Keys to Building a Successful Freight Brokerage | Episode 247

Freight 360

June 7, 2024

Can you imagine launching a successful freight brokerage from scratch? This episode of Freight 360 is your ultimate guide, packed with actionable insights on everything from securing your first customers to building rock-solid relationships with carriers.

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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:19

Welcome back for another episode of the Freight360 podcast. This is episode 247. Make sure you hit the subscribe button, comment on YouTube, share us with your friends, colleagues, anybody that may want to consume our content, and you can go to get our full back catalog. Is that what they call it, right, ben?

Speaker 1: 0:43

Back catalog of all of our episodes content and you'll see the Freight Broker Basics course. That's our educational package to. We're going to talk a little bit today about some of the behind the scenes of starting a brokerage. This will be your playbook for how to build your brokerage from scratch and obtain new customers, build those relationships, carriers, et cetera, and even higher, and we're going to talk about a lot of that today in our discussion and our episode. But make sure to check that out at our website. All right, Ben, what you got? What do you got going on? How's that June? It's June. Now we're officially hitting the summer months.

Speaker 2: 1:24

We are, things are going really well. Ava's birthday party Well, it was her birthday Monday, so we got her birthday party coming up Saturday.

Speaker 1: 1:31

That I'm super excited for oh yeah, Happy belated birthday.

Speaker 2: 1:34

Yeah, and it's I don't know Five. It's just awesome at that age, like when they turn four and five, like around there, like it's still so new a birthday that they're so excited right. Like it's up there with christmas and then some and everything is just fun to do. So like even just us making arts and crafts and you know, making a birthday card, for was like her favorite thing to do all week. So just having some of those little things, how's your littlest one doing, by the way?

Speaker 1: 2:00

she's good man. Um, every day is different, trying to figure out sleep and all that. But uh, it's, it's, you know, it's wild. There's like, uh, I get way more sleep than my wife and I'm still tired, and I'm like not allowed to tell her that I'm tired because it's not even on the same level. Um, but yeah, all good, just trying, I will tell you this in hindsight, thinking about you and you're having your kid.

Speaker 2: 2:24

I was thinking back to when Ava was that little and I was thinking and it was like things that I made that were like mistakes where something happened. And I realize now like how tired I was during that period Right, like I remember like I hung something on the wall and like I just missed the screw in the anchor and then the screw just went the dry. One like fell down later and it was just I was thinking about I'm like I've done that thousands of times in my life, like that's never happened. And there was like three or four other little things and I'm like, oh yeah, that was the first two, three months that we had Ava like nobody slept and I'm like no wonder, like I had little to no focus in some of the other things and and that was also my first one Like you got some practice under your belt going into your third For sure.

Speaker 1: 3:08

Well, hang on one second Classic dog barking, all right. Well, we got anything on sports.

Speaker 2: 3:17

I got nothing really. I mean, pirates won last night, but I couldn't go into too much beyond that, even to who pitched. I was just kind of.

Speaker 1: 3:25

I got something. So this is hockey and everyone knows I'm a Bills fan so I'm going to relate hockey to the Buffalo Bills. So it's the Stanley Cup Finals and you've got the Florida Panthers and the Edmonton Oilers and they were interviewing I think they were interviewing the coach of the Oilers. And they were interviewing I think they were interviewing the coach of the Oilers and they're like you know, what does a championship experience mean for a team going in? Because they're playing against Florida and Florida was in the Stanley Cup last year. So the coach is like do you think that Stanley Cup experience is going to be meaningful for them playing against you? And the coach goes why don't you ask the Buffalo Bills what Super Bowl experience means, how many times they lost in a row? And I was like all right, I guess we're all rooting for Florida now. Well said, but that's all I got for sports. I thought that was kind of comical News. Okay, is it this week that Ken ademo is doing his little friendly debate with sonar strickland?

Speaker 2: 4:30

yep, guy right it happened yesterday actually it was yesterday, yeah okay, freight caviar at least announced the winner. Um, what did he say? Well, that ken won. Um, it looked like what the take was, but I haven't listened to the whole thing. I'm absolutely going to go back and listen oh, I definitely need to listen to it.

Speaker 1: 4:48

I didn't know it was our, it was done already. I thought. I don't know why. I thought it was going to be today, which is a wednesday when we record, but, um, anyway, the baltimore bridge, everything. So they got the. The ship is back to the uh port. It left from full traffic, supposed to be open I think june 10th. We had it in our newsletter earlier this week.

Speaker 2: 5:13

Um, but good stuff you know what else I was gonna start. Oh god, what I was gonna. If you were good, finish what you were saying.

Speaker 1: 5:20

I was gonna no, it's going on a different thing.

Speaker 2: 5:22

TIA related. Okay, what I was just going to add is like I was going to spend just a minute or two maybe in the beginning to just reference whatever else I was reading that I think is applicable to anyone out there, Because people email us, ask us books, resources outside of this, and this is a book I think I sent to you Super Communicators, Charles Duhigg yeah, I read it.

Speaker 1: 5:43

Do you understand that at all, Based on your recommendation? Great book man.

Speaker 2: 5:46

Fantastic book.

Speaker 2: 5:47

So if anyone out there looking to improve your communication skills and I mean this goes far beyond sales this is well.

Speaker 2: 5:55

It's directly applicable to getting customers and making money, for sure, but even beyond that, like communication with family, friends, coworkers, staff employees, your children, Like it really helps. I think it helped me understand really the framework of why and when communication actually does occur and why it can't, and there's very common reasons why it doesn't actually happen, and there's lots of really good tips and ways that you can kind of practice getting better at this every day, Because at the end of the day, I mean, this is how everything happens in life our ability to communicate through words, and I think the piece that's most often overlooked is the listening side. So, anyway, anyone looking for more on that, I did a short YouTube video I can't remember if it was the one that released last week or will it'll be releasing in the next couple of days that has one of these techniques outlined and just some good content for anyone that's looking outside, or more material to improve and just get better at things.

