Freight Broker Prospecting & Sales Funnel Tips | Episode 232

Freight 360

February 23, 2024

Ever wondered how to build a freight brokering empire with a side of hot chicken? Join me and my fellow broker Ben as we blend anecdotes, strategies, and a bit of sports talk to reveal the secrets of winning clients and mastering sales, all spiced up with local culture from Nashville to Florida. We’ll dive into the art of turning lukewarm leads into loyal customers, share the magic behind effective cold calls, and explore the seasonal swings of the shipping industry. Tune in for a light-hearted yet insightful session on elevating your sales game and growing in the freight world!

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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:19

Welcome back, everybody, for another episode of the Freight 360 podcast, where we talk to you all about different Freight Brokering topics. Today is going to be a really good one on prospecting, but please, if you haven't done so yet, make sure to subscribe to our channel, whether it's through the podcast outlets or through YouTube. Leave us a review, share us with your friends, comment on the YouTube video with questions and head over to our website, freight360.net. You can check out all of our free downloadable content in our searchable library, from blogs, videos, full-length podcasts, and you'll even see the Freight Broker basics course. It's a full-length, self-paced course on how to start and grow a Freight Brokerage. All right, ben, you pointed it out off air, but I'm in Nashville, tennessee, and I'm pretty sure I'm in the exact same room that I was in the last time that I was here two months ago but how's that?

Speaker 2: 1:12

You know why? Because the last time you were there, I think I just watched the Dave Chappelle special or something. I watched some stand-up special recently and the picture behind you is a guy on stage and clearly you're in Nashville, which is why the art fits but I couldn't tell if it was a TV or a picture. The first time you were in this room and it kept catching my eye, I was like is that TV on pause from the same Netflix thing I was watching last night. Then it hit me. I was like oh, nashville, that's clearly a picture. As soon as you sat down I saw it I was like, yeah, pretty sure you're saying that it's a rear shot of two gentlemen on stage playing guitar.

Speaker 1: 1:44

It looks like, yeah, yep, good stuff. Well, I've been here. This is my fourth day here and I have yet to go on the Broadway Strip yet. I've been really busy. I've had one of our agent offices from Pierce for a while Logistics. They're in from the Philadelphia area to do some business and some high-level stuff. It's been a good productive week. I'm actually glad we're talking about prospects in today, because a lot of this stuff that we've been talking about is related to onboarding, new accounts, growing accounts and things of that nature. But how's Florida? Has it warmed up at all?

Speaker 2: 2:19

Dude, it's cool to shit down here, man, it's like 49 degrees. I'll tell you what. I rode my bike again this.

Speaker 2: 2:25

Oh, now it's like 71. But that was the peak this morning. I went twice this week. I went Monday and today. I rode my bike like a good ride down by the beach when it was like 15 miles an hour. So it was like pedaling uphill half the way and it was, I think, when I left, like 52. And I'm like I don't really know that I would ride my bike up in Pittsburgh if it was 52. And I was like I was like super proud of myself for being a warm weather Floridian these days that I was like I'm going to start trying to tough some of this out and stop being some of a whoops and just get used to it.

Speaker 1: 2:59

Yeah, it's pushing almost 70 degrees here today. I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I can't wait. I'm going to go enjoy lower Broadway this evening, and it's been a while since I've been there, so I got favorite chicken sandwiches spicy chicken with pickles, man.

Speaker 1: 3:15

Yeah, natural hot chicken. You've got had bees, and that's the one I usually had to go to. There's princes as well as another big one, so they're all around, but had a couple of good local food options and some local draft beers and stuff like that. Got to see some really awesome. We went to this place called Music Row last night.

Speaker 1: 3:34

It's near where all the recording office recording studio offices are and there's a really cool like a stretch of like entertainment, like bars, restaurants, some clubs, breweries, and I heard some of the best musicians last night, like this one. There's these guys that were playing and there was a girl too, and the girl, like the three of us that were there she finished and we're like that's a hit song, like that sounds like it should be on the radio. So it was really cool. That's awesome. Yeah, man, yeah, it's gonna be gonna be a good rest of the week. Got someone coming in tomorrow for the next couple of days and then I'll be on my way back to Buffalo, where it's likely snowing right now. But hey, sports update, I don't have a whole lot.

Speaker 2: 4:17

Anything? Hey, yeah, the match is this Monday and it's like right up the street from me. I look to see if I get tickets it's. Max Homa, and I think it was. I looked at it and then I forgot.

Speaker 1: 4:31

It's usually a pro athlete with a golf, two women.

Speaker 2: 4:33

It's the first time. It's gonna be two, it's gonna be the two women golfers. Lexi, I'll tell you in a minute. The match at the park is what it's called. Yeah, come on. Yes, rory McElroy and two LPGA stars, max Homa and Rory, and Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang.

Speaker 1: 4:57

I also didn't know that. Also, it's not like the match historically has been like Tom Brady.

Speaker 2: 5:05

Yes, last year it was Steph Curry, I think, and he got a hole in one Remember. I didn't know Lexi Thompson was actually from Delray, which is literally right next door. I mean, that's where I rode my bike to this morning. Delray, nice, you can't get in anyway unless you have whatever that credit card is capital one that sponsors it. It was like super close. I was like that'd be pretty cool to go up there and at least watch couple holes. I would have taken my daughter, I could have got in, for sure, for sure.

Speaker 1: 5:36

News. The one I want to talk about and people have asked me questions is this whole New York City trucking boycott. It's gotten national media attention. The reality is I had my wife's cousin as a lawyer. He's the one that I taught logistics class to his college students because he teaches law at a local college. He sends me. This whole thing about it was the whole Trump had to pay $300-some million.

