Covering the First Load with a new Shipper | Episode 246

Freight 360

May 31, 2024

Ever wondered how to find reliable carriers when traditional methods fall short? In this episode of the Freight 360 podcast, we’re not just sharing tips; we’re offering actionable strategies that will revolutionize your freight brokerage approach. From prospecting and carrier sourcing to setting realistic client expectations, we’re covering all the bases to ensure you’re equipped to handle the toughest loads and build lasting client relationships.

Support Our Sponsors:
QuikSkope – Get a Free Trial: Click Here
Levity: Click Here
Bluebook Services: Click Here
DAT Freight & Analytics – Get 10% off your first year!
DAT Power – Brokers & Carriers: Click Here
DAT Express – Brokers: Click Here
Truckers Edge – Carriers: Click Here

Recommended Products: Click Here
Freight Broker Basics Course: Click Here
Join Our Facebook Group: Click Here
Check out all of our content online: Click Here

Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:19

Welcome back for another episode of the Freight360 podcast. Please make sure to check out all of our other content at and, while you're there, you can check out the Freight Broker Basics course if you'd like a full length educational option for how to get your brokerage started and off the ground. Please share us with all of your other friends in the industry. Continue to send us your questions, leave us reviews. Five star reviews are obviously the best. If you got a one-star review, uh, save that for somebody else. Um, but hit the subscribe button. All that good stuff. It helps us with all the all the algorithms and stuff out there to get in front of more people. So, uh, ben, how's the? How's your week?

Speaker 2: 1:01

going man. Do well a nice swim. This morning weather's super hot, but that's to be expected. Hey, congratulations to you on the uh third child and your firstborn daughter yeah, it's dad life now, or uh, girl dad life now.

Speaker 1: 1:16

So, uh, it's gonna be awesome. It's been, uh it's been, a busy couple weeks. I'll be back, be back full force working by the end of this week, so it's been kind of nice to get a little bit of a break. But yeah, man, you remember those days, the first couple of weeks getting adjusted.

Speaker 2: 1:35

First two and a half months more like adjusting, for the very least what I remembered Sleeping, just getting used to it, and with two other little ones probably waking the littlest one up. There's probably a lot of having to shuffle and figure out your zone, defense or offense, depending on what's going on it's fine.

Speaker 1: 1:55

There's there's definitely a lot of like um, acclimating, like everything from like, uh, where how your house is set up, how the kids interact, even like our dog, like he's trying to figure out like what is this new thing in our house. But then he very quickly, like he just would sit in front of her, like if she's sitting there like in a bouncer or something she's kind of. He just kind of sits there like a little watchdog protecting her now.

Speaker 2: 2:17

So we were talking about that the other day. Like both my dogs did that, like they kind of slept underneath her crib and just hung around wherever she was, and it was just like the cutest thing ever.

Speaker 1: 2:29

Nice. Well, good stuff, man. I don't really have much on sports. Oh, there was. I didn't see this too much, maybe you did. There was a young golfer who passed away. I didn't see that. Did you see that at all? I think it was like the whatever golf tournament was last weekend. He ended up not playing because of like an illness on Thursday and I think on Saturday or sometime over the weekend he passed away. It's like 30 years old. I can't remember his name, but that was kind of shocking to hear that. I didn't see it but that's terrible.

Speaker 1: 3:04

Yeah, but outside of that not a whole lot. I know I mentioned there you go. Stephen added in Grayson Murray is the golfer's name. So too, young man, it sucks when you see that kind of stuff.

Speaker 1: 3:20

The other thing in sports only just only because we mentioned uh, f1 a couple times in the last month or so, there was all this like people are getting like pissed off about the monaco grand prix last weekend. It's like the og race, right and uh, it's a street race in monaco. Everyone has their their big yachts in the ocean. They're overlooking it, but they're like it was one of the most boring races ever. It's so slow you can't overtake anybody. The top, the people in the top first 10 positions literally nobody passed anybody. So it started off the the first 10 pole positions. That's exactly how they finished.

Speaker 1: 3:55

Um, so people are complaining about change of the race, change something to make it more entertaining or whatnot. But yeah, I kind of feel like some of those like, like, like OG race, like that, you got to, you got to have that kind of stuff and you know in their season. So it's just, you know, it's one of the originals, so and it was also the Indy, they were comparing it to the Indy 500 500 which was which was the same weekend, and the indie 500 had like 400 overtakes, and then the grand prix in monaco.

Speaker 2: 4:32

It's also like a very different race again, like one of my one of the guys I'm doing a lot of work with right now. One of my newer business partner lives in indie and they used to their family, I think had a boxer like he used to go to the 500 all the time. I've only been there once and I saw the F1 race. I've never seen the Indy cars drive, but what I do know going around and seeing a museum and hanging out there for a couple of days they're completely different cars. First of all, they are not built the same. The races are nowhere near the same and even the way they drive are very different. Like Indy cars again.

Speaker 2: 5:09

For anyone out there that's a huge fan. If I get this wrong, feel free to. You know land base me in the comments, but like Indy cars were more like the track is like the circle and it was more like kind of like a stock car race where they are literally going around in a big circle and passing each other, right yeah. Now the F1 race. When I was there, like they haven't, they called it the infield, but basically you run around the whole track the same way you would an indy car, but then they have to go from like 200 miles an hour down to like 25 miles an hour and like a football field and there's like turns. It looks like a residential, like um driver's ed course, and they're just like flying and then down to nothing and then they got to fly back out when they so like just completely different types of races. But yeah, it is, I would love to go see the indy 500. Uh, it's definitely on my list of things I'd like to go see.

Speaker 1: 5:56

Yeah, um, well, that's all I had for sports um news. If you guys aren't subscribed, check out the Freight 360 newsletter. It comes out every Tuesday and Thursday. We put in a lot of the latest news as well as market updates and we highlight some commodities. But I wanted to at least highlight one of the things. This came from Freightwaves, who's obviously one of the largest media outlets in our industry. Who's obviously like one of the largest media outlets in our industry, but it was kind of a positive light to look towards the second half of 2024.

Speaker 1: 6:33

I know we've all been feeling this for a little over two years now, this freight recession, but Craig Fuller is the CEO, and their market intelligence director, zach Strickland. They noted some positive signs so we just kind of highlighted them in the newsletter earlier this week, but I'll just read them off here. So there was return to normalcy. Fuller and Strickland anticipated a more normal year for the freight industry, with market conditions improving as spring seasonality kicks in. We always tend to see this every year right when you've got you hit like the Memorial Day into the summer 4th of July, there's a lot more consumer activity typically.