Speaker 1: 6:56

You know it's funny, as I went to uh, I went to my like annual physical for my doctor the other day and was like I thought to myself. I was like you know what I'm gonna take this as an opportunity to like just be super outgoing and talkative to everybody new that I've never met, right, and because there's always a new nurse or something, right, doctor usually stays the same but I go on there from the person that checked me in, the person that did my um, like height and weight, the person that was training, the new person in the one room, just super friendly, talkative, and I think those are ways to really work on and develop the muscle of how do I cold call a stranger. Well, it all starts with talking to the stranger at the doctor's office or the grocery store or the coffee shop and that book to basically persuade an audience or really get the results that they want.

Speaker 2: 8:14

And the reality is too. There's a great post that I saw the other day and then I heard it referenced again somewhere else, but the author, kurt Vonnegut. It's like a short little essay or letter, but it shows up on posts and Facebook and other places but he talks about exactly what you just said. He talks about the process of going to buy an envelope and I think his wife makes fun of him. Like you could just buy a box, why do you waste the time? Why are you doing any of this? Like this is ridiculous. And he writes this like short essay on like no, like you don't get it.

Speaker 2: 8:44

It's the process of buying the envelope. That is life like meeting the person, the woman on the way to get the envelope, talking to the clerk at the store, having a discussion with the kid that was outside that door. He's like this is where life happens. Everybody's so worried or nervous or anxious about what they have to do that they're literally missing.

Speaker 2: 9:01

Living in the present and all of the things that you do and connecting with people along the way, right, and again, I think it ties a lot into what you're saying, like connecting and talking to these people when you're doing these things right, like one. It is practice for sure for the job. But also like if you look at it from a different point of view and you don't look at it as a task you have to get done that you're frustrated with and you even reframe it in your head before you do it, those things become more enjoyable. Like your feelings right, and emotions are almost always based on whatever you believe is going to happen before you even do the thing. And if you just change your reference, just like you did go into the doctor's office, I mean, tell me, was it more enjoyable than when you felt like you needed to rush back to work and didn't want to do it in the first place?

Speaker 1: 9:46

Yeah it was. It went by faster. It was enjoyable. Everything from the when I scheduled my appointment for next year like was just good right. Happy smiles on everyone's faces.

Speaker 2: 9:57

I think that's a good takeaway too. Right, because that can be done with prospecting. Right, the episode isn't in prospecting, but that's the mindset I try to get in when I'm going to work. I'm like I get to go talk to a lot of people I like to talk to. I get to learn a little bit about their day, how they're doing, we get work done, we accomplish things. But I try to not create all of this tension and overwhelming worry and anxiety about getting the things done and try to enjoy the process, because you're often far more effective when you don't put the stress on yourself before doing it anyway. Right, who performs better under stress? Right, like I mean, you don't need to make it that hard.

Speaker 1: 10:34

You're right, so I know that kind of was a segue in there but all good.

Speaker 1: 10:42

I wanted to make one last mention. In the news and stuff like that it's not really news, but TIA Policy Forum is about three and a half months away, in September in DC. It'll be my third year attending it. I encourage anybody out there who's never been. It's a great chance to go and lobby on behalf of our industry. The points of discussion this year are pretty much the same as last year Rate transparency, the independent contractor, the whole AB5 thing, fraud. Those are your big same stuff as last year because because it's really it's been the center.

Speaker 2: 11:25

But there's some changes. I mean the FMCSA has now hired more people. They've been funded better. They should be doing more safety ratings on the carrier side to catch up with those things. They're doing more for fraud prevention on the FMCSA, like database side. So I'm really anxious to hear what we learn from this and what some of these things look like a year later. For sure, for sure.

Speaker 1: 11:47

Well, cool man. Today's episode we are going to dig into what it is like not necessarily what it's like, but building a brokerage right and some of the considerations that people often don't think about, because you could be. Chances are, if you're listening to this, you either have or have considered building your own brokerage right. Maybe you're an employee or you're an agent, or you've already done it or you're in the process of doing it right now. Building your own brokerage.

Speaker 2: 13:27

Or you've done it and you're scaling to the next side. Maybe you've gotten to 10 or 15 million and you've got a team of six, eight people and you want to hit 20, 25 and you've got to double that. Like that is a different type of business. So, like, no matter where you are, this should be applicable.

Speaker 1: 13:40

For sure. So what we're not going to talk about today is you know the legitimate steps using the unified registration system and FMCSA right. So this is assuming you got your authority CSA right. So this is assuming you got your authority, you did your. You know BST three, sure to bond um application, et cetera. Okay, we're talking about the behind the scenes. What, what's going on here, and I will tell you I have um. I've never built one from scratch, like you have helped with numerous times Um, but I have helped get over the hump to the next level. I've seen the last company I was with. We went from like 40 million to like 250 million and that's a very, very different type of growth.

Speaker 2: 14:26

That's like three different companies From where you started. 50 is different than 100. 100 is completely different than probably 150 and 150 is very different than 200, subjectively speaking, depending on how you're structured, but typically there's huge growing pains getting 25 to 50, and then 50 to 100 are very different, and then out of wild and we're going to talk about the, the personnel side of it.

Speaker 1: 14:49

But, like, when you grow, I mean the hiring part is it's inevitable, like you can't grow without the hiring. And then you're like, well, what are these jobs that we've never had a title for before and what is this? Who can do what? Like, and we'll, we'll get there right, but it blows my mind. Whereas, um, you know, company I'm with now appears for a while logistics I've been, I've been here for about, uh, four years and love it, super happy, uh, but basically came in and changed the business model from, you know, it was primarily W2, with a handful of agents, and we're like, hey, you know, let's really build this out, create a sales team of agents and expand our growth and set up all these different options, things that we didn't have before for services, whether it's intermodal, ltl, expedite and going through that.

Speaker 1: 15:43

The first year, two years, was a lot of learning, a lot of things that I never saw before, and to this day we're still continuing to grow and do new things and see new challenges. So, for sure, your side I mean you have seen it literally from day one right, yes, getting the authority. There's no customers like we're starting from scratch, um.