Speaker 1: 6:05

Truckers are going to go boycott it by not delivering or pick it up in New York City. He asked me what do you think the actual repercussions of this are going to be? I was like man, that's clickbait. The reality is there's a dozen dudes in a bunch of online forums all saying they're going to do this. People don't realize how big the market is in New York City. Well, they should.

Speaker 1: 6:24

It's a massive metro area, but also and I didn't learn this until I worked for a trucking company there's a lot of restrictions for height and weight of vehicles in New York City, with bridges, tunnels and things like that. So there's a lot of local cartage delivery companies that will do the final amount of delivery to a lot of the areas within the with, like lower Manhattan, for example. Sure, you're going to have like for trade shows. You'll see full 53 foot vans delivering stuff at convention centers but a lot of the other stuff. There's capacity that's extremely regional and focused there. But either way, if you had, even if there was 100 people that were going to boycott it, it's not going to move the market.

Speaker 1: 7:08

No at all. There's so many carriers out there, but I don't know.

Speaker 2: 7:14

Even if it was a few hundred, to be honest, like the brokers would just recover it and there'd be a spike in spot rates in a New York City for a day or two and that would be about it. Yep, like I mean, not significant whatsoever. It's news. It's I Don't know, and to that point like I didn't really read the news too much anymore, like I read business related things to try to see what's going on in the economics side of the news, but like I rarely even read any of the news. It's all written by AI. You can kind of tell now, yeah, you don't really learn anything in any articles. I'm like, after the few that I'm just starting to read anymore, I'm like this told me nothing. I literally learned everything I needed in the title and I'm like there was nothing other than just you know sensation around the title and you don't really kind of learn anything.

Speaker 1: 8:01

And click bait man. It's not relevant anyway, yeah.

Speaker 2: 8:04

Yep Exactly much to do about nothing.

Speaker 1: 8:08

Anything else in the news world before we get into prospecting and sales.

Speaker 2: 8:12

Oh no, not really nothing that I've seen.

Speaker 1: 8:15

Cool, let's get into it, man, the we'll kind of free flow here. We've done a lot of specific episodes in the realm of prospecting, on lead generation, on building relationships, follow up and all of that. I think we're gonna kind of go somewhat big picture but talk some specifics as well on building a sales funnel, and I want to. I want to preface with this this is an activity that you will deal with on day one and on day 1000, because I stay.

Speaker 2: 8:44

You're in the industry. You'll still be doing it, exactly because we'll be leaving the industry, because you stopped doing it.

Speaker 1: 8:50

Exactly. But the reality here is Prospecting is a necessity, it's a necessary part of our job and if you don't do it, just like you said, it can lead to your demise and Failing to succeed in the industry because you didn't do it, what a lot of people will often do I shouldn't say often People to get themselves in the trouble. What they might often do is they get one big account or a couple big accounts and they stop prospecting new business, whether that's internal, with their customers or just other companies, other shippers, and eventually something changes and they lose their business and then they're they're sitting there with nothing yes, with crumbs, right. So prospecting is extremely important for that reason. It just it's gonna look different the way that you prospect business on day one and you know after one year versus after ten years. It's gonna look a lot different. We'll probably focus on the young freight broker, right? I don't mean age, I want to talk.

Speaker 2: 9:51

Yeah, I want to focus real specifically on what a funnel is, right, very simply, what it's needed, where your customer start at and then how do they drop into the interior company, right, yeah, like it's basically. You look at it like up, like there's pictures in those sales offices of literally a funnel, right like on top of a Business, and there are lots of companies you could use a net to try to get them in there with emails or whatever they get in the top. And then you qualify and it gets narrower and narrower because some won't be a good fit for lots of reasons, and Then one of two things happen. At the bottom, it's a fork in the road, right, and that fork is you are either disqualified and I'm never talking to you again because you don't move any full truckload and there will never be a need there.

Speaker 2: 10:32

One option, right, option. I'm sorry, there's probably three options Now. The second option is hey, this could be an opportunity, but I'm ten months away from when they'll need me, right, so you throw them in there, follow up, maybe nine months from now. And your third option is they fall in and they become a customer, right, it's either you're gone for good, you're gone until later or we're working together, right.

Speaker 1: 10:53

And people will often use the terminology of a sales pipeline as well, and the pipeline is something where you come in one side and you move through that pipeline and the same kind of stuff happens. Right, you're qualified, maybe this follow-up needed or you know. But the other end of it is they come out that pipeline as a customer, so they might be in that pipeline for a long time or they might exit the pipeline as a non qualified, or they exited it as a customer. So whether you use the term funnel or pipeline, they're both really great visuals to conceptualize how somebody goes from a cold lead that you've generated to a Revenue-producing customer. And we'll talk through that process. Where do you want to start?

Speaker 2: 11:36

So let's start with like some definitions right, like inactive prospect versus an active prospect. An inactive prospect, no matter how hot you believe that lead to be, you've not spoken to them. They're inactive, you've never had a conversation with them. You might have called them a lot, you might have left the messages, you might have sent them emails, but there's nothing from their end coming back at you. It's a one-sided conversation. So at that point inactive, active we are engaged in a conversation. I had to talk to you once. For me, like I try to qualify real quick, so mine, the next step happens real quick. But let's just start with inactive versus active active. I've talked to you, we are engaged in a conversation, or we haven't right, and that's your very top of the funnel and I'm going to use funnel and why I like a funnel over a pipe is because it is wider at the top and it should get narrower at the bottom. Better visualization, I agree, yes. So to give some examples right of what the pipeline will start to look like when you start doing this is You're going to reach out to lots of people that don't know you and don't really need anything right now. That's what a gold goal is right. So until you spoke to them, they're inactive. They're inactive now that I've talked to them. Now they're active. Right, they are a different status. Right, the goal of a pipeline and again we'll do an overview then we're going to dig into it.

