to make sure you explain that and hope they get it.
Once you have earned that opportunity to quote them, you need to prove why you are good at what you do. You know the figure of speech “the early bird gets the worm”? Well when it comes to quoting you want to try and make sure you are the first person to respond. You want to make that impression that you are always on top of your emails etc. I cannot tell you how many times we win orders because we were the first to respond and not necessarily the cheapest option. Our goal is to respond within 5 minutes of the request.
By being extremely punctual has many advantages. We want to be that company where we are always given that last chance to beat the lowest rate if we are not it. This will allow us to figure out if there is enough profit on the shipment to get the order. We are that company for the majority of our customers as they know that they are in the best hands possible. You are also proving to the customer that you have all your ducks in a row. When they ask for help they want it now, not 30 minutes from now, and not hours later. We hear it too many times where people don’t provide this kind of service and we love to hear that. That make us stand out from the crowd and makes a huge statement for us.
The next part of proving your worth comes when the rate quote actually is given. When you ask a lot of questions it sometimes makes the customer question their other options on why they are not asking these types of questions. The easiest example to give of that would be when they provide the minimal amount of info needed for a quote. We always want to make sure we get actual dimensions, description of the freight, and most important the shipment value. Ready more about shipment value here (insert link for article) . By asking all of these questions it shows that we are covering all of our basis to give the most accurate quote possible. This avoids many future issues. For example, when they accept your quote but you didn’t ask questions up front, and now it is a residential delivery, or it is oversized and now has extreme length charges, or it is valued at $50,000 and the quote you gave them only covers $5,000. Now you can see why it makes sense to ask all of this upfront.
Another very important factor in building long term success, and that is that honesty is the absolute best policy. Let’s clear one thing up now, nobody is perfect. Yes, we make mistakes as does everyone else. It is just a matter of fessing up to it and then dealing with it from there. I obviously like it when our competitors don’t have the same mindset as it only makes us look better than we already do. Whether the mistake is small or big, customers always understand that things happen. Don’t try and hide it and point fingers. This will never benefit you and only put you at risk for the worst thing possible, and that is losing a customer’s business forever if you get caught.
One major characteristic that makes us look great is that our customers know we are the experts. You want your customers to think of you first when they have a question they need answered or If they have an issue that needs tended to. Just be that company where you are always first on their list. This goes a long way and help you build those lasting relationships.
After you have proven that you are good at what you do, then from there it is just a matter of being competitive with pricing and continue to provide the amazing service. In a perfect world you want to be able to win every shipment, but the reality is that is never going to happen. Always make sure your customer knows you are wanting their business and make sure you are reaching out from time to time when things are slow for them.
To basically summarize this in a nutshell, be punctual, be available, be honest, and you will crush it!