Speaker 2: 7:09

So they noted that that next was Well the other thing about that and I want to go a little bit on that point right, because something again, this is just anecdotal things I've seen covering loads and talking to other brokers and agents.

Speaker 2: 7:20

But it's not just that the spring changed the volume of freight in the market.

Speaker 2: 7:25

The important piece is it was changing the prices significantly and it was more volatile, meaning like I saw lanes that like maybe you could cover for 42, 43 in the morning that were 49 or 55 or six grand on a Friday afternoon, like that's normally kind of the way produce season would swing historically.

Speaker 2: 7:46

Or even spring was like when volumes would pick up, like you see large swings up and down, and to me that means the contract market is likely settling back in where it needs to be, which is somewhere below the spot. It's not across the national average but definitely on some lanes I can see the spot market is a little bit above or kind of where it should be. And that's really what happens is like you know, if it's a Friday afternoon and a broker's got a bunch of loads and they're paying $2,000 above the going rate or a thousand because the load's got to go, other carriers will drop their contracted load to take, the better paying load. That's what creates the volatility and the opportunities for us as brokers both good and bad, and the more that happens, the more it's functioning like a traditional market.

Speaker 1: 8:28

Yeah, yep, no, that's absolutely right. They had also noted, obviously like your, spring and summer construction summer goods in general increasing demand and they had excess capacity. Summer goods in general increasing demand and they had excess capacity. So, despite oversupply, which is too many trucks on the road compared to the volumes of freight, specialized trucking sectors see new capacity. So changes in authority trends indicate a shift towards bulk and refrigerated transport. So that was interesting to see some of those more niche transportation methods having a bit of an increase.

Speaker 1: 9:06

Federal spending so infrastructure programs, obviously government spending, whether it's big, like in this case, infrastructure programs, whenever we're in a big major conflict, like a war, you tend to see a lot of increased spending. That's the whole geopolitical complex. Am I saying that correct? Yeah, sounds about right. And then other geopolitical factors. So, looking at potential trade shifts based off of tariffs Mexico we've heard Mexico a lot this year, with a lot of businesses shifting towards Mexico from other locations, and obviously the Mexico to US market is a big impact for the freight brokerage community and the trucking market here, with us being obviously neighbors, that's huge.

Speaker 2: 9:57

I mean even outside of what's going on between China and the US. Going back pre-pandemic, lots of the larger industrial manufacturers in China were nearshoring sites in Mexico. Tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars were being spent in Mexico to build facilities to manufacture the things that were made in China closer to the US, mostly so that if there was another global pandemic or something, the supply chains were more resilient and at least closer to the destination. And it reduces a lot of the transportation costs. You don't got to put it in a container and send it across the Pacific. It's a lot cheaper to move it 500 miles inland from the US, from Mexico, than it is continent to continent across one of the largest oceans. So there's a lot of reasons that's also speeding up and I think that's not a bad thing. I think it's also a good thing for both Mexico and the US. As relations go. The more business we do between the borders, I think, the less you'll see crime, because there's money to be spent for crime prevention by these large organizations.

Speaker 1: 11:01

So hopefully some of these things make progress For sure, and what I think will be interesting is because you mentioned trade with China, right, and that trade tends to route through, like the ports of LA and Long Beach right Now, if you have a lot more coming through Mexico. Obviously, Mexico to US. We've had border crossings that are fairly active for a long time, whether it's Texas, Arizona, you know whatever, but Texas is seeming to emerge as one of the, you know, the spotlights for where you can expect a bit of increase in traffic in the future. So, yeah, keep your eyes there. There's opportunity in every market, right? Oh, no man, Anything else in the news?

Speaker 2: 11:47

world here. Not much, at least not much that I'm aware of Trying to see if we had anything else.

Speaker 1: 11:54

Oh, the hurricane. This is worth noting because it happens every year, but this is expected to be one of the more active hurricane seasons this year. So whenever there's hurricanes, it's going to disrupt just about everything economically before, during and after that hurricane. We have a video on YouTube about this. It breaks down some of the hurricanes from 2022 or 2021, I believe I think 22, actually, because that was a very active year in Florida. Right, you guys got hit a few times. But we talk about how it basically sucks all the capacity out before hurricanes come in. It's at a standstill during the storm when it hits, obviously, and then it sucks everything back in afterward. Obviously, that's just your simple supply and demand, the supply of all. The trucks want to get the heck out of Dodge, and then there's a huge need for them to get regular business activities back to par and also bring in any relief supplies, disaster recovery, things of that nature.

Speaker 2: 12:55

Two notes from Steven. These are both really relevant. One was we had talked, I guess, a few episodes ago, that Freightways pointed out the volumes in Dallas They've been climbing pretty significantly, but the market conditions basically there were enough trucks that you didn't see rates spike, so it didn't seem to the market like these changes were really happening because there were enough trucks to absorb the increase in supply of freight. And the other one you pointed out too and I didn't read this but yeah, it said Texas also got slammed with a tornado and there was a mass casualty event at a truck stop due to a roof collapsing, which is horrible. But I definitely didn't see that either.

Speaker 1: 13:31

Yeah, I've been hearing a lot about tornadoes the last couple of weeks. My sister's in Oklahoma right now with the air force and they got like thrown into some like bunker shelter when a tornado came through there. So wild, all right. Well, cool man, good stuff, what's? We got a good episode today. Good topic, let's get into it. This was your, this was your idea to talk about this one, so I'll kind of let you take the reins, but I got a lot to add in here. So we talk a lot about lead generation. We talk a lot about prospecting. It's time to have a discussion about what happens next. What should you do? And also we could talk about mistakes that we've made or we've seen people make that you learn from, of what not to do when you're trying to get those first loads covered for a new customer right, someone who's a prospect that you're just converting into a customer. So kick it off and we'll have a good discussion.