Speaker 2: 12:57

So the goal of the pipeline is to talk to a lot of people Right, to turn them from inactive to active first, and then, once they're active, you want to qualify or disqualify as fast as humanly possible. And this is one of the biggest things they teach newer brokers and that I learned, and everybody that I've met has still learned from experience, even though we were told. This reminds me of being a kid, right, like you're told not to touch the stove. You're told not to touch the stove, but you're going to touch it until you get burned and then you don't touch it. Right, and to me, it is this lesson of you you think a lead's really hot because you see their website and for whatever information you have, either in the news or what people tell you or what you've seen, other brokers, do you think there's money there? Right, and you just get so excited that they're talking to you.

Speaker 2: 13:43

You skip over the qualification. You don't really ask how much full truckloads they're moving or any full truckload whatsoever. And they're talking to you and you're talking, you're like I'm calling so many people that don't talk to me. This person, finally, is giving me some attention, like you're just so excited that you just kind of run with it, right, and then just take this example, right, talk to them next week, more information. Three, four weeks, six, seven weeks later they're on board. They're like yeah, we'll set you up as a vendor. You're ready to move some freight.

Speaker 2: 14:10

And you find out they move one full truckload like every other week and they've got four other carriers and they only use the cheapest carrier because their freight's never in a rush to get where it needs to and it's not high value enough to care about the quality of the carrier. And you're like, yeah, huh, I spent and if you count them up, right, some in the first one for mine, right, like I might have spent nine hours in total over two months talking to this person. This prospect that was active, that I thought was really potential, and the reality was I wasted nine hours of my time. I could have asked that question in a conversation or two and found out that I didn't really need to spend more time there and I could have called another hundred prospects that could have been inactive, too active. Right, that's my opportunity cost.

Speaker 1: 14:54

I want to hop in here. I love where you're going. I want to hop in and hit on sort of like a systematic thing. Stephen actually, our producer brought this up beforehand and I wanted to talk to it is how, based on where they are in your funnel or your sales pipeline, how can you use your CRM to help you categorize these folks? Yes, and it's going to look a lot different depending on your preference or maybe the way your brokerage does it or what your CRM has the ability to do.

Speaker 1: 15:24

I personally, I use HubSpot and a lot of the CRMs, whether it's like Pipedrive, hubspot, salesforce. They usually have, like, some default categories right For the lead status. Right, so the lead status can be active, inactive, qualified, not qualified. What I've always liked to do is create categories and make your own custom ones that they can flow through. Like you mentioned, there's a path and there's a fork in the road. Right, so it's your sales cycle right.

Speaker 1: 15:57

So, like, whatever your first status is like brand new, never talked to them, right, they're inactive leads, so you can call that like new lead if you want to. Right, and then you can go to a maybe you called them and what we're unable to get through you email and they have responded, so now they've been contacted, so it's a contacted lead, but we don't know anything else yet and then it might move to qualified versus unqualified or it could be, and if they go on the qualified path, then it might be dealing with objections or shows interest or follow up in three months. You can create these custom statuses for a lead and by doing that, it will help organize your follow up methodology and when that follow up happens and I think this is not a CRM episode today, but I wanted to at least point that out that you can use the tools that you have access to to help automate and clean this process up for you, because not everyone goes from cold lead to customer, that's what everyone expects.

Speaker 2: 17:04

That's what I want to do, this episode on is because everyone thinks it goes from cold lead to customer and I'm like no, you're missing the entire journey in the middle and this is why you're not getting customers and why you're frustrated. For that matter, right, yeah, and to your point, what is most important isn't which category you use for your steps, it's that you're consistent across all of the people you talk to and that everyone falls into it. So for me, mine go inactive to active. Once they're active, it's qualified. If they're qualified, then they go into one of three categories. They're qualitative hot lead, medium lead, cold lead, right and then that's how I rank them and they'll change. Right, I might have somebody that's hot now and then goes to medium and then just two months I'll be picking back up. They can go back. So that's really those three that I use after qualified.

Speaker 1: 17:48

Yeah, no, that's awesome. So you want to talk through what some qualifying things would be?

Speaker 2: 17:53

So and I want to do like not necessarily a role play, but I'm going to go through the exact example I did on a coaching call today, which is why I wanted to do this episode right, because there's the first thing is what I hear most people say when they are calling a prospect is they announce who they are, they announce who they're working with and why they're calling. Right, and the reality is is why I don't know that everyone realizes why they do this. Psychologically. One of the reasons why most people do this is because it gives you some armor. It's not you calling, I'm calling from this company, right?

Speaker 1: 18:27

ABC Legends. You've been.

Speaker 2: 18:28

I'm from T2O right, like, hey, I know I'm bothering you and I feel uncomfortable, so I'm going to tell you real quick why I'm calling you to make my uncomfort go away. That's why they do it. Rush to get to this to tell you that it's okay that they interrupted your day because it makes them uncomfortable. Right, and I've been there, I've done that too right, here's the reality. Has anybody ever called you in your personal life or business, ever announced who they were and who they worked for? If you knew who they were and had any relationship with them ever. No, right, like I'm calling you. I'm going to enter the call like hey, date, or hey, what's going on, or just start telling you what I called you for. Right, and the thing is right.

Speaker 2: 19:08

Like, what gets you through a gatekeeper or builds rapport with somebody has to do with how comfortable they are talking to you. And if you've been trained your entire life, and especially now with the amount of spam calls we get, when you hear that your guard goes through the roof and you go, shit, I got to get off the call. I got to get back to what I'm doing. I'm going to be as nice as I can without being rude, and then you're already back in their emails even as you're talking to them, right? You've never even gotten their attention out of the gate. You've kind of shot yourself in the foot before you even got to the game, right To the starting line.