Speaker 2: 16:06

So I mean, I you know we kind of set the scene there, yep, so we'll take it up right from there yeah, yeah, so with this is going on currently, right, so with one of the clients we're working with, um, we were setting up the back end, right, and I'm I'm in a more call it like intensive role than normally, like coaching. So like I'm really more involved with this organization I'll talk about it a little bit later but so like I'm literally doing this as well, right, and I'll tell you, the thing, even in the first month of doing this was like a month or two ago, right, like, just setting up the phone lines it will take to do something, and we overestimate our ability. And when you take both of those into it, that means we think it's going to take less time and we're going to get it done faster. My favorite example to prove this is if you ask somebody that is like, call it, like consistently late at wherever they go for themselves, right, like, and the great example is like what they usually account for is they go, oh well, to leave my house and to drive there takes 15 minutes. I know it takes 15 minutes to drive there and then they go, they plan for it and they leave their house 15 minutes before they're supposed to be there and they're late, and it's for usually two reasons. They overlook the time it takes to literally get ready in their house, to walk out the door and walk to their car, which might take five, six minutes. So right there, there's 30% more unaccounted for. Now they're already six minutes late from where they're supposed to be.

Speaker 2: 17:42

The other is they don't account for the unintended errors, mistakes or problems that almost always show up Traffic, red light, accident, weather, any of those things Anyone in transportation is familiar with all of them. That's why I kind of picked this example. So you get somebody right, that will go. Oh, they get so frustrated, they blame traffic, they yell at everybody else, but they don't stop to think about, like, how they actually planned for this in the first place. And the reality is they were responsible. They're responsible because they only gave themselves 15 minutes for what should have taken 21. And they also didn't account for the margin of error, which would have been another 10 minutes, right. If they would have left 25 minutes early, or plan to leave 30 minutes early, they would be on time, right.

Speaker 2: 18:23

But we all do this in some degree or another. Whether it's putting together a tech stack, like I'll explain a phone system, or whatever it, always something is going to inevitably happen that will create some issue you didn't see, and even going smoothly through it will usually take longer than you expect. So the one I wanted to just start with was literally the basics and foundation of a logistics company, and the one thing you need in a phone system for a logistics company are two things the ability to have lots of inbound calls that don't go to voicemail, because you should be answering Basically, if you've got a company, someone should be able to answer that phone during business hours. If you're on the phone, you should either be able to answer it and put them on hold or transfer them to another team member, so that you have seamless service right I have.

Speaker 1: 19:08

I have five. It looks like I have five hold lines on my phone right here, so six total 10 is like common right Five or 10.

Speaker 2: 19:18

So here's what I found out. I wanted to use HubSpot. We talk about it a lot. They have a great what they call like conversational intelligence package in their sales seats now, which means basically anytime I call a prospect, not only is it recorded automatically, it will also transcribe it, meaning like if I make a prospecting call, it records the call. The transcription gets loaded in their contact card and then a summary or the notes, so I can still type my notes. But that means anything that happens in our system is recorded and saved.

Speaker 2: 19:50

Now it's really valuable for prospecting to help you know what you've been saying, to not miss things. But also even just in a load situation, customer calls you, maybe you're out of the office, you grab it on your cell phone, they read you it, you write it down and you want to just check before maybe you book the load. So now, instead of me having to email and call them back, I can just look at the recording, see exactly what they said. Make sure I got the details right. Maybe confirm it. That's important. The exactly what they said. Make sure I got the details right. Maybe confirm it. That's important. The other is a carrier. Carrier says they can do something, but then they show up with a different piece of equipment and you swore you said this over the phone three times. They say you didn't. They want a truck order not used. If you've got that recording, you now have the protection of we know what we said. We can now show you. This prevents a lot of issues down the road, right.

Speaker 1: 20:36

Precisely and in theory, and the concept of it sounds great and I've used tools like this in the past, but so clearly there's a there's a takeaway here.

Speaker 2: 20:45

Here's the issue, right? The issue is that, like HubSpot says and they have a list of literally like one hundred and ten phone companies that are supposed to be integrated with their product where you also the important thing is, when you're going through a lead list, you can just hit, click to dial, so you save a lot of time in between phone calls, literally even just dialing the phone. Right, and all of that is there. Hubspot will even give you a phone number so that you don't even need to integrate another phone. Here's where the unintended issues that I had to deal with were. One is the HubSpot phone will work for outbound calls but not inbound calls. So if a customer calls me, that doesn't get recorded. So all of a sudden, that doesn't help me whatsoever. Kind of sounds pointless, doesn't it? Yes, now they're getting to it, but don't have it yet. So now go to the second thing. Okay, create a shortlist. And where did I start?

Speaker 2: 21:33

I went to HubSpot and I said who are the handful of providers you have that have these service integrated with yours? They give me a shortlist. Okay, I called all five of them. All five of them said and this is the kicker they can handle outbound. They've got tons of features for outbound. You can have an auto dialer, you can do all these cool things. But guess what they don't have? They don't have the ability to have a hold line for inbound calls. So literally every call either goes to a voicemail or it just goes to one person and then will ring in inevitably. It just keeps ringing, right.

Speaker 1: 22:13

So I have two thoughts here. Ringing inevitably just keeps ringing, right it? So I have two thoughts here, um, the first one I want to say is like it blows my mind, because whenever you call like any major customer service line and you're the inbound one calling them, it's like this call may be recorded for quality assurance, right? Number two is, let me ask you this, and this is more of a um for the listeners, right why, or can I, if it's just me, can I just use my cell phone until I'm ready for a phone system?

Speaker 2: 22:41

And you can right, and that's the thing Like. In fact, what we were going to do is use the apps on the phone for the second phone number, like RingCentral will give you an app on your phone so you can use your cell phone. Now the problem was RingCentral also couldn't give me hold lines to hold calls and to move them back and forth the way they said they could.

Speaker 1: 22:59

Oh, you can't do that. Oh, you probably need to have the desk phone plugged in.

Speaker 2: 23:03

Well, I had the desk phone and here was the other issue. The desk phone that Ring gave me, they said they could not. It's called provisioning a phone number to the desk phone. They couldn't provision more than one phone number to it. So I went through RingCentral for almost a year trying to do it with my other businesses and they're like, yeah, we'll give you more phone lines, but we can't really give you the ability to manage that side. So, regardless, tech support ours with RingCentral. They said they can do it. But when you go to use it like it just didn't work the way they said. So then all of the other providers don't have the inbound side right. So then we found one that said they could and then we connected it. They sent me a phone. It's sitting here. I connected it, I did the integration to HubSpot, but none of the features we paid for in HubSpot functioned.