Speaker 2: 14:28

And here's where it started, right, Like and it's again one of my agents I work with and again I was taking them through the process and very much like the show and what we talk about. Like you got to spend a lot of time prospecting at first. In fact, that's like your only job, because without a load to cover, the rest doesn't matter. Like it is the chicken before the egg or the egg before the chicken right, it always precedes the other. Right. Put the cart before the horse, it doesn't work. You put the horse in front of the cart, it works. Right. Like you need a customer and you need trust before you ever get to this step. That's why we spend so much time talking about it. And it's also the place where, like, most people wash out or quit or just don't succeed and go do something else. Right, For whatever the reason is, like it's the hardest thing to do. So we spend the most time talking about it because that's where we see people struggle the most. However, that is literally half the job. Like, as a broker, there are two parts to our job getting prospects, but also getting carriers. And here's the irony, right as I was thinking this and I wrote a video on this is why I was kind of also top of mind in teaching it. But it's that, like, what is a freight broker we talk about? Like solving problems or building trust. Right, Like building trust is just table stakes. If you can't do that, you don't get to the next step. So you need to do that, just like getting a prospect to trust you.

Speaker 2: 15:45

Right, but from a shipper's point of view, or our customer, why do they hire us? They hire us because they believe and they should believe if you're good at it that you can find them a truck faster, more effectively and a better deal. In some cases Doesn't mean cheaper, but a better deal than if they had to do it themselves. And an example might be hey, loads picking up in two or three hours. Shipper has called every carrier they work with and their two other brokers they work with don't have anybody they can call to pick this truck up in the next two or three hours. Right now, when they go to you as their third broker that's been prospecting them and you say I want an opportunity, I want a shot. They're not giving you their easiest load, they're giving you the hardest load that nobody can cover, to see if you can do something that people they work with cannot, and that is very simply source, find, get a truck, negotiate it and get it there when everybody else can't.

Speaker 1: 16:38

I want to know the most difficult scenario.

Speaker 1: 16:40

Yeah, I want to hop in really quick because you brought up a good point that I don't want to. I don't want to jump past right, I don't want to. I don't want to skip over this one you mentioned. They've already called their list of carriers that they trust and they do business with right um, which is them proactively trying to find their own capacity. Now, when they come to you, they want you to be able to solve that problem for them. So when you do what we've referred to as post and pray which you're just going to post a lot on the load boards and pray, someone calls you. That's not proactive at all.

Speaker 2: 17:08

And it's already been done by the other brokers. That load's been posted for two hours before they've even called you or sent an email right by their other brokers that have posted and called. Guess what? They've also called every posted truck, meaning, like their other brokers, again saying they're putting in at least the minimal effort.

Speaker 1: 17:26

They should have done those two things.

Speaker 1: 17:27

So and I saw an example of this this week with a new agent of ours who just brought one of his first customers on and said he, you know, because you think, well, where do I go then to find trucks? Well, there's all different kinds of ways and we could talk through some of this with sourcing. But he just literally went to everybody else in a distribution list for the company and said hey, here's the lane I'm looking to cover. Does anybody have a go to carrier? Right, and I get it. Not everyone comes from a company like that, but a lot of you do. A lot of the listeners here work at a company where there might be 100 brokers, thousands of brokers or at least a dozen or maybe five or 10 brokers Right, and especially if you're new and you don't have relationships built up yet or much knowledge about where to find some of these, go to carriers. Somebody else in your company might, right, and if you don't ask, you're never going to get any kind of feedback or any kind of answer. So but back to my example. The guy is like hey, this one's going from West Virginia to New York. It's a, it's a drive in and right away someone came back and said hey, here's the three carriers that I go to whenever I've got a load outbound from that general area going back to New York. It's a backhaul lane for this carrier and you know, that's obviously a great example. It doesn't always happen that way.

Speaker 1: 18:45

But there's other sources out there for where you can find this information and this data. Right, I mean, obviously, if you're in a TMS that has historical data in it, that's a great tool as well. You don't have to email or call anybody, you can just search in your system. Hey, which carriers have we used in the past 12 months that have ran from, in that case, west Virginia to New York? Right, it gives you a starting point. A carrier might have done one lane. A carrier might have done it 30 times, right, but either way, you've got to find that data and then put some analysis to it and figure it out. But that gives you a starting point for carriers to reach out to.

Speaker 1: 19:18

And hey, you might be saying well, nate Ben, I'm by myself, I don't have any of this other data. Well, there's publicly available. Well, I shouldn't say publicly available. There's for purchase available data out there where you can help source carriers based off of different data of where they have been viewed or observed and through inspection and whatnot, to have actually operated. Highway is a great example. Obviously, we both use it. We're big fans of the tool. We've had highway on the show before, but you can literally go through and say, hey, this carrier, based off of either a survey they took or where they're located or where they've been inspected, we have reason to believe, with a high propensity, that they likely operate in this state. That gives you somewhere to start, even if you don't have your own history with them.

Speaker 1: 20:09

So another one that I've used with agents in the past is DAT's directory. If I'm looking to find a solution for a customer a month down the road and I know that it's going from, I'll just say, atlanta to Chicago, right, just a very generic lane. Well, why don't I just go to the DAT directory or any other directory for that matter and find all the carriers that match my search criteria, right? Maybe it's equipment type, fleet size, location, anything else that I might want to add into my search, and now I've compiled a list and I can get to work and do my proactive outcalling, the same way that we outcall the shippers and customers for that matter.

Speaker 1: 20:48

We want to build relationships with motor carriers because, remember, we all need each other right Carriers. A lot of times they're relying just on load boards too, when, if they can form a good relationship with a broker and we can build a good relationship with them, it's a win-win right. It takes those that level of communication, that level of forward thinking and proactiveness that's going to set you apart from someone that just posts some praise. Because what happens, ben, if you go to a customer and you finally get an opportunity with a load and you do nothing besides post and print, your first impression to them is well, he promised me the world and delivered nothing.

Speaker 2: 21:35

Exactly. They have the expectation that, once they have the load details, a carrier will just call them and they will get a rate that also fits with the shipper's budget. In the situation. That probably doesn't make sense. Meaning, yeah, that carrier might've taken it if you gave them two weeks notice and it worked for them at a rate that is the average rate for that lane. However, if you need that truck to pick it up in an hour and a half or two hours, you're going to pay more and your shipper is going to look at you like, well, hey, that's your job, you find them and you make it work, and if you can't, again, that's just they're throwing a strike at you in a baseball analogy and you didn't even basically swing, because it doesn't mean anything If you can't get them what they need. The perception is that, to your point, you over-promised and under-delivered, right. So we're going to talk through that process how to set expectations, how to have that conversation and what you need to do and, what's most important to, how to execute this.