Speaker 2: 19:42

Sure, now I'm going to zoom out for a second to go to this role play. The real steps between I don't know you and I've never talked to you and us doing business are, on average, eight conversations. And the important step in between I don't know you and we're doing business is we say this a lot, but this is what we mean by it. I need to get you to know me, to like me and to trust me. That's really the step. That is far before I'm ever going to honestly probably even get some real answers from you. Even if you're telling me about your freight or what your target rate is, if you don't know me or trust me at all, you are just negotiating and doing whatever to get me to go away or to just try to get a cheap load moved.

Speaker 1: 20:26

There's no substantial there. No, like and trust don't always happen in that order. Sometimes it could be they like you, they get to know you and eventually they trust. Maybe trust comes last because it takes time but depending on how you open your cold call, they might get to know who you are first, if that's kind of the language that you spew out, if you can get them to like you first. I love that approach. That's why I'm all about like disarming the conversation, making them feel comfortable, maybe cracking a joke, asking them about the game last night. That's my go to and I've always found it to be so beneficial. I've had calls where if I've got let's say I've got a meeting set with somebody and we have 15 minutes allocated, we might spend 12 minutes talking about BS thing.

Speaker 2: 21:09

And then we're like oh man.

Speaker 1: 21:10

I didn't wrote. We only got a few minutes left here, like here. He's what I want to talk about and you do a quick exchange of to know each other about. Yes, you know whatever the details are and you follow up later than.

Speaker 2: 21:20

So I'll go through mine and then we'll go through an example of yours, because I think they're really two of the more common approaches and in my opinion they're the most effective ones not saying are the best I just find they work the most often right. So my approach is step one is I give them a reason why I'm calling and I get to it real quick, like why should you be talking to me Right Now? Again, we're not going to go into a ton of psychology, but if it's me versus you, there's a bigger chance of conflict and there's a higher chance that you think I need something from you and your guard is more likely to go up if I start asking you certain things. An example of those certain things are how many loads do you move this week? How many loads do you move in next week? How much full truckloader you move in? Do you have any opportunities for lanes?

Speaker 2: 22:04

Because the reality is, if I ask you how many loads you're moving this week which is the qualifying question, by the way, the one we need answered the most what is the next question you think I'm going to ask? Can I move some of your freight? It's the ask, it's the one that they don't want to answer. They don't know you and they know they're going to say no. You know they're going to say no and it doesn't make anybody get any closer together, it kind of pushes you farther apart. So mine is opening. You're going to answer. I'm going to go, hey, nate. Look, hey, I was reaching out and before I make the call I will look on Google Maps, street View. Look at your building, maybe. Look at your load docs, right when it is. I'm going to go, hey, nate.

Speaker 2: 22:43

Hey, I was reaching out. A bunch of my drivers have been down in your area often. You guys have the warehouse over on 12th and Broadway, right, yeah, yeah. And, like I said, a few of my drivers I know they're picking up, they're picking up a bunch of citrus down the road and they're literally by your warehouse constantly, and three of them have asked me over and over to reach out to you. Again, they're in your neck of the woods. They're driving empty past you. I don't know if they'd be a good fit Hell, I don't even know if it would be a fit to do anything together. But the reason I was giving you a call is because, again, I got guys literally driving past you. They wanted me to reach out and just learn a little bit more about what you guys are doing there. Hey, speaking of, how are things coming along today? Nate?

Speaker 1: 24:40

Do you want me to role play or do you want me to tell you what I thought was really good about that?

Speaker 2: 24:43

Run with it for a minute, right? How's your day? How are things going right?

Speaker 1: 24:48

Yeah, things are going pretty good.

Speaker 2: 24:49

Right. So the first part right is like a pivot. I allow you to talk without putting you on the spot. I'm trying to get you just into a normal rhythm of a conversation, right? Hey, this is what I called you and the important piece is it's not I'm calling you because I need something from you, or you need something from me, or we really need anything. Hey, these guys do a lot of work with me. I said I'd do them a favor, told them I'd give you a buzz. See if there might be some opportunity for some work for these guys, right?

Speaker 1: 25:15

I think what you did really good too, is you shifted the it's me to you to hey my drivers. You also planted a seed in my head of hmm, they're here. That's a little empty miles and it sounds to me almost like it's a backhaul that we're getting set up for. So in my mind I'm thinking, all right, awesome. So I've got something for you right now and there's not a lot of pressure attention in this conversation.

Speaker 2: 25:40

Okay Now, what I said earlier was, like, I need to qualify you pretty quick, still, like, because I also don't want to spend another 10 minutes talking to you if there is no point there, right? So again, let's say you're in, you ship citrus and oranges, right? And I look and I know that citrus season is picking up and you know three weeks. Let's say, and I'm calling you right. My next question, right, is I need to know how much you ship a week to see if it's worth working together. But if I ask you what you're shipping in a week or two, just like I said earlier, it makes you feel like I'm about to ask you for something you have and you don't know me yet, or who I work for, or even my name, because I didn't give it to you, none of those things, right?

Speaker 2: 26:18

So if I ask you, though and I'm just going to role play it and then we'll recap it after, right? So picking up from right there. Hey, speaking of Nate, how are things coming along? How's your, your shaping up so far?

Speaker 1: 26:30

Well, it's been a little bit colder down here than normal, but we're, you know, we're getting ready for the ramped up produce season coming in the next couple of months here.

Speaker 2: 26:36

Oh for sure, man, I am really looking forward to spring and seeing some warmer weather, and I am not someone that can complain about the weather. But I'll tell you what I'm also looking forward to getting a little warmer. So you guys are pretty much ramping up for this year. Out of curiosity, Nate, how did last year play out for you? You guys kind of end the year where you were expected. You guys have the season that you guys were hoping for. How did kind of everything play out?