Speaker 1: 23:52

And get this. Yeah, I've had that same experience where, like the phone system itself, we could have internal recordings of outbound and inbound, but if I called from HubSpot, it would only handle the outbound and nothing on the inbound.

Speaker 2: 24:05

Now, here's the issue If I got to find a call that happened because of a load issue and I want to see what a carrier said, or even a shipper said, to make sure we understood what happened and maybe where the error was you'd have to search through all of the times and dates of every phone call made by every user and then find that. And you could, but it is incredibly more work to do it that way than have it in one place, right Well?

Speaker 1: 24:27

yeah, it's funny because I remember having a call once that I was like I wanted to share this with the boss, and I probably have shared this on the show before. But one of the things my old boss used to do was every morning to our team he would send out the call log to everyone on the team so you could see like how many calls and the total talk time that each person had. It was like a very passive, aggressive thing in my mind, but it kept everyone accountable.

Speaker 2: 24:54

But I was like I know the thing in my mind but it kept everyone accountable.

Speaker 1: 24:56

But I like that. I was like. I know the call was around one o'clock. It had to be this one right here.

Speaker 2: 25:05

That was, you know, 13 minutes long, or?

Speaker 1: 25:06

three and a half minutes, whatever, but yes. So here's the final kicker.

Speaker 2: 25:09

When you just want to be able to go right to CRM and like boom. And the final kicker was the salespeople at every one of those companies said they were doable because technically they were integrated with HubSpot. And the salespeople didn't know which integrations they were was marketing and which were functional. So they just didn't know. And then, when you get to the second level of support, I found the same thing. So I had to go to like the third levels of support management and all of these companies to just get a clear answer as to what they could and couldn't do, because you can't find any of this elsewhere. And then the kicker at the end was it is doable with the one we have, but there's a third product you need and that's an integrator product that they give you but you technically pay for. And then I had to go to them to get the integration details and on top of that they needed to create a support ticket, which took a week later. My point in all of this is-.

Speaker 1: 27:14

Let's get to the point, and I got a couple of comments on it too.

Speaker 2: 27:16

That's it. Like. The point is that, like, even though these things and maybe advertise and you might talk to a sales rep, like they might not know exactly the backend, so these are all things that, like you would not know could take you longer and they took significantly longer than they ever should have, but there's not really much you can do about it. And this is just an example because, like, you could run into this with a TMS to integrate it with a factoring company. You could run into this where we had this too, like the TMS we got.

Speaker 2: 27:44

I really like that. We're using Thai and they have an integration with a factoring company, but as a startup they've got a minimum amount of loads we've got to be putting through and factoring in order for them to do the integration. So now we've got to move that down the roadmap and that took a few phone calls to get to that answer. And like, when you add all this up, like it is not the few hours on a Tuesday, you think to set this up a few hours on a Wednesday to do this, like it very well could take you a few weeks just getting responses from the companies to just get them together so that they all function.

Speaker 1: 28:16

So email is a whole, nother one. I don't want to go down a rabbit hole.

Speaker 2: 28:21

Not going to go down the rabbit hole, but I have the exact same issues because some of the providers will connect with a calendar to Microsoft but not to Google, and some will give you functionality here and not here.

Speaker 1: 28:33

We dealt with that. You and I dealt with that when we first started Freight360 and we turned it from a fun podcast to an actual company. We're like, all right, we had this bootstrapped website and email thing that your son helped set up. And then we're like, let's go with a real provider. And I remember for the longest time. And now I'm going down the rabbit hole and I won't, but like I couldn't get my calendar on my phone and like send invitations to people, but anyway.

Speaker 1: 28:56

So here's my takeaways on the tech. Part of it is number one, and I brought this up a little bit ago. You can start with the basics. It was just you, but I what I want, and you can bootstrap Right.

Speaker 1: 29:14

The way that I've always done things is let me add things as I find a need for them, versus like fail to start because I don't have a million things in place. Right, so you can start. And we always say, like, do something right, just start moving in the right direction and then fill in the and the gaps as you go. But things to keep in mind when you when it's not just you and you've got other people accountable, you might be able to handle the little extra steps you've got to take. But when you're starting to hire team members or you've got a manager or someone who came from another company, who's used to have an X, y and Z, you've got to have clear expectations. Correct, and don't try to overhire before you're ready. Imagine if you get to a point where you're going to be fielding hundreds of calls per hour and you don't. You got three dudes working on cell phones. Like, it's not going to work. It will not work. You need a phone system with a mainline, extensions, et cetera. But you can get there over time, correct.

Speaker 2: 30:05

And that is the tie-in and the message that I want, or the takeaway. I think that is important, right Is that, like everybody's in a different stage of this, for sure you could do this and I've done this in an afternoon where I can get a send set up, I can get a phone number set up to use to my cell phone and I can use and set up an email, and all three of those will work and I could be literally moving freight the next day. Now, in other scenarios, you might be in a business that you are and I have clients like this that are using some version of that and they're doing five, $10 million a year and that can work to a point right. But when you get to maybe the 15 or 20 million, like to your point, people need to communicate differently, people have different responsibilities and they need to be able to function in a way that is different than when you are one person or just two or three.

Speaker 2: 30:54

And I thought this was a really good example and the reason we did it this way for this particular brokerage is because it's got financial backing, they've got customers lined up, they've got relationships and there's a longer term goal with a financial commitment to get there, meaning like we're going to hire people immediately already are, so the infrastructure needed to be there sooner than maybe an agent or one person building a brokerage themselves. But the point holds true again because even if you're that four or five person agency or brokerage and you want to get from 15 million to 25 million, these are the things that you want to start looking at because, like they are very important efficiencies your organization gets where. Sure, you can do it without it, but you're going to spend dozens of hours a month amongst everybody wasted and redundant communication, sending things back and forth over and over again, instead of having them in an organized way where everybody can communicate fluidly.

