Quoting & Spot Freight | Episode 237

Freight 360

March 29, 2024

Ever wondered how a freight broker navigates the choppy waters of rate negotiation and relationship building? Buckle up as we take you through the ins and outs of spot freight and quoting, starting with the bedrock principles that every professional, rookie or veteran, should know. Embark on a journey with us as we recount tales from the trenches, including a personal story of an Airbnb mishap that’s as much about adaptability as it is about logistics.

This episode isn’t just theory; it’s packed with real-world implications, highlighted by the recent Baltimore bridge collapse and its ripple effects on trade. From agricultural deliveries in the midst of planting season to the automotive industry’s logistics gymnastics, we dissect the impact on the freight landscape and ponder alternate routes to keep the wheels of commerce turning. Plus, we don’t shy away from tackling the Buffalo Bills’ stadium saga or the complexities surrounding Shohei Otani’s interpreter – because where else can you get the skinny on PSLs and sports gambling all in one place?

Finally, we zero in on the nitty-gritty of securing success in the freight industry. It’s all about negotiation finesse, the strategic use of CRM tools, and why sometimes, it’s the sheer hustle that sets you apart from the pack. Through live negotiation scenarios and firsthand experiences, we offer insider strategies to boost your brokerage prowess. Whether you’re looking to sharpen your skills or simply curious about the high-stakes world of freight, there’s a seat at the table for you. So plug in, and let’s navigate these industry currents together.

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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:19

All right, welcome back for another episode of the Freight 360 podcast. We got a nice sales related podcast episode. Today we're going to talk a little bit about quoting and some spot freight, so stay tuned for that. But first, if you're brand new here, make sure to check out all of our other content. You can go to Freight360.net to see all of our blogs, all of our other episodes, our shorter form content. That's on YouTube as well, and on our website. You'll also find the Freight Broker Basics course. That's our full length training that will help you get your freight brokerage off the ground and lead you to success. Share this with all your friends. And yeah, let's get into it, ben. What's going on today, man? I would ask you how Florida is, but I'm down here myself. You're here, yeah, sunny.

Speaker 2: 1:08

How are you doing, considering you spent most of the day traveling, I'm assuming.

Speaker 1: 1:17

Yeah, good man, we're getting settled in. It was kind of a disaster. We had an Airbnb house booked for like a little over a week near my parents and they sold the Airbnb like a week before our arrival and so naturally, like it got canceled on us so we had to like scramble and find multiple Airbnbs to fill in those dates. But we're at a cool little house in Jensen Beach right now, so my wife's got the kids out for a little walk enjoying the weather and I'm getting some work done, so it's good loving it.

Speaker 2: 1:48

Weather is pretty nice low 80s, not too hot out, yet seemed pretty nice this morning. Anyway, for sure for sure?

Speaker 1: 1:56

um, all right, well, let's quick. Little sports here. Um, I was gonna have my. I was gonna have my brother come out and talk bills, psls, because there's been more developments, but he's busy right now. Um, so I know we talked about it briefly last week and so more people have gone through this like stadium experience thing for the new bill, stadium and the like. It's still all like very tight knit. There's nothing official, but people have been taking screenshots of their offers and stuff like that and legitimately, they're charging $20,000 for a PSL and they're offering like oh, you can pay it over three years interest-free or you can do a 10-year payment plan with a low interest rate. They're trying to nickel and dime and squeeze every penny they can out of this, but it is supposed to take almost an entire year to get through all like 60,000 seats, to have people look at them, talk about the pricing and all of that. So, yeah, it's, it's, it's dry.

Speaker 2: 2:58

I would be. I would be curious to hear how the secondary market has worked for those licenses. I know there was one that exists and I know that you can sell those licenses and my assumption or guess would be at the rate of the valuations of NFL teams have grown right year over year, my assumption would be that those licenses appreciate fairly significantly.

Speaker 1: 3:25

So it depends, right, it depends on how that team is doing and anyone who's followed a team that's had a rollercoaster history and for the seats, that's exactly right. So if let's say the any any sports team, right, let's say they have expensive PSLs, and then five years later the team is not good and you go to resell and there's no market for it or you sell it at loss. There has been and I can't remember the exact team or the stadium, but there was PSLs that people bought and a few years down the line the demand was so low they got rid of the PSL, so there was zero resale on it. They just got rid of the whole PSL in general. So then you, just you literally paid, you know all that money and it's worth zero to you.

Speaker 2: 4:12

So that makes sense.