Speaker 1: 26:58

Yeah, I mean, honestly, it was a bit of a better year than 2022. Naturally, we saw pricing advantage on our end, with some of the truck costs coming down, and so, yeah, I mean it was a pretty good year overall. We're looking forward to this year.

Speaker 2: 27:13

Nice. Hey, let me ask you I mean a few of the other guys I work with out in the area AP Produce and ABC Produce I know their peak is usually around like second third week in March. Last year, is that similar for you guys? Were you running about your higher volume during like peak of orange season right around second week of March?

Speaker 1: 27:34

Yeah, I mean, those guys are in the same ballpark as us, so you know we're typically kicking off around the same time of the year.

Speaker 2: 27:40

Yeah, what did you guys do around peak season? Truckload wise on a weekly basis, like on your peak.

Speaker 1: 27:45

Yeah, when we got fully ramped up we were somewhere between 20 and 30 truckloads a day going out bound. Yeah.

Speaker 2: 27:50

That's about what I expected. Out of curiosity, when did you start to see things slow down? When did they start to kind of tail off for you?

Speaker 1: 27:57

Yeah, I mean, as you know, in Florida here as it gets I'm assuming we're talking about Florida now but obviously as we get to those warmer months and that kind of wraps up the season for us. So really it was quiet by the tail end of May and got back to our off season business as usual.

Speaker 2: 28:14

When you guys are in off season, what did you guys typically do last year? On a weekly basis, full truckload. You guys like 10 to 15, 5 to 10 somewhere around off season, what's that you know.

Speaker 1: 28:24

It really, really depends on, you know, whatever mother nature throws at us. But yeah, we do drop down considerably. We do some stuff with some other local companies as far as providing stuff for orange juice to Purina, I'm just making this up. Yeah, who's the big orange sun kiss? He's one of four peers, I think it's Sun Kissed. Sun Kissed. Yeah, or somebody right. Yeah, we do some work with them, but yeah, we drop or close to about a dozen a week at that point.

Speaker 2: 28:51

Yeah, that's about kind of. Again, that's about what I would expect it, okay. So let's recap this right there. Right, I qualified you without ever talking about any load in the future or anything that you're going to do, or gave you even the inclination that I was going to ask about moving a load for you.

Speaker 1: 29:06

Right, you didn't smell like a salesman either. It's an enjoyable conversation. We've all had that phone call where you're like, dude, I got to get this guy off the phone, or where I'm like I'm kind of enjoying this conversation. I got a few minutes to talk right now I'm happy to connect with this guy because he's making my day more enjoyable. That's the real thing, right.

Speaker 2: 29:22

And then I used again third party.

Speaker 2: 29:24

I didn't tell you I ship oranges, or that I'm good at it, or that I can do everything you need or solve every problem you have, or promise you the world.

Speaker 2: 29:33

What I did, though, without you realizing it, was I kind of bragged by insinuating that I work with companies that you would recognize and I'm in the mix, and I understand the market when it's going to pick up and when it's going to slow down.

Speaker 2: 29:47

Without telling you any of those things, I conveyed to you that I'm in this industry and I'm aware of how things play out, right, yeah, at the same time, I found out that it's really a good opportunity, right? So now you're qualified, and I did it in a way that makes you, like you pointed out, like one actually continue talking to me and, to be honest, like in my first call, if I've gotten that much, I'm probably not really going to push too much more, because I know the opportunity is what I thought it was. I know I want to keep working it and I know I got to talk to you a handful more times, and if I learned everything about you and I've done this, what do you think happens if you can get somebody that spends like 30 minutes on a call and they answer every question you've ever had and tell you everything you need. What do you think the downside?

Speaker 1: 30:30

of that is there's nothing left to call them back about.

Speaker 2: 30:33

Right, and when I've called them a week later, they're usually like, oh hey, ben, they're happy because they talked to you a long time. I'm like, hey, it was a nice connecting. But to be honest, I mean, I kind of told you everything and I'll let you know when something changes. I just got nothing for you and I got nowhere to go with it. I think there's nothing I could even ask you, because you've literally told me everything about your operations, what you need and all this, and I'm just like, okay, so now I got information and no relationship.

Speaker 1: 30:55

I want to add something in too, is have if you're going to deal with seasonal produce. I threw a curve at you that we didn't talk about. I lied about when we we tell off. I said, man, usually you're more, you're usually closer to like end of June into July, but know, your know the months right, like had you come at me and been like, yeah, you know, like you guys are ramping up March, when do you tail off, typically like April, or I'm like who the hell is this guy?

Speaker 2: 31:50

Right, but you didn't for sure.

Speaker 1: 31:52

You didn't, you didn't presume anything, but yeah, for the for the sake of that I would recommend you know and you can see this stuff A good way to do it is a mix of two ways. I always love produce blue book. You can see, like know, your commodity when that stuff is typically season, seasonally available. But like Florida Citrus, for example, if you just do a simple rating search on Florida outbound or inbound, you'll see when it peaks to get expensive to get a truck out of there and when it drops back down and gets low.

Speaker 1: 32:25

So those are kind of like your big ones and you could say that, say hey, you know, I've noticed in the past we tend to see rates doing this around this time of year. Does that have anything to do with the volume that you guys are shipping outbound for your company specifically? Right, and that because there's a lot of different types of produce and a lot of them come out of Florida or Georgia, the Southeast, and they don't all have the exact same time of year. This, you know, Citrus might go at one time, whereas you know something else might go at a, you know, at a totally different time. So good questions to ask, but it can change from year to year to year too, just based off of like, for example, Florida is having a colder winter. Yeah, the weather.

Speaker 2: 33:02

When the hard weather will be you could kick off the produce season.

Speaker 2: 33:06

Yep, so, so you can pick those up. You are going to have a far more effective conversation, right. And at that point, like where am I going to go after that? Like I mean, we can pick it back up, but to be honest, I'm going to be like, oh fantastic, I'm usually going to create a reason why I got to go because, again, think, if you ever think of that, if you're like the scarcity mentality when something is harder to find, do we want it more or less when?