Speaker 1: 31:49

So I'll. Here's's my like. My final tech tip takeaway Right and this is something that I personally do, and I did this over the last four years as I've helped on the growth side with Pierce is there's always new technology. There's always something you're not using that your competitors might be using. So the big two takeaways I have is if you can have two people doing this, great, but at least one.

Speaker 1: 32:15

Someone's got to have their finger on the pulse of what's going on out there, what's available, what it could mean for you as a company right now, a year from now, five years from now, etc. So you need to know what's out there, take demos periodically. But the reason I say the redundancy with the second person or even a third is people leave, people get promoted, people forget things. And my second takeaway and I've done this since literally day one when I started with Pierce is I have a spreadsheet of every vendor that we have set up, what the login is for it, what the password is for it, and we share that amongst the appropriate people because if there's there comes a time and it could be like, hey, we're not using this tool right now, but we did set it up three years ago. Um, the account's not active, but if you want to reactivate it, here's the login. Did you ever go to like create an account and it's like, oh yeah, your company already has an account. Well, who has the login password?

Speaker 2: 33:07

jimmy's been gone for a year and a half yeah, it's, it's like.

Speaker 1: 33:10

So just like I know this sounds so basic, it happens. It's so important to like have, like just to be organized with what you have Like think about the basics like the TMS, the CRM, the, you know, literally like the stuff I have. I should just pull mine up right now no, I won't waste the time but like like load boards, hiring Every website you use, anything you've got to log in for that company that it uses should be saved in one place.

Speaker 2: 33:40

And the last point that I would make just as a tip that like, because I try to learn every day and learn from my mistakes and what I can get better at, and my biggest learning experience in all of that was, first of all, most of the support departments.

Speaker 2: 33:56

I was able to find the answer faster than them by using chat, gpt, which didn't mean I didn't need them, but it meant I could be in line with what we were looking at.

Speaker 2: 34:03

But the second thing is, if you are putting together a tech package or looking at a new suite of tech, meaning you're growing and you want to update these things, I think you should write down, make sure you've got a list of what you have, make a list of what you want, why, the features of what you want and what you want to use, and then, rather than calling the salespeople, call the support department of every one of those companies and say this is what we're currently using, this is what we want to use, these are the other products, these are the other features we need access to. Do you guys have integrations? Does that matter, because your salespeople will tell you completely different than the support people, and then you at least will have some of these answers before you go and sign up and then find out it doesn't work and then cancel it. It'll save you a lot of unintended consequences and headaches.

Speaker 1: 34:52

My last thing I'll say is, if you can, the best of both worlds there is if a company has a sales engineer who, like they're, they're kind of the middleman between like, they understand they can talk the talk of the tech side, but they can also give you the customer experience, cause you people have. We've all talked to the salesperson who, like it, can tell you, make me, make you feel great, but they don't follow through on what they promised you, correct? We've all talked to the tech guy or gal who you just know that they're really good at what they do, right, which is developing software and technology solutions, but they're not the best at the communication side and the customer experience. Sales engineers are great. They're not the best at the communication side and the customer experience. Sales engineers are great where they're like they're that interface between both sides and they can understand what your situation is, explain a solution to you from your point of view. Not every company has that. Usually when they scale out, they'll have a sales engineer. But stay up to date on this stuff.

Speaker 1: 35:54

Like the to give you more context, like in the um, trying to think back to like when I started with pierce that like headcount total, total users was probably like 30, 35 maybe we're, and then we're like at probably 100 now. Um, we have since then, um, we've switched um it providers. That's a whole another discussion, right, someone else, if you're going to outsource it or have someone in-house um, we have switched phone systems. We have switched um tms models. We have switched um. Well, we think about, like dat rolled out, that one like so like even your vendors will have evolutions, like this stuff is ever-changing. Ai came out, so now we've got all these new AI companies that are out there. Just so much, and if you don't have your finger on the pulse, you're going to be way behind. So that's my take on the tech side of things.

Speaker 2: 36:45

Now we go from tech, let's segue into hiring right, the other fundamental need for a company that is growing, sometimes starting. But like you're moving in that direction and you want to hire right and we can, we'll go from like we'll look at both sides of the fence and we'll start with, like, the sales side, right. So I would say the first thing that you want to think about when you want to hire more salespeople is why do you want to hire them? And like, what is the reason? Right, and almost everyone says it's growth. Well, we want more customers. And when you ask them more questions, what they really want is they want to either replicate their top salesperson, right and the other thing is they just want more business without and this is important, Pete without risking the money of hiring the person that won't fit or work or produce right, Like that's the other side of hiring.

Speaker 2: 37:40

Hey, if I hire one person and they don't work, like, there's a huge cost to that. It'll take you probably two, three months to figure out and to find out they're not a fit. You paid them three months of salary and all the hours and interviews you spent before you brought them on, including training them to get into your company all for nothing, Like. That's the downside when you don't get the right fit. The upside is you end up with a killer, and sometimes they can help fund the next person, Right, and the next two or three people, depending on how that plays out. Right? So there's a lot to gain and a lot to lose in this process, Right? So there's a lot to gain and a lot to lose in this process, right.

Speaker 2: 38:13

But you and I talked about it like right before. Like I think the wrong way to go about it is to or at least this doesn't tend to work out. Well is okay, I've been doing really well, I've prospected, I've got a book of business. I just want to hire the next me that I can give a phone to and these tools to, and then they're going to work from home and then just start bringing me customers. And then we keep 75%, they get 25%, all's right in the world, we're making more money and they're happy, right, Like why does that typically not work, do you think?

Speaker 1: 38:45

Um, I was. While you're asking that question, I was looking up a book I wanted to mention, so restate your question to me.

Speaker 2: 38:51

Okay. So when the person tries to just hire themselves like I just want another person like me, right, Like what typically ends up being an issue or can be an issue in that Okay, so I thought that's what you're asking.

Speaker 1: 39:04

I just didn't want to sound like an idiot answer the wrong question. So I have a few thoughts. I've done this before and I think number one is every person is different and the way that I see myself is oftentimes very different than how other people see me. Right, they haven't they see, they see everything through a different lens. I think that there's blinders on. We all have our own set of blinders where you know, there's things that we don't see from an external perspective. There's also. There's also things that I think each person is good at. That you shouldn't necessarily give that, put that role on somebody else who doesn't have the experience there may be. Am I heading anywhere in the right direction with what you were, what your intent was?