Speaker 1: 22:30

Yeah, I'm a big fan of as much transparency as possible possible. I think there's obviously a fine line, but explain exactly to your customer what it is that you're going to be up against, which, in turn, they're up against with you right, and what you're going to do to try to bring them the best possible solutions. Because, remember, our job is to bring options right. Well, I shouldn't say it's our job, but that's what you should be doing is bringing options to your customer, and a great way to present something is because we talk about they're not going to give you the easiest one to cover. They're gonna give you a tough one and they're going to want it up below market rate. So you can come back to them and we'll kind of go backwards on this, but you can come back to them after you've done all your work and say, hey, here's a couple of options, two or three options that I've got for you and they're probably going to be all over the place on price. One might be above market rate, One might be around market rate and one might be a hypothetical. Hey, if I can have a few more days to work on this, here's what I'm going to try. I can try to get you below that market rate, and then you can give them those options and it's up to them to make that decision and take ownership in what they've decided to do, which then tells you what's really important to them.

Speaker 1: 23:42

But I'm all about that transparency of looking at the market, looking at the macro level and then also what's going on currently this week specifically in that area, and let them know hey, we'll pick, let's say it's, we'll use Florida. Right, let's say it's Florida and it's in the height of produce season. Right, and it's a reefer. Well, hey, obviously you guys know that this is a tough market right now. There's a lot of competition and a lot of demand to get reefer trucks into this area because of X, Y and Z is shipping out of there for the next six to eight weeks.

Speaker 1: 24:17

So my goal would be to try and find you a backhaul carrier that's trying to get out of Florida back to somewhere else. They already know that rates are paying X, Y and Z. If I can find some other way to entice them why this load is a good fit for them, I can try to get you below that market rate. But the reality is we're dealing with all of these factors. Right now, competing against everybody else, Right there alone I have set an expectation of this is going to be hard. Right, I've set the bar low, so if I can surpass it and actually pull something off here, you kind of look like the hero of the story, Right, but the expectation up front, whereas you get a lot of brokers are like, oh yeah, I'll get you a truck Boom, Too easy. And then they fail and it looks really bad and their reputation is just tainted.

Speaker 2: 26:09

For sure. Two quotes that come to mind One I've been thinking a lot about and so my wife and I talk about, but it's. They talk about stoicism, but they just say, like happiness is in life is really just expectations minus reality. If you expect a lot of things and a lot of shit to happen that never does, like no matter what the reality is is, if it's below that, you're going to be pretty disappointed and unhappy. Right, if you can level those two things. But it's the same thing, even in an individual situation in a conversation, like you said, like if the expectation that my shipper has is that I can do this, because they believed or interpreted something I said, if I'm not clear about this, if I don't get them what they expect, it may be perceived as a failure to your point. So you really want to be careful how you are asking these questions, right? But even before I want to jump to the question, like I want to like set the stage a little bit for, like, what is expected and what is demanded, if you actually want to do this, because this is what I think is the shit that is really overlooked, right. Again, I think most people start with the expectation, and you articulated it very well Like I'm going to throw these load details up and somebody will call me. It's a shipper's market, trucks need loads. They'll call me or I'll throw it on Facebook and I'll find a truck right, full stop. That's not going to work. Like you will not get this customer, you will not move this load and you will not build any more of a relationship and no business will follow. This is the most important part. You spend hours, hundreds or thousands of hours making phone calls to get this one shot right. It's like if you're playing basketball, like you practice every day for years and then you get the ball with two seconds left and then you just don't even shoot it before the clock goes off. Like that's the analogy. Like you literally just don't even get a chance at even being able to do this if you set the expectation wrong, right.

Speaker 2: 27:59

So the first thing is like you got to expect to hustle your ass off like run, making phone calls, moving quickly, moving through this process and getting better at it every day, because as you improve, this is how they measure freight brokers. All of your customers will measure you on this benchmark. Can you get them trucks in difficult situations when no one else can. If you can do that, you are the best in class at what you do. You can get customers a lot quicker, you'll have better stories and you'll be able to close more later. Right, not only do more business with the first one, right, but the expectation that you can sit and just wait for them to come with you Right, is just flat out wrong. Like full stop. It is just not going to happen. Right and I think that is the most important takeaway for anybody listening to this You've got to work two, three, maybe five times as hard to find a truck and less amount of time than you spent to actually get that customer or that prospect to get this shot.

Speaker 1: 28:51

I want to.

Speaker 1: 28:52

I want to remind people too that when you talk about hustling and and making phone calls and trying to quickly reach out to these carriers, you're competing against them along with everybody else, Right, and the whole like early bird gets the worm adage Like there is, you're late already.

Speaker 1: 29:10

There's reality to that, Right, and yes, just because some other broker got a truck before you, it doesn't mean there's no other trucks, but it's going to make, it's going to add that much more work to your plate to find the next available truck or the truck that might be 50 miles away that you've got to then factor in price to get you know, to pay then to get to that location, to Deadhead. So you're absolutely right. You know, if you, if you work, let's say, twice as fast as the average person, that alone is going to help you out, Right? I mean, it's just that simple. And the more sources that you have access to to find these trucks whether it's through, obviously, there's truck postings, right, and you can post your own modes but directories and internal databases that you might have, or asking someone else in your organization or just you know, calling carriers based off where they're located. You've got to have access to these resources, Otherwise you're just you're not going to be able to find anybody. It just comes down to that.

Speaker 2: 30:09

Yeah, and let's go right to the first conversation. So we get a load. Someone sends a load over it's a prospect I've been talking to for two, three months and they send me a produce load that's got to pick up this afternoon, it's got to go from Nogales to Southern California, la, somewhere, and they tell me hey, I need to be at like 4,300 for this. The first thing I do before I call them is I'm going to look at that lane and I'm going to look at a few things what is the average rate, what's the low, what's the high, to get an idea of what that range is. And then I'm going to compare it to what they want. And let's say the average rate pay truck for that lane, right, is, we'll call it the same, it's 4,300. Like, they expect to pay me to go find them a truck and less than a few hours, at the exact same rate, it would take them to do it through a bid and over a week and week process, right Months in advance. They expect me to do this now, in an hour or two hour window, more effectively than they did. That's the stage they're setting right.