Speaker 1: 33:29

it's harder to find. You want it more.

Speaker 2: 33:31

Right, if you called an attorney and the attorney picked up the phone and was just willing to jump into whatever you needed whenever you called them, you'd be like is this guy have any other clients? Is he really that busy? Like I mean, yeah, and again, we kind of have this built in that when things are harder to find, it's part of human nature like they're in higher demand. That's the supply-demand curve, right? So if I go, hey, look, nate, it was great connecting with you. Hey, I got a buzz, I got another customer on my line. But, yeah, hopefully we can connect in the future. Like, I didn't keep you too long, I didn't overstay my welcome, I didn't make you have to hang up on me and you're far more likely to pick up the phone when I call you next week or 10 days from now. Right, because it was an enjoyable conversation. I didn't keep you longer than you needed, I was able to talk with you in a way that didn't make you feel like I needed anything, and I can pick that up and learn a little bit more about your operations and just go a little bit further. And then again and again, and again. Right, like that's really your first piece and the thing that I was thinking about and this was in the coaching call.

Speaker 2: 34:36

As I was talking through this, I realized like the step between zero and active and customer right is really you need a pipeline of friends.

Speaker 2: 34:46

That's what an active pipeline is, and an active pipeline for somebody that is new in this business.

Speaker 2: 34:52

Your goal should not be to just make 80 phone calls a day we talk about that a lot or 60 calls a day or somewhere thereabouts.

Speaker 2: 35:00

Right. Your goal when you start is you want to run as fast as you can to getting first one person that is active that will talk to you, and then from there you want five, and then from there it's 10. And then 20, then 40. You want to be able to get to a place within a few months where you are actively speaking to and following up with people you have talked to, and there should be about 70 or 75 of those that you are in some aspect of follow up. If you're following up in a month, you're following up in a week, you're following up in 10 days, three days, tomorrow, today but they're somewhere in there where you are engaged, you're making friends with them, you're learning a little bit about them, but you're not really quoting anything and not really asking for anything, yet You're just kind of adding value in a way that you guys are able to talk and learn more about each other.

Speaker 1: 35:51

Yeah, and back to what we said earlier on, the way that you're prospecting looks changes from day one to after one year to 10 years down the road, and you just explained it specifically. I'll kind of zoom out and give you the bigger picture. Day one, they're all cold calls, right. But, like you mentioned, when you're a few months in you should have a big chunk that are follow ups. If you're making 100 calls a day, they're not all 100 brand new leads to you. You're probably going to have a vast majority, once you get your pipeline built up or your funnel built up, that are follow ups with key people. It could be the same person, it could be hey, we're going to now talk with so-and-so from their compliance department. Or hey, we're going to revisit this one thing we talked about because we're coming up on a project that they've told us about in the past.

Speaker 1: 36:40

And then, as you get way further down the road, a few years into the business and you've got a really good book of business going, your prospecting calls probably are going to be the bigger fish. That's likely the time when you're like these are going to be six to 18 month closes if we can get this business, because I've got to build rapport with six different people. I've got to talk with legal. I've got to talk with their compliance department for transportation vendor onboarding. There might have been turnover in that time with who handles this, that or the other thing.

Speaker 1: 37:13

And those are the ones, though, that when you land them, it's usually really really awesome, consistent business and a lot of opportunity. But you can still have, you can sprinkle in there, like we've used the rock, pebble and sand thing of how you fill up a jar. You've got your rocks or your big, your wells, your big prospects. Your pebbles are your smaller, mid-size companies and then your sand is all those little other ones in there that are smaller companies. They might do a load here and there. There's a lot more competition to get the big fish versus the smaller ones, but they pay a bigger dividend and you're just going to look different, you're not going to go after a well on day one.

Speaker 1: 37:47

First of all, you don't understand their. You don't understand logistics enough and freight brokerage enough at that point to be able to talk to them on that level, cause people that are in charge of logistics and transportation at a Fortune 500 company have been in the industry typically for a very long time and they know what to look out for and they know when they talk to somebody this guy knows his stuff or this girl I can trust versus hi. I have trucks in the area. Do you have freight? Exactly?

Speaker 2: 38:13

Right, and again like to your point. I mean one of the things like characteristics of prospects right that I look for. I think the best characteristic of a prospect is like a family-owned, privately held company with maybe no website, or a very old website that cares a lot about their customers, has a lot of concern for quality and their freight being delivered and the service aspect of it. And the reason they tend to be really good prospects is one they close quickly because they don't have a lot of bureaucracy or legal stuff. There's usually an agreement, that's it, and there's usually less people involved and they all trust each other really well. So if one person wants to onboard you, the other people are okay with it, so your speed to get onboarded is higher. Then, once you're onboarded since they don't have a huge presence or a big name out there because they do business just because they've been in business for 50 years and their customers have known them because they have this niche right, there's a fish food customer like this.

Speaker 2: 39:12

That was where all this came from. There was somebody I worked next to close this customer on like her eighth day and made 300 grand that year just off this type of customer and realize this is why this works that fast. Because the other thing was when she used to quote freight, that was probably at 30% margins. They didn't care. Do you know why she took?

Speaker 1: 39:32

care of that.

Speaker 2: 39:33

Yes, and not only that. They cared enough about their freight getting delivered that they were worth. They were willing to pay a premium. But even more so, they weren't being prospected all the time because not everybody could find them. They were harder to find, which meant they didn't have a lot of other people to benchmark rates against. So once they found someone they trusted, they just gave them all their freight, all of it. I trust you take all of it. They weren't looking for price. They're like we trust you. We care about making the widgets that we make. Get our widgets to our customers when they expect it and the condition they expect it, with no damage. Right, we'll pay for that.