Speaker 2: 39:46

And here and you kind of hit the one piece right, like the one thing that I think is really pretty true. So, like when you want to hire the salesperson, the things I look for right are one they got they have ambition or growth mindset, meaning like they want to get more out of either life or their profession, whether it's income or growth. They, they are driven in that direction. Right, lots of the logistics companies it's really common for them to hire ex-athletes, college athletes, people that are competitive, like because that's at least an example in their life where they are driven to want to improve. Right, because sales is a very much performance and results-based profession.

Speaker 2: 40:25

Right, like, whatever it is, you've got to do more to get more, even if you're really good at it. The baseline and table stakes are you've got to do more. You've got to make more phone calls, you've got to meet more people. You've got to put numbers up on the board, right, so if you can find that person right and they do, well, the issue is that they're not always the best manager either, because those are very different personalities and skill sets. Right, a producer and somebody that can empathize, listen and understand to a teammate or an employee to help support them. They're very different skill sets. It doesn't mean that one person doesn't have both. It just means that they're not the same thing.

Speaker 1: 41:04

Yeah, I'll give you an example and then I'll guess it's a book I was going to mention. So, like my uncle, recently retired, long sales career was never, at least to my knowledge, was never a manager, never wanted to be a manager made it very clear he was very, very good at being a producer, a great communicator, building relationships, getting deals closed. But the management side and the training and the leadership side, it's not that someone can't do it. It may not be an interest of theirs, correct, and those are two. And you could have someone who's a mediocre salesperson but a really good leader. Right, they may fail at some of the execution parts of sales, but they're just really good at getting the team heading in the right direction and all that and what I want. The book I wanted to point out was it's called Entree Leadership and it's because it's a mix of entrepreneur and leadership, right, so it's it's by Dave Ramsey, but it's all about it's basically the playbook of how he started his company and it's a really good read. And it talks about, you know, the hiring specifically and I've gone through this with hiring people.

Speaker 1: 42:12

I've obviously we've all been hired at some, you know, at some level in our career, but you know, hiring and firing are really, really difficult and they're intimidating tasks, but they are a requirement for any business to succeed. You don't always want to hire the person that's exactly like you. You could butt heads with that person because you're essentially you just hired your own weird internal competition, which might seem strange. I wouldn't want to work with myself, um, but you know, there's people that I love to work with that are nothing like me. There's people that love to work with me, um, and nothing like them. But there's this balance that everyone adds their own little perfection in a certain area.

Speaker 1: 42:58

But another thing too and I've gone through this with some of our branches is like people, their first thought is like, oh, I need to hire someone right now. I'm going to hire my niece or my nephew or my friend Dude. I literally like I was talking to somebody yesterday. I was like this person had tried to go into business with some friends to create basically a team, and I've seen it happen a couple of years ago with a couple of other folks as well.

Speaker 1: 43:28

But in my head I'm like I've seen this story play out poorly too many times. They think it's going to be a great thing and then next thing you know, like inevitably it goes to trash, like it goes to shit, because one person has a certain vision and set of expectations in their head. The other person has another one and then they think because whether they're friends or if you hired a family member, that there's going to be this special, different treatment versus a regular standard boss and subordinate employee. And eventually it comes to a breaking point and it's like tragic when you see it play out because you're like man, these people were friends for 20 years and now they don't speak and you got one ask from me has the other one reached out to you and vice versa, and it's like had you guys just done, you know, operated separately but kind of shared successes amongst one another?

Speaker 1: 44:22

you could have both cherished and done it like you did in the past when you were coworkers and decided to try to go to business together and naturally one person is going to try and take.

Speaker 2: 44:36

Take the range more than the other. And yeah, it just it creates. My best friend's dad was in, was an entrepreneur and ran a bunch of businesses and we were little his name was Leo, his dad's name was Leo we dreamt of wanting to be in business together because that's what the parents did. And he told us when we were probably like seven or eight, like repeatedly like if you guys don't want to be friends anymore, then you guys should start a business. But plan that if you are going to do this, everything that you like about each other will change. And we never decided to ever do anything.

Speaker 2: 45:07

We worked together for a time and it did work here and there. But, like to your point, it's easy to get them in, which solves the problem in the immediate, which is what makes everyone feel better, but it is damn near impossible to course correct later because you've got another relationship there that is weighing in on the professional one and it's very hard to let them go or to hold them accountable in some ways, because you've never done that with them, your entire relationship outside of here. So it's much harder to do that in the professional case, right.

Speaker 1: 45:34

Think about, even like you and I working together. You and I have very we have a lot of stuff in similar, but we have, I think overall we have there's differences that complement each other. Like I see you as like a visionary. You always have the next greatest idea, which oftentimes pulls me in a direction that I otherwise wouldn't go in, and I'm very detail oriented. Everything needs to be buttoned up and operational, focused, and it really complements each other. And there's a there's a reason that you and I do so well with all of our content and what we do together with Freight360.

Speaker 1: 46:05

But you and I have never operated inside of the same brokerage before and there was. We had at one point, had talked about it and decided, like we're better off to not cross that path because it would change everything else that we do that works out great right now. And sometimes you have to have that conversation with people that you're friends with or related to or whatnot, because you will do better on separate tracks and be able to help one another. Because you're like, think about it, Like you and I. I've called you and asked questions and advice. You've done the same thing and we can give each other advice from different perspectives. That helps us both.

Speaker 2: 46:41

Right, a hundred percent. And here's and this is a really good segue into like the one thing I also too want to that I do want to cover to like the one thing I also too want to that I do want to cover is this was very apparent, how bad I was at this or maybe the opposite was true is that, like how much I focused on growth and sales and competitiveness, that I was not a good manager? Like when I was a producer the first time I got put into management, like my late twenties at a very large sales team. They all did very well, but I absolutely hated it because like I felt I they should have been doing as much as I could be doing if I was in their seat and by helping them I also couldn't do what I could do. And it felt even though it probably wasn't true because the company made more money, but I felt like I was like letting myself down every day. It was like this horrible feeling in my chest. And then later, when I was at TQL to your point right, like it's a very competitive culture intentionally to get that growth. So like again, it's not that it's overwhelmingly male, but there is a lot of that energy and competitiveness and aggressiveness in that sales floor. So like, even in hindsight, like only one, maybe two of probably the dozens and dozens of people I worked with I was really that close with because we all just competed every day.