Speaker 2: 4:13

I mean again, I'm going on like a huge tangent, but like I remember when the Steelers did this at Heinz field, you know when they switched, and again it's a little bit of a different, I think team scenario right, like the steelers travel really well, they have a huge fan base nationally and they're really consistent and just how the whole, you know back office functions right, which is a whole other conversation.

Speaker 2: 4:38

So I mean, like the wait list was like, I remember, like it was like five or 10 years to like be able to even apply to get a license when they did it Right. And again, definitely some things have changed over the past 15 or 20 years. But you're right, like if you got some sporadic team base you know fan bases that come and go based on the season I think that's a much different scenario than maybe even a Buffalo. That's a much different scenario than maybe even a Buffalo, Because I would say that, like Buffalo, dallas, some of these teams have kind of a rabid fan base that, regardless of their play, they're real close to selling out every year would be my guess. But again, don't know.

Speaker 1: 5:13

Yeah, I don't know. I mean, I've heard of teams where there's like a you know 40-year wait list and people will buy the season ticket with, or they'll hop on the wait list for a season ticket in the hopes that, like, their grandkids can get it. I don't know if that's like green, I think Green Bay or something kind of rings a bell for me on that one. For any listeners out there who know which team it is, let us know in the comments or shoot us a message, but it's crazy. Other sports drama Shohei Otani Did you hear the like gambling? I did.

Speaker 2: 5:47

Yeah, His interpreter apparently gambled up to like just under five million give or take what I heard and was basically wiring it directly out of his account. And then they said, oh yeah, he was just gambling for himself with my money. And then apparently there were photos after where they're just like hanging out and somebody was basically like, yeah, like he's the one that wants to gamble, right, yeah it's insane.

Speaker 2: 6:13

Yeah, it's also kind of comic was like. You know you get a seven or that 700 million dollar contract and you're betting even a couple hundred grand seems like a lot bigger risk to win a whole lot less when you have that size of income.

Speaker 1: 6:29

It just doesn't make sense. Looking at it right here, it was $4.5 million was the gambling debt to some sports bookie. So well, they're doing an investigation and I know a lot more is going to come out, I'm sure. So wild.

Speaker 2: 6:44

My prediction too big, and I know a lot more is going to come out, I'm sure. So wild my prediction too big to fail. They'll cover it up, it'll go away. There will be no repercussions. Way too much money behind him.

Speaker 1: 6:54

Yeah, yeah, he's got like an insane, insane contract. So the big news here the bridge collapse in Baltimore. The big news here the bridge collapse in Baltimore. So what's wild is I? So today's Wednesday, the bridge collapse was yesterday, tuesday morning. I flew into Baltimore yesterday morning as a layover to Florida and I could see the ship and the like, the collapsed bridge out the plane window because the airport's I don't know five and miles from the bay there and, dude, it's insane. I got, I got like a really grainy picture on my phone. I'll text it over to you later, but it was, it was wild to see. But what's, what's crazy? And people, you know, your initial response is like, oh my, my god, did people fall in the deaths, all that. And then, like, as the dust starts to settle and you figure out, you know that it's like it's morbid to say, like they kind of confirm the, the loss count and all that. And then you realize like it's a major shipping area, right, and there's a lot of impact.

Speaker 1: 8:02

Yeah, Like. So what's that? What's the largest for certain certain types of like? I want to say like vehicles, right, Like the roll on, roll off?

Speaker 2: 8:12

It's definitely like a top 20 vehicles.

Speaker 1: 8:16

Yeah, yep.

Speaker 1: 8:18

But like obviously number one you know, outside of like the, the search and recovery mission. You know, another top priority is like they got to expeditiously clear some kind of area to resume trade and movement of cargo in and out of that area. And I don't know how that's like. I don't know how they're going to do that. And then you got to figure what do they, what do they do with the remnants of that bridge? It's so big you're going to have to like disassemble it and then move it out piece by piece. And then you got to build a new bridge.

Speaker 1: 8:55

I know the Biden's press conference. You know they agreed to to pay for a new bridge and they didn't. Basically he said like we don't have time to wait to see who's at fault and who's going to pay for it, like we need to get our infrastructure rebuilt. Um, it's insane because that one of the big disruptors for a freight specifically is like the, so like hazmat, for example. Hazmat shipments that would cross that bridge are getting diverted and they're not able to go through the tunnels that a lot of this stuff is being diverted through. So it's going to like, if you look at a map and you just look at Baltimore and what I think was 695, was the highway. If you don't cross that bridge, it's probably going to add like 50, 100 miles to your trip. I don't, I mean I don't have the map right in front of me, but that's big, you know, not to mention the stoppage, and you know shipments.

Speaker 2: 9:50

It's a major traffic you know artery of Baltimore. There are around 20 ships right now that are waiting off in the Chesapeake Bay to figure out where they're going to go. Most of the commodities mentioned. Dean friend of the show, was on a bunch of major news articles I read this morning that said, the biggest impact from his point of view is really farm roll-on roll-off farm equipment because this is planting season so a lot of the Midwest is expecting a lot of that equipment that's going to slow that down.

Speaker 2: 10:22

What you were mentioning is another aspect of this. And then automobile is another big roll on roll off cargo out of that port. That's going to be significantly affected and they're already seeing reports right where they're draying empties down to Norfolk instead of Baltimore and they're diverting more of that cargo. But this is also at a time where the cargo world you know the overseas cargo world is seeing a lot of issues related to like terrorism over in the red sea. So a lot of the shipping lanes are changing. In fact there was another article in freight caviar too that was talking about there's a massive increase in volume back to the West coast again, like LA gained 64% in loaded imports this month. So I mean you're already seeing shifts and issues within that whole market. This is just going to make that more expensive for everybody and create issues for everything that was normally going in that direction yeah, we had it in our newsletter this earlier this week as well, about the LA thing.

Speaker 1: 11:25

And then, like I was going to echo exactly what you just said, between Suez canal, red sea and now Baltimore, what you got to think about is, yeah, you can divert stuff. What that does is it adds time and there's also not like an unlimited amount of space at these ports, like you remember, think about the port congestion in Southern California, in the was it two, three years ago the COVID times? And there was, at at some points, over a hundred container ships just like hanging out waiting for a chance to come in. It would take upwards of three weeks for them to be able to just get a spot there. The good thing? Well, I guess the I hate to call it a good thing and a terrible situation, but a silver lining is that you're right, norfolk is not that far away from Baltimore in the grand scheme of things, and that is a massive port, it's a shipbuilding city and community. And that is a massive port, it's a shipbuilding city and community. It's a ideal location to get, you know, cargo moved in there as a supplemental location versus Baltimore. So, hopefully, hopefully, they get the shipping lane open or I guess access in and out of that port open to some extent, and I would hope like within a week somehow they'll figure out a way to do that. And then you know, in the meantime they can divert traffic elsewhere.

Speaker 1: 12:50

But think about all those containers that were sitting at the port waiting to go out. You know, in the 48, 72 hours after that bridge collapsed they got. You know they're just sitting there after that bridge collapsed. They're just sitting there and if you have ever seen a container yard at a port, they are massive, like humongous, obviously. I mean, you think about how large a container ship is 1,000 feet long or longer, and they hold so many containers. So yeah, it's an unfortunate event, terrible to see what happened, and you know we'll see how everything turns out.

Speaker 2: 14:42

So what else we got. That's really all I kind of had. You know, there's a bunch of articles related to the market likely moving this year, but nothing new, nothing noteworthy that I'd seen.

Speaker 1: 14:51

Yeah, Right on, all right. Well, good stuff, let's get into our topic. So, ben, why don't you kick it off? This was a topic idea that you had and I really like it and I think we can do a lot with this. I'll preface with this we talked many times about your journey as a freight broker. Right, you don't just start and all of a sudden have all this dedicated freight that your customer's like, hey, here's all these repeat lanes You're going to start off with like the tough to move, the pain in the butt lanes or fall off loads or a load list that they just want cheap price and your job is going to be I got to quote this, I got to quote it quick and I got to quote it accurately and I got to quote it in a way that helps me make a little margin on it. So I'll start off with that, because that's where I kind of want to focus this on, because you new folks out there, this is likely going to be the first situation you find yourself in, right?

Speaker 2: 15:45

For sure, it's the one you spend most of your time in when you're prospecting, doing business development. I'm doing this, I'm doing this with team members, agents I have. So this is a lot of what we've been working on this week, which is why I thought it'd be a good topic for everybody, because everybody does this. I mean well, not everybody does it effectively, but everybody has to go through this step, right? Yeah, so again, just to set the stage right. First step, new to the industry you're going to start prospecting. You make lots of calls, emails, follow-ups to get somebody to talk to you and hopefully trust you a bit. If you don't have that, it's very unlikely you get any loads to even quote to be able to do what we're going to discuss from this point forward, right? So like this is your starting line, right? Like you've talked to them once or twice, probably three or four times. They're going hey, you know what. I do have a load you can quote. Let me take a look at your pricing. Let's see if maybe we can work on something Right now. The other part of this that I want to set the stage for is like what does this situation really look like from a 10,000 foot view, right, not just you, not just the person you're talking to, and it's not just about this load. What else is happening at this time, as the shipper is saying this to you, right, and the first part is that shipper likely has at least one or two or three or a handful of brokers that they've been working with for some time However long that is, we don't know right, but there's somebody there that they have been utilizing for their spot loads and the stuff that needs picked up, like day of or next day, Because, again, those can work directly with motor carriers. If they're lucky and the truck is available at the right place and the right time, they may go there, but predominantly like a spot load picking up today or tomorrow is getting quoted out to the brokers, right. So you, right, are not what you would call an incumbent broker, right, you're like the challenger. They have two or three brokers they're using, right, and this is I'm going to use the exact same example we had yesterday, right? So I think the lane was like Yuma Arizona to LA or Bakersfield, give or take right, yuma Arizona to LA or Bakersfield, give or take Right.

Speaker 2: 18:01

And the quote that the shipper is asking one of my agents. He says hey, you know like I'm going to have a lot more of these. We're bringing more of our inventory back to California after the winter. And I talked about this a couple months ago when they were moving it there, Right? So shipper says to our agent and he's you know, talk to him again three, four, five times. Right, got a little bit of rapport, not moved, any freight, but we're at this stage, right. And the shipper says to him I need you to move these for $1,700. Okay, I'm going to pull up because I have these rates on what they were yesterday to set the stage right.

Speaker 1: 18:38

So While you're pulling that up, I want to add one note in here right and this is something that goes on simultaneously in this process is you're building rapport and trust, and I want people to let that resonate while we go through this because, like you said, ben, you're not an incumbent broker, you're the challenger. So there's the way, the diligence, the speed, the accuracy and the way of which you go through this process is going to be one of the first impressions that your customer remembers.

Speaker 2: 19:09

It's shaping their perspective of you. It's part of your resume, right? It's not what you say, it's what you do. Everyone's heard that in your life, right? Nobody cares what you say. They care what you can do that is the risk.

Speaker 2: 19:20

Actions speak louder than words. Right, this is the risk for a shipper. Right, the shipper has a choice. Right? In this scenario, I can work with one of the three brokers I've known and worked with and I've seen them do what they say they can do. So I am as close to 100% as I'll ever get working with these folks Very low risk right Now.

Speaker 2: 19:40

The new guy coming in right, we think that he knows what he's doing. He seems to know what he's doing. He asked the right questions and he seems confident and he seems to understand what I need. But until he does this, there is still a higher risk for the new guy coming in than the people I've worked with. Right, it's the same with everything you've ever done in your life.

Speaker 2: 19:58

If you're using a service and you're going to switch, there's risk that this service is not as good or worse and it could be better. But it's the downside risk people are worried about, right, if I give this load to somebody I don't know and it gets stolen, damaged, lost, not delivered right, that's their concern. Right, that's their concern, right. So, if you think about it, if you are the decision maker, you want something in return to take on the risk to work with a new person. Right, like I mean, the reality is like I'm not going to pay somebody I just met, the same as the guy I've been working with for a few months or a few years, because it's not the same from my point of view. I have less knowledge or information and experience. Okay, so the rates right here were the rates on this lane as of yesterday.

Speaker 1: 20:39

And what was the lane? Again, you said Bakersfield.

Speaker 2: 20:42

This was Yuma, arizona, to Watsonville, california. The load was picking up in two to three days it's full truckload. It was produce. I don't remember the actual commodity, but it was a reefer, and the low was 1748. The median was 1876. And the high was 2027.

Speaker 1: 21:04

And you're pulling that as that rate view.

Speaker 2: 21:06

This was DAT rate view as of yesterday. Okay, now you know, agent asks me. You know, hey, shipper tells me his target rate is $1,700 or lower. This seems really unrealistic to me. Okay, so let's go through the situation before we go through what you're going to do, right? So his instinct is correct.

Speaker 2: 21:29

This guy wants to pay the absolute lowest amount he can to move this cargo. That is at least clear as it relates to him and the new broker trying to get a load. Now, the reality is the other two or three brokers that he's working with are way more likely to quote it the way I would quote it. Somebody that has been in brokerage for a year or two understands the market and has more loads to move than they have time, a lot of times, right? So, like I'm not going to spend as much time when I've got a book of business as I would when I'm new and I need new customers, right, my time is different. So for me, like, if I'm going to quote this lane for any of my customers, like I'm quoting that probably like a hundred bucks over the high, like 2,100 bucks, 2,150, give or take.

Speaker 1: 22:14

Think about it. If you don't get it, oh well, and if you do, woohoo right, Because you don't need it and I'll probably be able to.

Speaker 2: 22:20

Exactly. I might be able to get a truck maybe close to a low, if I'm lucky. I'll probably pay close to the median. And again, if I quoted 2,150 and he asked me to do it for 21, I'll probably, and I can make 200 bucks on this load, which is not even 15%. Also, this is like 12% margins, right, and I'm quoting that at like 21.50, give or take, right? So the reality is, is you know, new agent, right, that wants to quote, is being asked to move this load at a different standard than the existing ones.

Speaker 2: 22:51

But this is important, right? Because the other thing is I'm probably not going to call my customer every time he has one of these loads. I'm likely to just look up the rate, throw 150 bucks on where I think off the median or the high, I'm going to quote it and if I get it to your point, great, I'll move it. If I don't, I've got plenty of other freight to quote. That's the way my day is going to play out Now. The advantage the new agent has the new freight brokers out there or existing freight brokers getting new customers is you probably have more time than you have money, or at least the amount of money you want to make, because you're doing more business development and prospecting right. So you have this time to use to your advantage. Here's how we're going to use that, differently than the experienced brokers we're competing with, so that we have an advantage.

Speaker 1: 23:39

So let me I want to add. I want to add like two things in here real quick, as like data points. First, one being and you can reference back to our episode about rate view and where do rates come from? But rate view, for example, you're getting, you're getting less than 50. Well, you're getting roughly 50% of the data that's out there, because the top 25th percentile and the bottom 25th percentile are not included in that high and low and that, uh, that median right. So there can you get a truck for less than that 1700, whatever you can, it's just not. They don't cause. That's kind of like an outlier. And then the other thing I want to include is we've talked about this, the triangle right, speed price and quality service.

Speaker 2: 24:26

You can have two of the three right, so you can get that. You can have it fast and cheap, but it won't be good.

Speaker 1: 24:29

You can have it fast and good, but it won't be cheap, or you can have it cheap and good and it'll be fast, yeah, yes, so all right, continue, though, but I you're probably we're going to get to it, but I wanted to at least hit that baseline.

Speaker 2: 24:41

It's a really good point.

Speaker 1: 24:42


Speaker 2: 24:42

Because this is true, right, this is the scenario, right? So, and we get this question a lot like do I quote low? Now, this question relates exactly to this. Right, this is what you know our agent is being asked to do to get on board with a new customer, to start building some relationship and track record right, to work their way into a real relationship. It's the first opportunity right Now, to your point, all of these other things I can use that shape the perception of me and to my advantage and my time to compete against the incumbents, the two or three that have a longer track record than I do.

Speaker 2: 25:19

Right, the first is time. Right, so the first thing is I know I might be able to get a truck at a little less than that low, to your point, if I find the right carrier, right, and what does that mean? That means if I get a truck that is stuck in Yuma that needs to go back exactly to Watsonville, California, at the same day my load picks up and maybe even the same time of day, based on when he gets empty. Maybe my load picks up until 5, he doesn't get empty until 2, and there's only two or three loads at the end of that day. So, like this guy really wants to get back, he'd rather run it for $1,650 than wait till tomorrow morning and get $1,900, because time is more valuable than the $150, right?

Speaker 2: 26:03

So this is a scenario of the kind of carrier that if I find that I can make that low market rate work or at least get close to break even, right. So that's what I need, right? This is the one side of it. The other side is how do I play this shipper? And this is how we're going to play this on both sides. Right, and this is really. This is rate brokering, the way I see it. Like. This is what you do when you understand how to access the market and go back and forth to be able to work difficult situations, and this I don't think many brokers do. No-transcript, I'm likely to pay more than that based on the information, which means I don't want to lose money, but I'm okay if I can break even or get as close to it so that I get an opportunity to show this customer that I can do what I said I can do.

Speaker 1: 27:24

It's one job well done. I also want to add in it's not a bad idea to hop on the phone and have a really quick call with the shipper and find out what the priority is, because if they just email you and say, hey, this is paying $1,700. Well, can I have some context behind that? Like, is that a hard $1,700, right? Or can this thing? Can it wait a couple of days? Right, go ahead.

Speaker 2: 27:42

So step one right, I'm going to call the shipper right, and I want the answers to these questions right. Remember that my advantage is information as I get it right. So what I can get this shipper to tell me is really relevant to what I'm going to do. So to your point, my first question is hey, great, it looks like. