Building Customer Relationships in Freight Brokerage | Episode 238

Freight 360

April 5, 2024

Ever found yourself wondering how to spin an Easter egg hunt tale into a lesson on customer relationships? Join us on Freight 360 where we transition from recounting personal Easter anecdotes to the strategies that underpin successful freight brokerage businesses.

Amid tales of family fun and basking in the Florida sun, we also cover the bases of current sports festivities – from the crack of the bat in the new baseball season to the swoosh of the net in NCAA March Madness. And for the golf enthusiasts out there, we’ve got the Masters just around the corner. It’s not all play though; we navigate through the choppy waters of the shipping industry, contemplating the effects of port closures and the intricacies of maritime law.

Building trust with clients is much like finding the golden egg; it takes strategy and understanding. We’ll guide you through the maze of securing spot loads and transforming them into long-term, lucrative partnerships. By becoming the go-to broker through consistent follow-ups and reliability, you’ll ensure your clients never have to second-guess their choices. We’ll also pick apart the complexities of customer environments and how tailoring your services to meet their unique challenges can help you stand out in the commoditized transportation and logistics marketplace.

Finally, we tap into the art of conversation, sharing why mastering small talk can be your hidden superpower in both business and personal growth. We’ll reveal how embracing discomfort leads to significant strides in your professional journey and discuss the importance of feedback not just for our own growth, but also for the evolution of our podcast. So tune in, engage, and let’s accelerate your path from being a novice to steering the ship of a thriving brokerage business together.

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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:19

All right, welcome back for another episode of the Freight360 podcast. We're going to have almost like a part two episode today. If you listened to our episode last week, if you haven't make sure to watch that one or listen to it first. It's going to be a continuation of prospecting and sales. If you are brand new, there's a bunch of other content as well. You can go right to and while you're there, you'll find the Freight Broker Basics course. That's a full-length course on everything from how to start your brokerage and grow it successfully. Please leave us comments, please leave us reviews, on whatever platform you're using, and share us with all of your friends in the industry. It helps us grow and get in front of more people. So, with that being said, ben, how is now that we're in April? How was Easter for you?

Speaker 2: 1:07

My Easter was really enjoyable, like we had a really nice weekend. Saturday one of Ava's friends and a client of mine who has a daughter Ava's age they had an Easter egg hunt at their house, which my daughter loves. Eggs and Easter eggs, the opening, the closing of them, that's like been her favorite I don't know toy or whatever he went to as a baby. She just loves to open and close eggs. So, like she loves Easter egg hunts. So Saturday we did a big Easter egg hunt with a couple of friends over there and then Sunday we went to a church service over at the amphitheater, which is like the oh, it's an amphitheater right by our house where they have concerts and stuff. So they had a really nice service in the morning and then they had an Easter egg hunt again thereafter and the Easter bunny came to our house in the morning.

Speaker 2: 1:53

So we had another Easter egg hunt to start the day where I had eggs everywhere and I left a little bunny fur for her to like follow and to like do that at our house. So three Easter egg hunts and then we went to a brunch where she saw the Easter bunny again. So it was a long day, a lot of fun, and I was still shocked that she wasn't as tired as I was. Like I was so tired by the end of like what was the meat of the day that by like four or five o'clock, a lot of us were just like beat and exhausted. How was yours?

Speaker 1: 2:20

What'd you guys get into? So I got family down here, so we did like a big Easter party get-together meal type thing on Sunday, which was nice. There was probably 25 or 30 people at this Airbnb house that we rented, but it was cool. I was seeing the parents, a bunch of my siblings, nieces and nephews down here that's awesome Uncle, aunt, et cetera. Just a bunch of family, friends, friends too. So we did that, had, um, there's a pool here, so kids were swimming. Um, there was a ridiculous spread of food, which was nice. Everybody had, you know, brought a little bit of something and we, um, naturally, like you do on every holiday, you eat. You eat way more than your body needs and um, yeah, so I'm pretty sure I just had one big meal for the entire day and that's all I needed. But yeah, the kids did like the Easter egg hunt in the morning and um, good stuff, man, it was uh, it was good, it was nice. It's just nice to be in Florida where it's warm, did this?

Speaker 2: 3:19

I mean I miss that this. I mean I miss that like for sure yeah, for sure too. And I mean all my childhood memories when I was a kid, like I had lots of cousins, we all got together on easter and a lot. So, like what you did is very much all of my childhood memories. Right, big meal, hang out, play with your cousins like to me, like that's the best part of the holiday.

Speaker 2: 3:40

So you guys had a good time and glad you were down here instead of up in the snow or whatever the weather is up there.