Speaker 2: 47:56

I ran into a guy actually when I meant to meet you up the other day when you were down here Phil Sweely, who's still one of the top brokers at TQL. He was in my office but we used to fight and just jab each other almost every day on who was going to win that week, who got more loads, who had more revenue. And it was like a fun kind of thing. But there was some tension there always because like I wanted to win and like I'll be damned if I'm going to let anybody beat me. That's what made me good at that.

Speaker 2: 48:22

But that same thing and I'll tell you the specific moment that it hit me we had a putting green in that office and one of the newer brokers came over and she said like oh hey, can you show me how to putt? And I was like, yeah, here. And then she did and I went oh, here, let me show you what you're doing wrong. And I literally said it that way and I'll never forget, because the emotion and feeling I had was like that was received very poorly. And the look, and then I'll never forget what she said.

Speaker 2: 48:49

She was like look, if you want to be in management or a leader, like you should work on your tact or communication when you're teaching someone. And like I could, almost to the today, like that feeling is still with me because it was such an acute or like pointed feeling that I just realized like how I just was just completely unaware of how I was helping others because I was just so focused on like get it done and the way I look at things to your point, if it's wrong, just tell me where it's wrong so I can fix it and move forward. Like you're not going to hurt my feelings Tell me what's wrong so I can fix it. Not everybody's like that. That doesn't make for a good manager. It took me years to cultivate empathy and understanding, to be able to have a conversation that meets them where they are, to show them where they need to go, not assuming they should take my advice from my point of view, from where I'm at, and that was a huge learning point for me.

Speaker 1: 49:45

Yeah, so you made me think of something, and this is something that I learned in the army years ago when I was a young Lieutenant and you learn basic levels of leadership and you make your way up and eventually you become a leader of a bigger and bigger team organization, and that was someone had demonstrated this to me and then explained to me later on what they were doing and how it worked, and I thought I was genius. But it was basically, um, if somebody has a a problem and they want a solution, um, the tactic was, instead of telling them exactly what you would do, presented them a few options of what they might consider doing. Right. So, um, the reason being like, just because I do it this way doesn't mean it's going to work this way for somebody else.

Speaker 2: 50:33

So the tactic but also you want them to go through the process of evaluating each one and finding the fit for themselves.

Speaker 1: 50:39

So I'll give you an example of like I'll try to relate it to brokerage Like I had a guy call me about a month ago and he's like hey, here's a. You know, I know I'm talking to this customer. They gave me this rebel commitment and the ball's in their court. Right now it's at the contract phase and you know, I'm not sure, like they're not responding to me. I haven't gotten any answer or update. What do you think I should do?

Speaker 1: 51:06

And in my head I was like well, I know what I would do. But then I was like well, here's a few things you could, you know, you could consider going this route or this route or this route. And it was something like you know. One of them involved reaching out to the customer about something totally unrelated, but that was value, of value and then bringing up the the real issue later on in the conversation. Another one was just a um, hey, go to someone else in the company and try to get an update so it doesn't look like you're being annoying.

Speaker 1: 51:33

And then there was like another option in there and he thought through the different ideas and he came up with one that was similar to what I said, but he kind of crafted it his own way and he's like dude, that was genius. And in my head I'm like you, you came up with this, I just came up with this, you came up with this, I just got you thinking. And that's really because if I'm like, hey, go do it this way and he goes to do it that way and it doesn't work, he's like well, nate's an idiot. He doesn't know what the hell he's talking about Exactly, but you want to. As a leader, you should really encourage your people to not just get results, but they need to really improve on how they go through the process of getting results, because that is a force multiplier and, can you know that can be used in a multitude of situations, not just the one that they came up to you with.

Speaker 2: 52:15

And here's why that works right. And then I want to segue into one more thing, because this is a perfect segue is that if you give someone the answer and it doesn't work, you're responsible for it, just like you said. Yep, nate's an idiot, it's his fault, it didn't work. If you allow the person to take ownership of the solution they are going to try Meaning they believe it came from them. So they got a couple options. They choose it now, good or bad. They're learning. If it didn't work, they know they chose it themselves, so they have to take responsibility for the fact that didn't work and now do it in a way that avoided the reason it didn't work. That is learning right. That is why you can't teach a kid to ride a bike by riding it for them. You got to let them fall so that they learn from their own choices, not from your choices, right? Which is the perfect segue into the last thing I wanted to cover on this topic, which is no matter how long it takes you to find the right fit and we've done other content on hiring and interviewing but let's say you've got a few people, whether it's the carrier side or it's the sales side, you got your teams covering your loads or maybe you needed more people for growth on the customer right. Is that like, however, that you have been doing this that has been successful for you? You need to spend the time to actually think about your process, what you do step-by-step. If it's covering a load, where do you look first, your TMS? Where do you go next? You look at the load board. Maybe you post a load right before that. Then you call your carriers in your shortlist. Then maybe you call the carriers on DAT and then what do you say? And how do you have those conversations that allow you to move through those options efficiently to find the right fit for that load right? And you really got to think about it very simply, as in like well, what do you do step-by-step? Because most successful brokers have a pattern. They just don't even realize they have a pattern when they do that Same thing for sales. So you want to articulate it for yourself, step-by step. Just think about simply what you do.

Speaker 2: 54:11

And then the important piece is that you don't just hand that list of steps to the new carrier sales rep or the new brokerage sales rep. You then show them how you've done it. You let them watch you do it. You literally do it for them. Let them listen to you. Let them hear what you're hearing. Literally do it for them. Let them listen to you. Let them hear what you're hearing. Explain to them why and what you've learned and what mistakes you made that made that list of five steps that might've started as eight different ones, or 12 different ones, or three or two, or whatever you started with. Explain why you ended up here and why it helps you move faster. So now they understand your steps, your framework and why and what you've learned along your journey. You've now shown them. Now you need to spend time with them while they start to learn themselves. And that's where that list becomes very important.

Speaker 2: 55:01

Because now, if I'm sitting next to Jimmy and Jimmy and I did all those things, and he starts on himself and then he goes through and I hear him calling, the thing you don't want to do is stop Jimmy and go. Hey, don't say that. Read the do what I said. What you want to do is let Jimmy go through the whole thing, maybe work for an hour, and then, at the 10, go. Okay, let's do a recap, tell me how it went, tell me what you think, let him give you honest feedback on his own process and what he did in his own performance. Then ask him questions. Hey, so tell me what on the steps that we went through work for you. Tell me which of these steps you maybe felt didn't work for you and why, and make them explain to you what and how they're doing and why they're doing it Not, so that, like even it's important that I know what they're thinking, because when they are having to explain it to you, they are now thinking through what they just did in a way that is helping them learn faster, because most people just do things and then don't ever think about what happened when they were doing them.

Speaker 2: 55:59

This is the process of being a good leader, manager or owner, or even a coach. It's not for me to tell somebody what to do. It's for me to help them learn from what they're doing so that they can keep improving because that's how you teach them to fish, not just feeding them so that they can do that every day when you're not there. And then maybe, when you meet with them two weeks and you go, how's it been going? Let's sit again, let's see how your process is. What have you learned from last week that you're not doing this week. What didn't you do that you are doing? Why did you add these things? Why did you get rid of them? Now you're guiding them through the journey you've taken and they're far more likely to one succeed, two, to be able to do it in the manner you expect them to, and three, if they're not, you are understanding why they're not, so you're not guessing as to why somebody is succeeding, failing, not performing or not hitting the metrics that you feel they should be hitting Right. That's the disconnect.

Speaker 1: 56:52

Yep, exactly, and if I could describe the skill that you're explaining there, it's problem solving, like what's working, what's not working, and problem solving and just that method of thinking that has broad application and like, legitimately, if you can just train or help somebody learn.

Speaker 2: 57:14

Everything in life.

Speaker 1: 57:15

Yes, everything, whether it's work, you know, whether it's in management, in sales, in your personal relationships, right Everyday encounters. You can always tell when you talk with someone who's a good problem solver, who you know can think creatively, versus someone who's just like this, sucks, I can't figure it out, like I don't know where to go. It's like, well, take a deep breath, let's think creatively here. Let's think about what are the issues, what can, what have we? What's worked in the past, what hasn't? I think, yes, that'll. That's a skill that'll take you very, very far in your career and running your business.

Speaker 2: 57:50

And here's the thing that I want to wrap up with, to juxtapose our ladies against each other. There are two very significant approaches that I see in our industry. One training salespeople. You've got this approach that I would say is far more likely than the other one, which is hey, be patient, keep making phone calls, you'll find some luck eventually. Just keep at it. And it's literally just the task approach. Here's your task, here's your phone numbers, here's who you're calling, here's your list of questions. Keep doing it until you learn, win or don't have a job. Those are the three options Either learn until you win or you give up and you fail. That's it. That's all the guidance you're getting.

Speaker 2: 58:29

I'd say that's most freight brokerage, sales training across the industry and even a lot of other sales industries. What I wanted to do in this episode we were talking about it is I wanted to be able to show how you can do this in a way that it also makes owning and running and managing the company easier when you do it the way we've discussed, because you're learning with them what they're learning or not learning, so you're not getting caught flat footed three months in going. What have they been doing for three months? Do we fire them? Do we find another replacement? Do we help, coach them? Like, where are they?

Speaker 2: 58:59

If you're not doing this on a regular basis with any of your employees, you're never going to have the answers for the decision you're asking yourself about, which is are they the right fit, are they worth investing more resources to help them improve, or do you cut your losses?

Speaker 2: 59:14

This gives you the information along the way, as well as helps that person give them the most likely shot at being successful in the role you chose them for right. And if you're not going to do this, you're just half-assing it all together and you're not likely to succeed. If you're not going to do this, you're just half-assing it all together and you're not likely to succeed if you're not willing to put this investment of your time and the person you spent all this money on. It takes effort to help and bring these people into your culture. You can't just hire them, hand them a suite of tools and a phone and go bring back customers, because they've done it before. They don't know your organization, they don't know what's important to you, they don't know what you're looking for, how you've done it or where you expect them to go with any of it.

Speaker 1: 59:57

I will close with this. Learning is a continuous thing we're all, and if you, if you, don't think that, um, I think that you're doing yourself a disservice. Continual learning, continual, continuous education, is massive. Um, we hired, um someone to assist me a little over two years ago and to this day, you know he's come a long way, but he's still. He's still learning things, right. I mean, he's two, two, two years or so into this process and I think he's doing a great job. Um, but it's a constant thing, right? You can't hire somebody, just hand them a toolbox and then, overnight, they're going to be exactly what you want them to be. It's a continual process and as you figure out somebody's strengths and weaknesses, you can figure out where to best utilize them and where to best focus on development for them to kind of strengthen some areas that could be improved.

Speaker 1: 1:00:47

You and I, right, we've been in this industry a long time. We still there's things that we learn every day that we've never dealt with, right, Whether it's a situation that came up that we've never dealt with, it could be something that's just brand new to the industry, right, a new, you know? How are people using AI now? Like new technology and stuff that's out there, new things in the like fraud. How are we all handling fraud in the last couple of years versus 10 years ago? I think it's really, really important to always have that mindset of how can we all get better, right, I mean, definitely enjoy your success and where you're at and be realistic and, you know, humble about that, but you gotta be hungry for the next best thing, cause if you, if you don't, your competition is going to be doing that and it's going to make them much better.

Speaker 1: 1:01:36

So well said discussion, man, that's good. Well, good, good conversation there. I am curious, I gotta. I gotta go check out kind of Adamo's debate. Yes, with sonar, I am curious, I got to go check out Ken Adamo's debate with Sonar. I did see it in my email from Paul at Freight Caviar that he said sounds like Ken was the winner. But to wrap up from our news earlier on, Anyway, any final thoughts Ben?

Speaker 2: 1:02:03

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

Speaker 1: 1:02:08

Until next time, go Bills.

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