Speaker 2: 31:12

Yep, the next thing I look at okay, well, if this load detail came to me from someone I'm prospecting.

Speaker 2: 31:18

It's pretty likely that one of their other brokers already has this posted, those same load details, and I can look at and see if it's posted.

Speaker 2: 31:26

If it is posted I'm going to see what the other brokers are offering it for. If there are other brokers that have this load posted for $3,600 or $3,500 or $3,800, it gives me a little inclination that maybe the other brokers aren't getting a truck because they're trying to make too much money on the load and they just don't care that much if they get this load for the company because the company they might know they can pick it up tomorrow. But my prospect isn't giving me those expectations of load it tomorrow or the next day. They're telling me they need it this afternoon because that's what their boss is asking. The other brokers just kind of know how these play out and if they don't get the right rate they know it gets pushed. So they're not working as hard. They're maybe trying to make a little more money. That's my first cue that I maybe have a little advantage over the other brokers that are trying to find this truck right now.

Speaker 1: 32:12

So another point here, too, is when a customer is telling you what they need, to be paying you for this. I want to take a second here, because you remember the used car market in 2020 and 2021? It was crazy, right. Because of supply chain disruptions from the pandemic shutdowns, used new cars weren't able to be produced as much Right With chips and everything else. So the used car market became pretty much the hot pool for everyone to get a car.

Speaker 1: 32:45

I'm going to have to buy a used one because that's what's available right now. So imagine if I went to a car dealership when used cars were super expensive. Right, let's say that they're five grand more, I'll just make up numbers. Right, let's say, um, a used car normally would sell for 20 grand and now it's going for 26. Right, imagine if I walked into a car dealership and I'm like, yeah, I'm gonna need this, uh, this type of used car. I'm gonna need it for $18,000.

Speaker 2: 33:08

And I want to buy it today. Yeah, I want to buy it this afternoon.

Speaker 1: 33:10

I need to walk out with the keys today, right, that is essentially the kind of conversation that your customer has outlined for you. So I'm curious what your take is on it, because I'm all about again going back to that setting expectations of. It doesn't have to be a hostile conversation, but put some reality into this discussion early on, right, early, and often right. Hey, I know you guys would love to be at this rate. The market hasn't been doing that. Right now. I'm not going to say it's impossible. It's going to take a lot of work, but I can't guarantee you that we're going to be able to get you a truck today at that rate. I'll do the best I can, but I can come back to you with some, some realistic options, right, and so here's, and exactly here's how I have a little bit of a different take, but it's real.

Speaker 2: 33:54

It starts with that foundation and here's how I do it, right? So I'm going to call them after I get some of the information and I get as much as I can quickly. Then I'm going to call them like hey, just got your little details, one to run through, excuse me. They said look, we need to pick this up by the end of the day. We don't want it to sit over the holiday weekend. It's got to go, okay. Now to your point.

Speaker 2: 34:22

I know what they want to pay is unrealistic, right? It's also a Friday afternoon before a three-day weekend. Like the likelihood that anybody's going to pay that average rate going into there is slim to none, right? So what I'm going to ask, right, is like hey, out of curiosity, now these are what you would call like a challenge or a consequence question. And I'm going to ask like hey, cindy, real quick, I know your target's about 43. Do you got any room?

Speaker 2: 36:05

And before I even stop for them to answer, I throw another question. I'm like hey, the reason I ask if you had any more room is if, when I'm going out to my network and I start talking to cares. If I've got somebody that can make your pickup time meaning they're empty now, they're close enough to be there by the end of today. Like, do you have any flexibility Because I can just tell them no until I get the perfect option, which, to be honest, I might not have or find the perfect option with this amount of time.

Speaker 2: 36:34

But if I got somebody that's close, do you want me to bring that option to you so that you can see if you want to let him go or give him the green light? Because now I'm taking the decision-making authority right of that price and putting it right back on the decision maker who has the consequences. And they will usually say, hey, look, I do need to be at 43. My boss is going to have my butt if I don't keep this at target. But you know what, if you got anything close, let me know. Boom, that's the window I needed.

Speaker 1: 37:05

I'd say they just open up a window for you, right? There and there's psychology behind the way that these questions are asked, Right and we're not. This is not a psychology lesson, but the reality is, if you can get someone to like metaphorically like crack that window open a little bit, or open that door just a little bit for you, they're giving you access to information that you otherwise wouldn't have had had you not asked that question that way. So it's important to note that.

Speaker 2: 37:31

For sure, because now that I have that, now I know, at the very least, that it's worth me going to hustle, right, and it probably would have been worth it anyway. Because I want to prove to them and I'll talk about in a minute the other things you can say even if you don't get it. But let's go with the fact that, like, okay, like other brokers are trying to pay a little bit less than I would be willing to pay. Maybe I'll even go to break even on this, because it's like the first load. They're really in a tough situation and if I can get it at 42 or 43, hell, even at 44, I might lose a hundred bucks, but I might be willing to because I have a lot of belief that this customer could be valuable to me. They'd move a lot of freight every day, they change a lot in regards to their orders and they've got a high need for a broker once they trust them. So when you take all those things together, I'm like, okay, like it's probably worth me running and hustling. That's my first benchmark, right? So now to your point. I'm still going to do the things that everyone does, like, I'm still going to post the load up, but I'm not going to post it with a rate because now it's more likely for me to field lots of calls. I want the guy that wants six grand, seven grand for that truck, but also the guys that maybe only want four or five. I want the most people willing to call me back, and on a Friday afternoon most of the trucks and the dispatchers know that's the money time, so they'll call every load that is posted that has no rate to see if I'm paying some lottery ticket amount, like there's six $7,000 load for the weekend and some people are. Now this isn't that situation, but that's how I'm going to frame it in my post to get the most amount of calls. So now I do that first so that I get that to the market as quickly as possible so calls can start to come in, if they do come in.

Speaker 2: 39:01

Second thing, I'm going to do what everyone else does. I'm going to go to the posted trucks and I'm going to go to that and I'm going to go to truck stop and I'm going to call every single one and I'm going to start with the ones most likely to take it. Those are the ones that are domiciled, meaning their base, home base, where they usually want to finish the week is close to where that load delivers to right, or maybe vice versa, depending on the situation, and then I'm going to just call through them and try to ask enough questions to your point to the carriers to go like, hey, and this is the more important one, I only got three hours to pick it up. When and where is this guy empty?

Speaker 2: 39:33

Before I even talk about price or anything other than that, I need to know if this truck actually fits my criteria. When and where is this guy going to be empty? Can he make it here by five? Because if those things aren't true, I'm wasting my time having a conversation about something that isn't relevant and there are other trucks I could be talking to. So when we talk about getting better or more effective, this is how you can, step by step, be faster at this than someone else. It's how you're having the conversations, because the one thing I learned when I worked at a large brokerage that taught me how to find trucks quickly was this If you got to call 120 trucks in an hour or two hours, right, you can't have a three minute conversation with everyone and get through them.

Speaker 2: 40:14

You've got to have 10 second conversations with all of them to find the ones that meet that. And then you go a little bit longer because now I can talk to more faster and get to the ones that are really a fit instead of wasting the time on the ones that wouldn't work Right. So once I've run through those and let's just say they, I don't have one. The other brokers maybe did the same thing, but there's literally nobody that can make the pickup window or that rate or the closest rate. I got to like 5,500,. We'll say Well, to the earlier point.

Speaker 2: 40:41

I'm going to call my customer and be like, hey, I got an option. I'll be honest with you. It's not great price-wise, but the equipment, the reliability of the carrier and where and when they're empty, all meets everything else. I know you guys probably won't approve it, but I wanted you to make that call. Would you want to approve a 5,500 option? They are probably not going to believe me and think that I found something for 43, put a thousand dollar margin on it and they're going to tell me, no, we'll just say this is a pretty common response, right? Maybe they do take it, but at the very least I have now shown them not told them, shown them that I'm working my butt off to get them the thing, and I already set the expectation that it's probably not going to be perfect, but I'll bring them options. So even if I don't get the load, I have shown them things that their other brokers probably didn't do. Right there, right.

Speaker 1: 41:30

Yeah, I want to bring up and Stephen brought this up in our notes here about taking a loss on a load. I'm going to give you my opinion on this and I'm curious what your take is on it. I think it's situationally dependent, but one of the mistakes that I have seen is a broker with a new customer setting very, very bad expectations early on that they're willing to take a loss for no other reason other than to try and be like I got your load covered for you and I got it today and I got it at the price you wanted. But the reality is you just lost $200. And you didn't do those things.

Speaker 1: 42:05

Now you've set the expectation that you either have some magic up your sleeve that no one else has, which is not true, because you're just you're taking a loss or that you're willing to give them cheap rates and they're just going to use you for when they want cheap rates, and that's it. What I will say is, if you can set an expectation of, like, hey, I will do this at cost on this one, you know, because I'm trying to show you my persistence and I'm, you know, word it however you want, because I'm trying to show you my persistence and word it however you want. But basically you're trying to show to them and prove to them that you actually can add value, hey, this one time I will do it at cost. I really would value the relationship long-term with you and this is worth it in my opinion. But don't make it known that you've magically found a truck for $500 below market rate when you're actually taking a loss on a load.

Speaker 1: 42:57

I would be transparent about hey, we're not making any money on this, this is costing me time, blah, blah, blah. Or you could say, if you are getting a good rate and it's with a certain carrier, you could say hey, this carrier actually quote unquote owes us one based off of a previous situation. So for this one time, I'm actually able to get it for you cheaper than we normally would be able to, but that's not always going to be this way. Right? Some context as to why the price is where it is.

Speaker 2: 43:26

So what I? I like coined a term for this and I like took it from like in movies and acting. Right, it's like typecast. Like typecast is when an actor plays a certain type of role so much that you only see them as them doing that role Comedy, drama, whatever it is and they talk about like yeah, I want to do other movies, but like I only get cast for these types of roles. Right, that happens.

Speaker 2: 43:47

Perception to us as to being cheap If this shipper and the person you're talking to believes you are the cheap option anytime you don't have the cheap option, like, they don't want to use you. And then they expect it. And, going back to the point I made earlier, their expectation is that you're cheap, which means that anytime you're not, you disappoint them, which means every time you even do what you said you were going to do, like they're not even happy because they expected you to be cheaper than everybody else. Like, I want to avoid that expectation. And your second response is how I do it anyway, and that's adding context to the individual situation. The first thing is also true Meaning if I found that truck for $4,400 and everything they told me was true, meaning that needed to pick up today. Otherwise something really bad was going to happen, like the commodity would be, you know, wilted or damaged over the weekend, or not stored, or their customers upset because it doesn't get there when they needed it, right?

Speaker 2: 44:42

If all those things were true and I got a truck for 44, 45, that shipper 99% of the time will pay an extra $300 to make sure all those bad things don't happen. So there's usually not even a need to be so tight that you don't even cover your costs of like two or 300 bucks. And again, on a 42 or $4,300 load, like 300 bucks is still less than 10%. Like it's not a good margin for the work you're going to perform, especially in this scenario. But at least you've covered your expenses and you didn't lose money, right?

Speaker 2: 45:13

Is the first thing that is true. The second is, anytime I get somebody something even below their expectations, I make sure I give them a reason, and it doesn't have to be complex, it's just simple. Like you said, like hey, look, I know you want to be at 43, but great news. Like I got a guy at 41. And, to be honest, I can give it to you for 42, a little less than you wanted, and then you've got to always give them a reason why this is not the standard, this is not the expectation, this is a one-off. It's the exception, not the rule, that I'm able to do this so that they don't conflate or confuse one cheap load and one cheap truck in one situation, with you doing this over and over again.

Speaker 1: 45:57

That's the important takeaway right, what, hey, on your typecast note, what you do want to be typecasted is that you are the one that presents them with an option. Right, you do follow through with what you said you were going to do, that you are responsive, you are quick and diligent in your actions with them. Those are the kind of things that they will remember, because they're going to remember how they felt about the experience of doing business with you. It wasn't that they got the outcome necessarily verbatim of what they had started with. It was hey, you know, ben consistently came back to me with other options. He talked through with me, he wasn't forceful, he made the whole process smooth and, you know, he took a lot of pressure off of what could have been a disaster and he listened and he went and did what he said he was going to do and then he followed up to make sure, right.

Speaker 2: 46:47

So to go beyond that, right, like, our job is to access the market more effectively and faster. The trucking market, every truck that is out there right In a certain scenario, right, that's what we're doing. It is no different than if you called your stockbroker and if Apple was trading for $1,000 today and was trading for $1,000 yesterday and you told your stockbroker I want three shares, but I'm only going to pay $900. That person could not do that. They cannot buy something that is the market price more expensive just because you want it. Right, they access the market. They don't change it. We don't change the trucking market. We don't change the rates and we don't change the amount of trucks there or what they're willing to run a load for. What we do is try to get to them quicker and negotiate more effectively to find what's in it for the driver and the trucking company that matches with the shipper. And if you do that well, you thread the needle to find the one in 200 trucks that actually needs that load at that time, with that criteria, right now.

Speaker 1: 47:51

So I want to give one other analogy on this. Because you use stockbroker, I got a better one. Think about, for anyone who's ever bought a house and your experience with a real estate agent right, that's probably a more direct correlation with how freight brokerage works. Right, you've got a buyer, a seller and a broker.

Speaker 1: 48:07

Put an offer on a house yesterday, the shipper, the carrier and the broker in the middle. So what a good real estate agent will do is be able to find out what's motivating the buyer of the house, what's motivating the seller of the house. Is there a time crunch Because you think about? I remember when I the house that my wife and I bought a couple years ago, we looked for two years before we found a house that fit what we wanted. So for us, what was important was the location of the house, the type and size of the house and the price range of the house. What wasn't a motivating factor for us was the timeline and when we bought the house and we were flexible on some other options as well, like what kind of a lot is it? What size is the lot? You know things of that nature.

Speaker 1: 48:59

But there are people that, hey, I'm relocating for a job, so now time is more of a constraint for me, so I'm likely not going to have two years to go and look for, you know, 30 different house options and pick the best one for me.

Speaker 1: 49:15

I and look for 30 different house options and pick the best one for me. I've got literally three months. I've got to find something and get under contract on it. I might have to spread my location out a little bit more, I might have to change up the options I'm looking for, but time is the one that's important to me. So if you can put yourself in your customer's shoes and again this whole conversation is about the first time you're moving a load, or the first couple of loads you're moving You're still building that relationship with your customer, because so far your relation with them has been all about prospecting them, massaging the relationship, and now you're actually figuring out what is it like to work with them on an operational level. What are the real things that go into working with this person day in and day out?

Speaker 1: 49:53

There's only three when it comes to price sensitivity or time sensitivity, or do I have to kind of do the song and dance with them to figure out, by asking questions and opening those, those windows to find out? Okay, here's what's really going on behind the scenes here. So that's and legitimately, like we say many different ways, you've got to be a true extension of their supply chain, and part of doing that is understanding the person that's at the helm there, right, the person that's actually there hiring the broker, hiring that trucking company to move this load for them. So just posting and praying is not going to work, just, you know, promising them something without any context. Luckily, you're going to fall on your face.

Speaker 2: 50:36

And you only have three. You have price, you have service right and you have quality.

Speaker 1: 50:41

Quality yep.

Speaker 2: 50:42

And you've got your time.

Speaker 1: 50:44

That's it.

Speaker 2: 50:44

So it's like how much time do you have, what are you willing to pay and what's the quality of the carrier? We're going to find right Carrier with very high out of service percentage is going to be cheaper, but the likelihood they break down between pickup and delivery is pretty high. Okay, service, right. Same thing, like quality of what you're getting. Then you've got the timeframe. Do I have three hours to work on this, or three weeks? Right. And the third is price. You get two.

Speaker 2: 51:10

You don't ever get three, right, that's true in everything in life. You've got to ask enough questions to understand what's important to your shipper and, by the way, here's a hint they always ask for all three. So you got to ask follow-up questions to see, and to get them to see that they can only choose one of the two of the three, not three of the three. And you ask those questions by asking, like what happens if it's not there in time? What happens if it breaks down between point A and point B? What happens if it's not delivered on time? What happens if you don't have location tracking on this or the truck goes MIA and it delivers two days later? Right, like you need to make what?

Speaker 1: 51:41

happens if you pay $200 more than your boss wanted you to Right.

Speaker 2: 51:45

What is the worst case? And you've got to ask that question because they're not going to want to, they're not willing to look at those things. They just want you to do what they need. You call them, that's what they expect. Everything all the time, right yeah?

Speaker 1: 51:59

I don't know if we alluded to this or not before, but the transparency piece, right, if you can add in context if you've got a driver who has to deadhead three hours to pick up, give that as context, right. Hey, we're essentially getting you in this market rate, but because this driver has to relocate three hours, we're going to have to compensate them for empty drive time. So in this one off scenario, here's why it'd be an extra 200 bucks or not, some of the like operational questions to verify about a specific shipper or a specific shipment that if you miss these and this is another like I wanted to give some mistakes that I that you know either I've been through or witnessed within folks that I've worked with is they fail to ask questions that result in like, oh crap down the road, like things like how do they deal with appointment setting? How do they deal with detention pay? How do they deal with a layover? Is there driver assist required? How do they? Do you know all these little procedural things that go into a certain load?

Speaker 1: 53:21

That's why I always recommend, especially when you're new, have some sort of a dispatching checklist or something that you run through so you can't miss one of these questions or one of these crucial steps.

Speaker 1: 53:28

We've got a dispatch checklist right on our website you can all download for free and feel free and customize it to your company or to your specific brokerage or customer.

Speaker 1: 53:38

But I mean there's a lot of stuff in there Equipment type, the weight, any special requirements on tarps or straps or pipe stakes, or does the driver need to have any kind of PPE on site? Are there any potential fines or rate reductions for X, y and Z? Do they offer any additional accessorial pay items to the driver in the event of X, y and Z? Talking through all those questions will help make sure that there's no breakdown of communication which could then lead to a bad reputation. But when you're thorough and you ask questions and you can ask them fairly quickly and run through them but that just goes to reinforce that you're detail-oriented, that you're treating their freight the same way if it was your shipment yourself, because you want to be extremely delicate with it and know that you're not just some fly-by-night broker who's just trying to make a quick buck I want to at least make a note of that.