Speaker 1: 40:09

I want to add a caveat in here of a recommendation. If you're brand new and you're just getting into prospecting calls, I would challenge you to take some of your time and put it towards business. That may not be very fruitful for you but will give you a lot of repetitions with the coding process and that is your simple. A lot of building materials companies will have a load list where you look. I guarantee right now, if you and I were to call 50 different companies that do this, we'd probably be on 20 load lists within like an hour or two hours.

Speaker 1: 40:46

But the reality is they don't. They all they care about is price. You might make 50 bucks on a load If you're lucky and you can find a truck that wants to go there. But you get a lot of reps right and it's low pushback. They really don't. They'll onboard just about anybody and I have seen companies lately that are they're backing off on just opening the floodgates on providers just because the market has changed, but it is still very easy. They're like yep, well, I do our daily list, you'll get two day. You'll see our morning loads and our afternoon loads and it is literally we're telling you the price, yep.

Speaker 2: 41:17

You got to go out there and work for a truck.

Speaker 1: 41:19

Yes, that's it and that's your repetition to be able to have constant communication with them. Show them proof of your ability to respond promptly and professionally and give them quality service. What I have seen success look like with some companies, if you do this right, is they're letting you in on their load lists for their junk freight but that's not all their freight, and if you get the liver on their junk freight and then you can have a conversation about hey, I know that you guys have more stuff going out than just this, and you can open up the door with conversation that way.

Speaker 1: 41:52

but you don't have to do it that way. That's just one way that a lot of folks will do it. I'll just I will caution you don't get in the habit of. All I'm going to ever do forever is deal off of jump all freight or load list Yep, because you won't get anywhere. It's not relationship driven at all. They know, that's the price driven stuff. That lumber can sit there.

Speaker 2: 42:13

But here's what it gets there.

Speaker 1: 42:14

It's there as long as it takes until they got a truck at $800.

Speaker 2: 42:19

Those reps. Give me, man, такие jackass, jaировmaker, I already know that you're killing me, what ain't you together as well? Those reps, though, to your point, give me the opportunity to have more conversations and to get better at it and to build more rapport and trust, to get access to the more profitable freight that's higher risk that they're not going to give to somebody they don't trust. That's the path to it, right to your point. It's funny you're saying this because I was thinking about this this morning.

Speaker 2: 42:40

My son just went on a ski trip First time. He went skiing and I asked him how it went. He was up in Vermont and he's like I'm very sore. I fell a lot. That's mostly what I did, but it was a good time. We were talking about learning skiing, and I skied my whole life and I've had huge accidents, like two ruptured spleens, concussions, skiing, but it was my favorite thing to do. Here's what. The point that I was making while I'm tying this in was it kind of hit me was to get good at skiing is exactly like getting good at riding a bike or getting good at making cold calls. You've got to go through either pain or discomfort and do lots of reps and just keep getting back up until it gets easier.

Speaker 1: 43:22

Think about someone that works out and hasn't like they don't do legs or they don't do abs and all of a sudden they introduce it, like you're dead for two days, three days afterward.

Speaker 2: 43:31

I was just thinking about it more and it's just like and I know it seems like cliche, but it's like there is no path around that discomfort and pain. By the way, I spent the first probably two months prospecting when I got into logistics, trying to find the easier path. In my head, I was convinced and that I was going to be able to use my background and analysis to figure out companies and what they shipped, to be able to make less calls, to get more deals and to make more money without that effort and discomfort, or at least minimize it. That was my hope. I spent so much time outside of work at night looking up companies and trying to figure this out and trying to solve this puzzle. At the end of the day, my manager just sat me down and he was like listen, do you trust me I go? Yes, he goes. The effort's there. You're literally beating yourself up to get there. You're just only abusing yourself and not moving in the direction that I think you could. He goes. If you trust me, pick one category and just move in that direction until I tell you to stop. He goes. Do you trust me I go? Oh, yeah, he goes. Okay, do that Literally, just by moving and stopping thinking, it did what we're talking about.

Speaker 2: 44:40

I just put the reps in Stop thinking, make the phone calls get better at the conversations and logistics, understanding objections, and it's uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable for everybody. At that point I wasn't new to sales. I had probably made tens of thousands of sales calls to that point. It was just a new industry and I wasn't sure what they were going to say. There's fear and are they going to ask me a question? I don't know and I'm going to feel like an idiot and all the things that everyone out there feels every time they pick up a call.

Speaker 2: 45:06

What I learned was I wasn't really justifying that I was going to find an easier way. That was never true. I was just lying to myself and the truth was I was avoiding the scary thing of just running in the direction and going through, like your point, the gauntlet, taking the punches, taking them. They are what they are. You learn to dodge them and then eventually you stop getting hit and then you see where they're coming from. Again, I know it's prospecting and this seems like we're making this really big analogy with physical pain, but it's the same. The emotional pain is no different than physical. That's why I'm using the analogy. That was kind of why it hit me. I'm like I spent the first 10 years of my life beating myself up to get better at skiing because that was important to me. Then I spent 10 years beating myself up to make money because that was important to me, until I got good enough at it that I could do it without thinking.

Speaker 2: 45:56

I don't know anybody that is ever getting customers or ever building a book of business in any industry that can avoid that. That's the path. What's easier is, rather than me doing the scary thing of interrupting you and asking you for something which is we're all trained not to do from when we're little kids, I'm going to do what I'm trained to do, what I've been practicing my whole life. I just got to get you to be friends with me. Talk to you like I would talk to anybody else that someone introduced me to.

Speaker 2: 46:19

You're not going to ask that person to go out to dinner with you or go on a date the first time you meet them. You just got to build a little rapport, talk to them a little bit. You don't ask the first girl you met to marry. Right, it's a progress. It's the same way you're building relationships with the prospect. It's no different than meeting people in high school, college, at a new job or anywhere else you've ever been in your life. It's a trickery. You can't jump from here to there just because you want the money faster and you want loads to move. You can't skip that step.

Speaker 1: 46:47

There are no shortcuts. I guess the only caveat to the shortcut is if you just happen to be related to somebody that controls some freight or you have friends that control freight, and that's a whole another.

Speaker 2: 46:58

The hate cameras.

Speaker 1: 46:59

But hey, that's your referral business once you're seasoned.

Speaker 2: 47:03

For sure.

Speaker 1: 47:03

Yep, Good stuff, man. Anything else you want to wrap up with? On prospecting, that was a pretty good way to talk through the first steps of it. I think some of the big takeaways here is prospecting is something that should always be done as part of a business routine for you as a freight broker. Yep, Another thing you mentioned the amount of good conversations it's going to take you to have with somebody. You said eight, and I know we've often thrown the stats out there eight to 12.

Speaker 1: 47:33

If you call somebody you don't get through it. It doesn't count. It doesn't count because if you call the wrong number eight times and you're like I'm not getting freight, that's not a legitimate prospecting call. It doesn't count. You should be looking for a different phone number or a different avenue to do that. Using your CRM, make sure that you are tagging them or categorizing your leads in a certain way that identifies where they are in your sales funnel and their qualification levels. We didn't get too deep into qualification, but we can do that on a separate episode. There's a lot to talk about there. Make sure you're talking to the right person. Make sure they have the right volume of freight. The way that you approach the conversation. Don't go into it sounding like you need something or you want something out of them.

Speaker 2: 48:22

Go into the conversation, Give value before you're ever going to try to take it. What's that? Give value before you ever try to take it?

Speaker 1: 48:31

Go into it. I always love to treat a call like that as like I'm trying to learn because I'm super curious and I'm passionate about it Exactly. Usually, when they're like, oh, somebody wants to hear about this boring job that I have where I'm working with heat exchangers, it's like I want to learn about that Exactly, it's pretty cool. Then, once you build that rapport and you talk about the reason why you're calling, like hey, your case was drivers have asked you to reach out because they end up empty there all the time. It's really close. Yeah, those are great takeaways. It's consistency. Don't give up too early. I think driving home the point of the amount of conversations that you have to have on average, that eight is an average.

Speaker 1: 49:16

I will tell you, we had it did a cold calling session with a guy late last year. We talked to a farm or like a grower of a certain produce commodity and they literally in that first call, were like one call close. It wasn't a one call close, but it was a. He had something coming up later that week and wanted us to get pricing on it, which you could call that a one call close if you want, but the reality was we were. I would consider that you're at another like your lead status at that point is not they're a customer. I'm I'm at the close to closing stage where I'm I'm getting an opportunity to learn about real loads and I'm getting an opportunity to talk about pricing and securing drivers and things like that.

Speaker 2: 50:02

And that we'll talk about more right. That's the difference between an inactive customer and an active customer Just because I'm onboarded does not mean you're active with me and does not mean we're doing business. That means we have the ability to do business, which is your first hurdle, is not the final hurdle. Yeah, I think we should do another episode too on exactly you said qualifying and what the rest of the process looks like and like where you take it from here, because the other big questions we're getting a lot and I think this would be a good episode is like okay, well, the first load they're also going to give you is going to be priced probably below the carrier.

Speaker 1: 50:37

How would it work?

Speaker 2: 50:38

Yeah, and like how do you work through this and how do you get through that hurdle? So I think we'll do those as follow up episodes. I think they'll be really good for this one. But the other big takeaway is the activity and your funnel. You need to race to have as many people know you as you can first right, that's your first step. It is not to get loads, it is not to get active customers, it's to get people to know you.

Speaker 1: 50:58

Yeah, I want to add one thing in If you truly have something so unique about your offering and I'll give you a couple of examples you can open that up to your customer or to the prospect early on. So, for example, let's say one of your customers I'm saying one of your carriers operates temperature controlled box truck right and runs to where your customer is.

Speaker 1: 51:27

Refrigerated LTL is such a niche market that a lot of people have a tough time getting a pass before. So if you have a unique equipment type tanker, end dumps, hoppers, and they're looking for more business, those are niche markets, right. The same thing goes with white glove type of stuff.

Speaker 2: 51:52

Hazmat very difficult. Has loads that are like.

Speaker 1: 51:56

You can let them know right in the beginning of that conversation. I have I'm not going to say I have trucks in the area, but I've got available Specialized Capacity I have availability, yeah, with some high class hazmat stuff.

Speaker 2: 52:10

I don't know if you guys do explosives, but we can. We can assist with that. If that's something you need, just throwing that out there.

Speaker 1: 52:15

That's a whole other qualifier. You might find out that what they have is not a fit for that, but that's a different type of sale. If you're just generically calling a customer or a prospect, it's a very different sales call from I'm calling a very niche market for a niche reason and I have a solution for them, in which case you typically want to embed that a little bit early on in the conversation. But that's a great start. To talk about prospect, we'll definitely revisit it. It's one of the most common topics that we talk about and it's going to continue to change. We've got some. Really. We got a great question we're going to answer on next Tuesday's the final mile about market shifts and how to adjust the way that you operate and sell during certain types of market shifts. Great discussion, great episode. I enjoyed it. Yeah, maybe we'll have a part two or I'm sure we're going to have more content related to this.

Speaker 2: 53:05

Okay, let's have a part two, next episode. That's a question, yep.

Speaker 1: 53:07

Final thoughts Ben.

Speaker 2: 53:09

Whether you believe you can or believe you can't, you're right.

Speaker 1: 53:12

And until next time go bills.

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Freight 360
Freight 360

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