Speaker 1: 3:47

I haven't even bothered taking a look at what the weather in Buffalo is and I really don't care for the next third or 11 days or however much longer I'm down here, but anyway, moving on, so sports, not really a whole lot, although I will say it's baseball season again. If you're watching on YouTube, got my Red Sox hat on For all you Yankees fans out there. You can be haters, that's totally fine, we can still be friends, but it's been a fun start. I've watched baseball just about every single day NCAA, march Madness, a lot of we're coming down to. By the time this releases we'll be getting into the final four, but it's been a lot of really exciting games.

Speaker 1: 4:31

One of the ones I watched the other day I can't remember might have been UConn. Went on like a 30-point streak and there was some stat that it was like the first time since the 1950s that a team had whatever they did did is the first time it's been done in like 70 years. Like they got, they scored 30 points without the other team scoring a single point against them. So obviously that's not how the game ended. That you know. Our team actually did score. But yeah, a lot of sports, a lot of sports going on, so I didn't follow anything in the golf realm, have you?

Speaker 2: 5:09

I didn't either. I had it on for a little bit. I mean, this is, I think, the Texas swing, and I don't even remember what event was on over the weekend. Masters is kind of right around the corner, so that's like the next big one on my agenda. Yeah, houston Open. And I cannot pronounce the guy's name who won it is it looks like Stefan Jager. Three under yeah, I mean, I have no idea what the highlights were, but I think we are only one or two more events away from. Yeah, masters is not next week and the weekend after the Valero is next weekend. Then it's the Masters.

Speaker 1: 5:49

So yeah, masters will be a good one.

Speaker 2: 5:51

Be ramping up for some awesome golf, for sure, yeah.

Speaker 1: 5:54

So let's shift into news. I know obviously last week the big news story was the container ship that hit the bridge in Baltimore and caused it to collapse just about instantly. In our newsletter earlier this week that we put out on Tuesday, we had a couple of highlight articles from some websites that just kind of hit on some of the high-level stuff and I'm sure there's going to be way more that develops out of this as time goes on and reconstruction plans are put in place. But, as we talked about on the last podcast, obviously priority number one was going to be they're going to have to try to find a way to get that port reopened in some way, shape or form and it sounds like they're very close to doing that with an alternative route out of the port versus where it was before, route out of the port versus where it was before.

Speaker 1: 6:42

So, like some of the some of the headlines if you just do a quick Google search is you know it could take weeks to get this done, but they're looking for alternative ship routes near the collapse bridge site, saying the entire port rebuild for the entire bridge could take upwards of a decade. That might just be clickbait right there, but the good news is that they're going to be able to hopefully find some sort of quick temporary solution to get a temporary shipping lane, because everything's kind of at a standstill until they can find a way to get the container ships in and out of that area, versus having to reroute all the traffic to Norfolk and everywhere else. So those are kind of the big ones there. And then the other part was that's the biggest Go ahead.

Speaker 2: 7:28

Well, I was just going to say the big thing I had heard and again I caught this in bits and pieces was, I think, like the nation's largest crane was being moved on site, because the biggest thing with reopening the port is getting the bridge out of the water. So I had heard some updates that they're coordinating that as quickly as possible and I've talked to lots of at least my contacts at the shipping lines and as of today, they're still working on the plan of how the vessels will be diverted, to which ports and to when. So I'm literally waiting on the update directly from some of the shipping lines to see what's being coordinated where they're going to be going. I've read I mean the most likely ports that will be diverted to. Right is you've got Virginia International Gateway, vig, which is Norfolk. You got Elizabeth up in New Jersey and then you've got Port of Charleston and Savannah.

Speaker 2: 8:22

Jacksonville are pretty much the most likely diverted ports. So you're going to see some cargo increases there and you're going to see cargo being moved to your point over the road untraditionally. So there's going to be lots of spot opportunities and there's going to be lots of opportunities to be able to assist and help, I think with warehouses that aren't able to ship their normal lanes and getting cargo in and out of there. I think is also going to shift a lot of things in the market and we all know when things shift it creates opportunities, good and bad, right, like when things are different. It creates more opportunities to be able to get in the door and to help, so keep that in mind.

Speaker 1: 10:12

Yeah, the other thing too I saw on the port news was the company that owns the ship that hit the bridge was trying to put a liability cap. And again, this is like very it's new, it's evolving, but they're trying to cap their liability to, I believe, what their insurance policy would cover and nothing beyond that, which the reality of that happening is probably pretty slim. But I'm just going to guess the numbers here, because I think they said that the value of the ship and the cargo before the incident was like $90 million and they're trying to lower that number down to like 43 and a half billion, because that's what their policy covers or something like that. So that'll be like the legal side of all this. It's kind of like the last thing that anyone's talking about, but I'm curious to see how it pans out.

Speaker 2: 11:07

Well, it's really interesting and, again, I wish I had these pulled up quickly, but there's been a lot of really interesting posts about maritime law related to this, because the company that owns the ship isn't necessarily the company that is controlling the ship or the company that is, in some cases, I think, either leasing or responsible for the cargo.

Speaker 2: 11:30

So, like there are, it is not a clear cut example of like one company owns a ship, they manage it and they manage the cargo on it right. Like they'll lease portions of it and you know who it's sailing under versus. Who manages it also determines where the liability falls, and I even saw I can't remember his name right off the top of my head either, but the CEO from Flexport had a really interesting thread that he put on LinkedIn about how it could go just along maritime law and how this actually plays out, because it is not a clear cut example of, oh, who owns the ship. They clearly did the damage. They're responsible. There are many parties involved in how these ships are operated, funded and where the money goes when they're operating under normal conditions, and that all plays into who's responsible for what liability. So this is going to be an interesting scenario to your point as it plays out over time.

Speaker 1: 12:20

All right.

Speaker 1: 12:20

So we'll shift gears here into the follow-up content here from last week's episode.

Speaker 1: 12:28

What I really would like to accomplish in this conversation is to talk about how to take your relationship with your customer from that of where it was last week of we're trying to just find an opportunity to bid on some spot freight.

Speaker 1: 12:43

And we kind of finished up the conversation last week with kind of setting yourself apart by um, following up almost every single day on some of this stuff, instead of being that laissez-faire broker that just kind of waits a few days and finds out after the fact that they didn't get bored of the load. So we've been able to show our reliability, that we're going to go a step further than most other folks. So I want to talk about how we can take that and then really catapult it into that next level, because the ultimate goal is always I want to be that go-to broker. I want to be the one that we talked about being a competition last week. You want to be the one that's they're not quoting it out to a bunch of different brokers, they're just saying hey, ben, here's the three loads I have for this week. Please let me know if you got them covered.

Speaker 2: 13:28

For sure, and I think we have these relationships and other areas where we do business, where we use service, types of you know industries, right, and I had somebody tell me this the other day. They were talking about and I can't remember who it was, but basically they were telling me they were like I think it was their mechanic. They're like you know, I just I've used this guy so long, I trust them. Like he doesn't even give me a quote, like I just dropped my car off and I know I'll get a reasonable price, it'll be fair and I don't have to worry about it. Right, like that's the type of relationship we're working towards. Right, the kind of like the trusted mechanic that maybe your family's used, where you don't really question the bill or need to look at it. It is an easy, stress-free, you know situation transaction for you. Right, like there's enough trust there that you're not worried about. Are they ripping me off? Is there something I don't need to be paying for? Right, like that's the objective. Right? So, going back, what you just said to recap is we're using everything available to us to shape the perception of us. Right, because at the end of the day, a truck's a truck Moving something from point A to point B. It's a commodity, so we need to find creative ways to stand out amongst our peers, to be able to work towards a better relationship, right?

Speaker 2: 14:39

So for me the analogy is like it's sports. And like how do you make that all-star team, right? Well, maybe you didn't get drafted, but maybe you show up at practice. Similar, right. Hey, you're not in the lineup yet of brokers, but you're just showing up and calling and showing up, right? What do you do?

Speaker 2: 14:56

And like when you're a kid, you go and you try to practice and you run harder than every kid that already made the team. Right. Like you hustle more, you're more attentive, you show more passion, more energy, right. Like that's the way you close the gap to being on the team and then you've got to outshine from there, right? So I think there's a lot of similarities, right. And what we're trying to do, like prospecting, isn't trying to convince somebody to use you. It's trying to get somebody to see why they should use you and why you're going to do more than your competition and why they should trust you. Right, and every one of these little instances helps build that resume, if you will, and the shippers or your prospects mind, to let them be confident as confident as you are right that you can do what they're asking you to do more effectively, quicker, better communication, whatever their need is right that you're trying to hit on.

Speaker 1: 15:49

Yeah, and I will say there that you don't have to be the best at what we do in this industry. No, it would be great to be the best, but the truth here is that you've just got to be good enough at this point that you're not because they're going to be having problems, likely if they're talking to you right so somebody else. You'd be better than that somebody else. So, whether it's someone that's not returning their calls or has gotten a little sloppy with carrier selection, or maybe their quotes they misquoted and they're going back asking for more money consistently on different lanes, you've got to be better than that, and I think one of the ways to do that is you've got to identify a lot of what their priorities are, some of the pain points that they've been established or that they've been experiencing, because those are the areas where you should be able to focus your intention on and your growth on, to build this relationship better.

Speaker 1: 17:58

Because if your customer just cares about price, well then you know where you stand. You've got to find them a price, a better alternative price solution for them, which could be finding a better carrier selection that you can get at a lower rate, or finding some way to make their operation more efficient. Maybe you're going to combine some of their partials together. They get their transportation spend down. But you have to understand where these pain points are, and oftentimes it comes from brokers that they're dealing with. Sometimes it comes from their boss, sometimes it comes from industry regulation and what's going on in the operational environment around them. But those are you know. The more and more you talk with these customers and you have time to talk about more than just quoting a certain lane, I think it's really important to find out what's going on behind the scenes within that company. The same way we talk about learning personal things about their life, trying to figure out what's going on around them in the environment that they work in every single day.

Speaker 2: 18:54

Correct, and the best place to find those right is through the conversations, is just getting to know somebody and what's going on so that they're willing to share more, so that you can be a better colleague, coworker, broker, however you want to define it. It's all kind of the same thing, right? The more I learn about working with you, nate, even if we're in the same company and we don't sell to each other, the better we work together. I understand where you could use a little more help, you understand where I can provide some of that, and we try to work towards a place where we're both helping each other. It's no different right Just because you're under different company names and maybe a country apart and you know demographically it doesn't really matter, there we go.

Speaker 1: 19:37

Big word, big word, there we go.

Speaker 2: 19:38

The phone is going to close that gap right. And, again, like where this relationship wants to get to, is a place where you're talking to each other fluidly, sometimes multiple times a day, sometimes once a day, sometimes maybe over a couple of days, but like you have that rapport, that like you're really able to communicate pretty effectively and and you know clearly as to what someone needs and where they help. Because, to your point, all these things always change. That's the best part about our industry, right? Even a shipper that says I have no issues now, that could be different next week, that could be different next month, depending on where and where their volumes come from, when they're going to be expected.

Speaker 2: 20:15

Things constantly move in our industry, and that's loads to trucks. Trucks find better paying loads. That leaves a gap to fill somewhere else. They're always moving and shifting. So even in a market like we're in now, there are plenty of opportunities being created because carriers are constantly shifting who they're working with to find better paying loads, and that creates holes where they've left that we need to fill Right. These are the opportunities you're trying to keep an eye out for.

Speaker 1: 20:41

Yeah, so you brought up a really good point. I want to tell a little story from a handful of years ago, but you said things are always changing, which means that that priority could change. This could be a change in personnel, a change in the way that a company operates internally, it could be an acquisition or a merger. So we had a company and I might have hit on this story, bits and pieces of it over other episodes, but they were local to our location so we were able to do visits in person with them and also have them come to our office. But what I found was extremely valuable is when we started to get like the leadership and the management involved in the conversation and you start to find out things that your contact didn't even know Right, which then totally changes the context of what the priorities are. So and so at first the, the original pushback we had on this customer was price right why are you guys more expensive than CH Robinson? And then you know, time goes on, we're covering some fall off spot freight here and there, but then you start to notice the trend that well, a company like CH Robertson and this is no offense to them, but this is a business model that a lot of them operate off of is they. They do massive price bidding on an annual basis and they can't always cover everything, but they know that they're so large that they can just reject. I'm just going to tend to reject whatever I don't want to take Right. And when that number gets so high and then they keep ending up using a truck that we're getting them, we started to get a little notoriety of, okay, you guys are there to help us out in a pinch, so we start to build some basic rapport there and then we're like, hey, let's go in. It's something as simple as like around the Christmas holidays and end of sandwiches or whatever for lunch, get a chance to meet everyone that works on the dock and then one of the bosses and whatnot. And then we start to see what's going on around in this facility and how it operates.

Speaker 1: 22:40

Well, fast forward to the next year. We got invited to the bid that year but we couldn't compete against the CHs of the world that we're just going to undercut everything, and we didn't want to. We didn't want to bid on 1,200 lanes. So there's a promotion. That happens, a new boss comes in. We get to meet with him. He comes to our office and then we start to.

Speaker 1: 22:59

He's like we start to realize that their location is so crowded with storage of their own stuff that's floor loaded. They don't have storage racks. And we're like what can we do now? Now, that's a priority. They're trying to clear up their facility so it can be more efficient and they can do the rest of their operations without having to worry about storage. We're like well, hey, we've got this storage warehouse attached to our brokerage office. We've got the racks already from the company that we purchased the building from. Why don't we put together a temporary and long-term storage project for you where we've got a forklift, we've got the racks, we'll get the insurance that we need to make sure that it's covering the cost of all your goods in case anything were to happen. And something is like.

Speaker 1: 23:43

I won't tell the entire story of it, but something as simple as that. You can see how, over time, the priority changed from why are you guys more expensive? To we've got stuff all over the floor here. We just need to get it out of here. What can we do? Oh, you guys happen to have a warehouse and a forklift and you've got someone that can operate it and get stuff in and out. We worked out the pricing and boom, it was a win-win.

Speaker 1: 24:02

So and I'm not with that company anymore, but to this day they're running that company's freight at a very high level. So this stuff will change and that's why we talk about it at our end of year episodes a lot, where it's a good time, when things slow down, have a conversation, talk about what's coming up. How did this year go compared to what you expected the year was going to look like? But it will change. Personnel will turn over or will get promoted, fired. Fill in the blank on whatever causes the change, but it will happen and the priorities likely will shift as well. So that is something that the average broker will not do is to go a step further and be that true extension of the company's supply chain.

Speaker 2: 24:42

And that's where that comes from, right, like that's pushing to be better, and what it also isn't is trying to be everything to everyone Because, again, like you're more likely to fail trying to do everything than trying to be better at what you're good at and where that niche is right, and in your scenario, like that's where it started You're not going to compete with the largest brokerage in the country on price and volume, like that's their value proposition. They are not customizable. They are not. They don't operate in a way that helps them be nuanced to the needs of an individual person.

Speaker 2: 25:16

This is the Costco, you know, like model of freight brokerage it's cheap, it's fast, but it's not going to be customized and the service is probably not great, right? We talk about those three criteria and where they fall right, that's them. You guys are high service, maybe a little bit higher on price, but really good, right? So they don't get the cost value they get with them, but they get the other two in spades. And what happens and what a lot of people I think don't think about and we talk about this a lot is freight is not all created equal, even within one shipper, right? They have different customers that have different values to them. So some loads they're perfectly okay using the Costco model Cheap whenever it gets there. It gets there and some of its damage we're okay with that. Now they have other customers that like it needs to be there faster and it needs to be there with a higher level of service, and these commodities have to arrive in the shape they left. In there. They will pay more for a different service than they will on some of the other freight, but you don't get to see all of it until you start.

Speaker 2: 26:18

That's what our conversation was last time, like working spot loads to learn more about where you can get into the door to learn more, not to get more freight, because your first step is information before it's business. And, to your point, that's what you guys did really well, like you spent more time learning about what is happening now before you just started throwing solutions hey, do you want this, do you want this? Do you want that? Because, like no, and I don't need a lot of it, and this conversation isn't even relevant to me because you're just naming things that I don't need. But if you first learn about what's happening now, the solution seems tailored to them, and in your case it was. That is tremendously valuable. That builds trust for, you know, a significant amount of time Not a bidding cycle, not a year, not a season, but usually year after year that will provide value back to both companies.

Speaker 1: 27:06

Yeah. So and again, we've had on this a bunch of times before too is like you don't have to be the jack of all trades, like you see the email centers where they're like we do FTL, we do LTL, we do partial, we do cross border, we do hazmat, we do yada, yada, yada. You know it's like dude. Pick one Like what are you actually good at? And that's what you should focus on, because, to your point, if a customer is no longer concerned about price, but more so, my stuff needs to get delivered on time. Stop selling on price, because that's not the priority right now. That stuff will change.

Speaker 1: 27:37

And I think it's important, the same way that we do kind of an internal check on how did my year go, or the same way you do an employee review, have periodic conversations with your customers, especially early on as you're getting into that development of the business or that business development process. There you got to find out what's going right, what needs to be tweaked, where do we have to shift our focuses. And it could be as simple as after that first load, like hey, how did everything go? Like any issues on my end with communication? Or, you know, was the truck up to standard Basic feedback, right, and then the feedback can get extremely detailed on larger scale.

Speaker 1: 28:12

You know operations and conversations, but if you're not asking for feedback, you're doing yourself a disservice because you have no idea. Right that customer might be like you know, if you don't ever ask right, the customer might be like, okay, cool, they got delivered. And then you never hear from them again. You're like what did I do wrong? Well, you never asked right. You might, you might've found out that something terribly went wrong and you had no idea that. You'd never thought to just say, hey, how did everything go Right?

Speaker 2: 28:36

And to that point. I want to piggyback from that point and I'm going to tie this into the last example. Right, because people wanted like examples, right, like what do I say, what do I do? Right, so we talked about how you actively talk and follow up about the load you're working on or quoting with. You know your shipper, right and to your point. If you did move the load, you should certainly be following up after to say, hey, looks like it delivered clean. Everything was good from our end, from everyone we saw talked to the receiver hey, everything good on your end.

Speaker 2: 29:07

Anything else we can improve on, right, assumption is the mother of all F-ups, right, like assuming that things are fine, assuming that this person doesn't need more, assuming that there's not something you can learn from this, assuming that you know more about their business based on one scenario than you really do. Right, it's the assumption that holds you back. And when you realize like you know very little about what is actually happening over there and you should be more curious. Right, because the other thing I think is a missed opportunity for lots of newer brokers is I do this same thing with the loads I don't win. So, for instance, let's say I went through this whole process I did in the last call and they go sorry, man, like I got someone else to cover, you know, gave me a decent rate, I had to go with them. Great, I don't say great, but like in my head I'm like, okay, right, so and I go hey, yeah, you know, let me know how it goes. If you need anything else, if anything goes wrong, I'm here, I am going to follow up on that load with him and I'm going to follow back up with that shipper. Maybe it's a couple of days from now, within close proximity to when I think it was supposed to deliver.

Speaker 2: 30:09

When I'm talking to that prospect, about what else is going on or what we might be talking about, whatever, I'm always going to go hey, you know that other load I was working on for you. I know you went with someone else. How did that go? Because you'll be shocked when you give them a specific example sometimes how much they'll tell you. They might be like yeah, you know, the guy was really great on rate, but like nobody answered the emails, we had no idea where the load was and we didn't find out. It delivered to.

Speaker 2: 30:33

Our customer told us Great, I don't need to ask much more. I know which of these three categories I can improve on. Is it price? Is it service Right? Or is it the quality Right? And like? Clearly service was failing and you could probably say maybe the quality in some way was right. So now I know that he picked the guy cheaper than me and he wasn't happy with what he got for what he paid. So I know that it's more likely that he'll maybe pick me, or at least that gap has closed a little bit.

Speaker 2: 31:05

Why? Because I did the thing that his broker didn't do. I followed up on someone else's load, like who the hell does that? I did it because, like I care and I want to show that I care about his business as much as he does, right, I get the brownie points. I didn't move the load and I get more information. That, to me, is in some cases better than even when I get the load and move it, because I learned more, which gives me an advantage in everything I do moving forward. If I move one load that helped me that day and didn't really help me much in understanding what else I could provide in value. Right? Those are the questions and opportunities that I think are overlooked.

Speaker 1: 31:42

Yeah, and additionally, just the extra phone call or the follow-up goes back to last week's episode on. You're consistent in your I'm trying, what's the word I'm trying to find here? Persistent. Right, you're consistent and you're persistent, so they are yeah.

Speaker 1: 32:04

So you could. They clearly can tell something about your level of communication and all of that there could be, like we talked about, priorities can change and things like that, but there's, you know, the larger the company, chances are there's a lot of other things, either vertically or horizontally, that could be business opportunities for you, whether it be a supplier of theirs, a receiver of theirs, a different division at a company. You start to have more of like well, instead of just having strictly work conversation, you start to like shoot the shit a little bit and find out nonchalantly what else is going on there, right, and sometimes it's, you know, half business have. You know, just BSing, and sometimes it's just straight up BSing and it uncovers a lot, of, a lot of opportunity that way. So those are great. You know, like we've talked about it with freight forwarders, these branches all tend to operate individually, but if Jimmy is friends with Johnny over at the Atlanta branch and he can get you in touch, like these are just super easy ways to extend.

Speaker 1: 33:12

Low hanging fruit. Yeah, it is low hanging fruit, it's exactly what it is. So and I can tell you, like we said it, go ahead, ben, I'll come back to that next time.

Speaker 2: 33:20

Well, there were two things, at the very least. The one thing that it reminded me of right is like I used to do a lot of these calls with team members when I was at a big box brokerage, meaning like these were accounts that had existed a lot of times for years and the same broker was operating it for years. Right, and I would come in and be like, hey, do you want to jump on this call and see if we can find more opportunities for maybe other modes of transportation, for example? Right, like I did a lot of drayage that bring me into a call and be like, hey, see if when we do our quarterly review, we can ask some questions to maybe uncover some things we don't know. Right To your point. And almost I would say, like it's hard for me to remember one where I couldn't find something that that broker didn't know. Right, because, again, for a lot of reasons, it's not that they weren't experienced, it's not that they didn't have the trust, it's not that they weren't good at what they were doing, they were very good at what they were doing. It's that when you end up doing something over and over, like you kind of get tunnel vision and you kind of just start working under like assumptions that, like this person trusts me a lot, they're telling me everything and you again you end up getting more conditioned into just doing what you've been doing. And when you bring an outside person in, they are fresh to the situation so they are going to ask questions, sometimes to just understand or get up to speed. That opens doors right. And an example that I would always run into is like we would be working with customers right for years and I would hear things and calls like wait a minute, you guys also work on the West Coast. We thought you only really worked on the East Coast. And then the broker would look at me like how did they not know we don't work all over the country, we have offices everywhere. Like I thought they knew that. Like we have the largest name in logistics to some degree right, like the notoriety is there. How do they not know this? Like this seems like such a low thing to assume that you wouldn't expect to ask it and the reality was what we would get back is we have whole other divisions that even move even more volume than you've had access to, and you know what they would say sometimes we just didn't know and we'd love to connect you. Hell, you know, I'll bring Jerry and he's writing the office over. I'm going to bring him into the call because he's been having the same problems I had. And we thought you just focused on the Northeast or whatever it was, or reefer, or cross border Right, and it's like where you definitely want to have a skill set and a niche.

Speaker 2: 35:34

You constantly want to ask questions to expand it or at least uncover what else is there?

Speaker 2: 35:40

Right, like what does the whole board look like if you're playing a board game? Or the map right, or the field? It's like you get so used to playing goalie you forget, like well, there are other opportunities. Or it's like playing chess and you're only looking at the corner of the board and you realize, oh my God, like there's not just eight squares on this board, there's 64. And wait a minute, there's all these other moves that I could make and I just didn't ask. Right, like there's so many opportunities hidden in plain sight. Just, we don't see because we're not curious and we're not asking questions to further our understanding of, really to your point, like what's actually happening over there?

Speaker 2: 36:14

You'd be shocked at how many shippers are doing the same thing to us. Right. They assume we only can do one thing, and all of a sudden they're like wait a minute, you can handle warehousing, you can help us with intermodal Wait. We've been dying with this aspect of our business and we had no idea. And I think that's why brokers, once this happens on, once they start saying everything they do because they think it's a catch-all. But like listing the buffet options does not help somebody make a better decision. You have to kind of move the conversation in that direction to get them to be able to talk about these things too, because they're not top of mind sometimes for them either. It's our job to bring the information to the surface and then to listen to it and then to act on it right, in that order, not act and then learn later, right?

Speaker 1: 37:00

Yeah, no, I agree, I agree, um and so. So one of the things I was going to say before and I'm going to relate what you just said into it is that we know we put a lot of content out and we know that not everybody's going to apply this stuff. So if you want to be the difference maker or someone that's going to stand out from the crowd, you can start to apply a lot of these principles and add some of your own. You know secret sauce and and do the recipe as well. This stuff doesn't happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and the so set your expectations reasonably understanding that because it like even now. Right, you and I have been in this industry for over a decade each, and there's still stuff that we don't know. I got to ask questions to my boss A lot, almost like on a weekly basis. A lot.

Speaker 1: 37:48

Something came up that I just never heard of, and he's been in the business for over 40 years and I haven't. So set your expectations accordingly. If you don't know the answer to something, it's okay to tell your customer hey, I don't know. I got to find out and get back to you. I don't want to give you wrong information, but eventually, once you've got a number of years under your belt, you can go into a conversation and you don't have to use a script anymore. You can use the stories. I'm going to tie it back in what you just said. You can use the story of how you helped another customer and you could then roll that into a conversation with a competitor of theirs or somebody that has some sort of similar business, instead of rattling off. We do FTL, ltl, partials, expedite, white glove, international, all of that stuff. So set your expectations the easiest. I guess I'll put it this way A lot of people are like intimidated by sales in general.

Speaker 1: 38:42

They're like, well, I'm going to get rejected, and I always just try to remind people like you know what? They're a human being. They put their pants on the same way that you do every single morning. They, you know they have most of the same life problems that you do every single day and you know throughout their, throughout their life. Just another human being, right and just finding a way to improve your ability to communicate effectively and have a smooth conversation.

Speaker 1: 39:10

that solves like 90% of any stress you might have in sales. Because so what the other 10%? Maybe you don't know the answer to a question? Just communicate that. Hey, that's a great question. I have no idea. That's the first time I've ever been asked that. I'll find out for you.

Speaker 1: 39:25

But I think to work like if there's a general takeaway from this conversation on how to build the relationship with your customer is just be a good communicator with them. And sometimes that communication looks different between two people versus two other people, like, for example, some people they just text you all the time, right, like they will never answer the phone, they'll never call you, they won't email you, they go right to text. Other people will send an email and say, hey, are you free, can we hop on a call? Others might just call you right. So that that's going to look different. But just figuring out a way to communicate the best way you possibly can and tailor it to that person, it's going to solve the vast majority of any of the issues in freight broker because it is a very relationship built industry.

Speaker 2: 40:11

So that's my big takeaway on this, but go ahead.

Speaker 2: 40:16

It's so true, right, and the two things I hear there right are one, don't assume that everyone likes to talk the way you do. First ask questions and try to understand how this person likes to communicate and then gear yours towards their preference. First right, that you know. Take away from what you just said. Right is that, like, trust is the number one thing that increases the speed of business and every transaction you do. Right, no matter what it is. If you trust that person, you will do business quicker, because the thing that is almost always holding us back is the risk that this person doesn't do what we think they're going to do. Right, like, that's fundamentally what you're overcoming. Right, and the best way to increase trust is to build rapport in a relationship which is learning about what's important to that person, not projecting what you think should be important to them. Right, listening more than you're talking. Right, so the way I approach it is like and I thought a lot about this over the years is like what, if what, are the building blocks of doing this over and over again? Right, and for me it's I ask enough questions to get somebody talking and then hopefully, they talk two or three times as long as my question was, and then when they get to a law or they feel like they're running out of interest on whatever that is, my job is to just keep that momentum forward in the conversation to keep them talking about whatever it is they're interested in, because that is what is helping them trust me, more faster, right, and I think if you just do those things, even in your day to day life, you can practice them Right, whether it's at the grocery store, whether it's at the pharmacy, like this is the thing as I'm prospecting more I am trying to get better at and I've been doing this for over 20 years, like again, we were talking about Easter, like this is what I try to do. I am now trying to just interact with people that I don't know at all in awkward situations, because it helps build the skillset of making small talk with random people, and the more I do that, the easier it is for me to do it at my job, because you know your personal life and your professional, like you're still the same human being. So the more you can focus on these things and the more you can pay attention to the conversations with people you have trust with, right.

Speaker 2: 42:30

Just start being observant of what you talk about, how much the other person talks about and what topics you're covering right, the ones where people are the most engaged and talk the most and seem to be the most excited and have the most fun with you. It's usually the thing that's interested to them. Sometimes it overlaps with you and that's great too, like with most of your closer friends. But, like you'll see this more the more you look at it, right, and if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at start to change and you start to see the things that we're talking about, because you all do this, everybody's done this. My daughter's learning how to do this right now, at four years old, in preschool, right, she's literally learning how to interact and how to engage with kids and how to do this.

Speaker 2: 43:10

You've been doing it your whole life. It's no different in what you're doing. The only thing that is different is the environment and, to your point, the likelihood of rejection, which has held us all back from meeting people our entire lives middle school, high school, elementary school. At some point, you develop some habit that protected you from vulnerability by avoiding this or doing something. That's why this is uncomfortable, and if you move towards the places you're uncomfortable. That's where growth comes from Professional, personal, more income. All the things that people listen to the show to figure out come from this one thing Move in the areas that make you uncomfortable. That helps you grow, that helps you get better at all of these things for sure.

Speaker 1: 43:47

Exactly and the last thing I'll say, and then we'll put this conversation to bed before another good episode next week. But you mentioned, you know, we've talked about communicating effectively, and the last thing I want to point out here is that your personal growth, those priorities, are going to be different from person to person, because maybe you're already really good at talking and communicating to people, but there's going to be some area that you need to improve on. I know a lot of people. They're going to have an easy, flowing conversation. They are terrible at time management, they're terrible at remembering things, they're terrible at organization, but they'll talk, talk, talk, talk, talk to anybody about anything all day long. So figure out where that is for you and that's what you should be focusing on for your own personal development too, because that's going to be all part of this process of going from novice day one freight broker to running a successful company years down the road.

Speaker 2: 44:45

For sure.

Speaker 1: 44:47

Well, good conversation, good discussion. Any final thoughts? Well, we'll definitely be revisiting a lot of this content in the future and expanding on it, but any final thoughts here, ben?

Speaker 2: 44:58

Yeah, only just on the sense that, like you know, we listen to the YouTube comments, we read all of them, we respond to all of them. So if this content is helpful and this is geared to what you guys need right now, let us know, even if it's a thumbs up. Any type of feedback, any engagement on YouTube goes a long way for us determining the topics we're gonna cover for you. So when you guys do reach out, not only do we appreciate it, but we listen to it and we take this into account every week when we're coming up with show topics and what our schedule looks like. So if this is helpful, just a thumbs up and more of this and we can create more. If there's something else you want us to cover, let us know and we'll gear some content towards that, because the whole point of this is to share what we've learned with other people so that they can benefit for sure, absolutely there are.

Speaker 1: 45:44

There are some uh haters out there on on the youtubes but uh, hey, that's fine that that comes with it. We we're glad you can leave us hate comments. It's still engagement in the eyes of youtube.

Speaker 2: 45:55

So all of the above Good episode. Whether you believe you can or believe you can't, you're right.

Speaker 1: 46:08

And until next time go Bills.

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Freight 360
Freight 360

Freight 360 was born from a vision to share knowledge about transportation with everyone.

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