Speaker 2: 54:30

And it's super important, right, because if you don't have the right information, it's pretty likely that you're not going to maybe get them what they need and you end up sending in the wrong equipment, which is just as bad as not getting them a truck at all. And I'm going to pick up too, right, and we're not going to cover all the tools you can use to do this, like look at one of our other episodes that we've done on, like sourcing carriers, where we talk about the tools which ones provide which, but again, the thing that's going to happen after this. So let's say I go and let's say I've brought this option back to the shipper and I said, look, I know it's not great, probably won't work for you, but I at least want to let you know what I've got so far. This is the only option that can get this load picked up and delivered under what you've asked. It's not what you wanted to pay. It's the only guy I got, and he's a good carrier. Only guy I got and he's a good carrier.

Speaker 2: 55:16

You tell me. I make them make that decision. I take them to the fork in the road and I make them decide am I going to cut this guy or am I willing to go? And you mentioned this earlier. That is going to tell me a whole lot about whether or not they were telling the truth right. It's like calling someone's bluff and poker. If they go, yep, we'll take it. Well, now I know how truthful they were about needing to pay 4,300 under these scenarios Doesn't mean they're always going to pay a thousand bucks more, but I know when it really matters they've got the authority and the ability to prove it. If they've got to prove it by someone else, I know that's the decision maker. There's a lot I learned. Even if they say no, and how they say no or how they say yes, that tells me a lot about that person and how they are playing the game.

Speaker 2: 55:53

If you say right, let's say they say no, right, okay, now I go back and I'm going through all my tools and I'm calling, I'm fielding calls, I'm trying to find this carrier that really works, that meets this right, and then I'm going to go back and let's say I don't, and I call them back and I go hey, I know it's about five o'clock. You guys are closing. I want to let you know like I'm still working on this. Do you want me to work on an option for Tuesday. When you guys open back up and she says, no, you know what, like one of our carriers came through last minute, or one of my brokers, like I'm good, don't worry about it for Tuesday. So I go hey, no worries. And she thanks me for my time. I do not hang up. The other question I always ask, right as I go hey, no worries. So again. So you guys are good, you don't need me to work on this for Tuesday, even as a second option, in case that guy doesn't show up and they might say, no, right, okay.

Speaker 2: 56:44

Now in my head I'm thinking this person didn't tell me it was covered, had me continue working on it, which means either they were too busy, didn't care enough to tell me, or the third, meaning like they didn't really get this covered. And I had this happen last week and the shipper said no, we got it covered. And if they say they got it covered, I always ask this question hey, if you don't mind me asking, what did you guys end up at on this? What did you end up paying? And this person said 4,300. Now it's a Friday before three-day weekend, like 99 out of a hundred, like that's not true Said they didn't need us to work on it on Tuesday. So guess, the first call when we call them on Tuesday was hey, how was your weekend? How are things shaping up this week? Start the conversation right.

Speaker 2: 57:28

Once we've started the conversation, my first question, once we've gotten to that rhythm, is hey, how did that load turn out from Friday that deliver on time? You guys have any issues over the weekend? I know probably people weren't in the office. Everything go all right. I can tell a whole lot by whether or not they pause or just answer, whether or not they're telling me the truth, right. And second of all, even if I don't learn that much and I almost always do just in how they respond, whether, even if I don't learn that much, and I almost always do just in how they respond, whether or not that was truthful or not, right, like you learn a lot about them.

Speaker 2: 58:01

But even beyond that, I then also showed them what my service is like as a broker, meaning like I am following up on loads that I didn't even run. This is how much I care about your situation and the time and effort I put into it. Last week. I genuinely cared if this worked out well for you and whether or not you got out of the jam you were in that you were so stressed about Friday I'm sure you were worried about over the weekend. Did everything go all right? And I do care Like it's not just pretending to care Like I do.

Speaker 2: 58:36

That is what helps me build a rapport and bond because, like I genuinely am concerned, they feel that they are going to tell me things about that. So, even though I didn't get them the truck and I didn't save the day, I showed them how much I was going to hustle. Last week I brought them options, even if they weren't great. I followed up, even though I didn't have the truck, and the next week I did the same thing. Right, I don't need to tell them hey, this is the kind of service you can expect from working with Benjamin. Like that's all implied. They know that. Right, like I was able to build a reputation for myself even when I didn't succeed. That helps differentiate me from everyone I'm competing with. Right, and then I'm just doing that over and over again.

Speaker 2: 59:14

Right, like, you don't need to move every load to have more communication. You don't need to move and win in every situation to build more trust. You can keep doing this week in and week out with every one of their problem loads and guess what becomes more likely the next time they need help. They're not going to wait two hours, they're going to ask me for help when they ask the other two. So now I've took my disadvantage of starting two hours later and now I start at the same starting line as everybody else.

Speaker 2: 59:41

So I didn't move a load yet, I didn't make any money, but I sure as shit made progress and rapport, relationship, trust and actual situations. For the next time this comes up. I've got more time and if I keep doing this, sometimes they'll give it to me before the other brokers to see how I do. Now I've got a headstart right. So, like they call this, operating in the margins, which is everybody does the table stakes, what's in the middle? Posting a load, calling the trucks, sending over a rate these things we talked about on this episode are what they call the margins. These are the three or 4% that most people don't do, don't care enough about and certainly don't do consistently.

Speaker 1: 1:00:17

Or they just don't know to do them.

Speaker 2: 1:00:19

Or they don't know right.

Speaker 2: 1:00:20

And if you do these things week in and week out, even if it takes you three weeks to get that load covered that they need help with, even if it takes six weeks, you are building all of those things and making progress towards a real relationship with this customer where there's trust and more opportunities to try to go and get them what they need will follow right.

Speaker 2: 1:00:42

This is the piece that I think so many folks either aren't aware of to your point or forget or aren't doing consistently if they've been taught it, because this is how you take all of those thousands of hours that you put into developing prospects, into actual customers and relationships. This is where you are your time to shine. You've been practicing while the A team is on the field all day long so the coach can see you when he calls you into the game. You better do everything, and then some, so that you get a shot next time, because if you just do the average that everyone else is, you can be certain that it's not very likely you're getting called off the bench the next time they need help.

Speaker 1: 1:01:19

Yep, exactly Great discussion, man. A lot of good takeaway points in today's episode, Well cool. Any final thoughts?

Speaker 2: 1:01:32

Nothing outside of the standard, whether you believe you can or believe you can't you're right, and until next time go bells.

About the Author

Freight 360
Freight 360

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

To read more about Freight 360, check out full bio here.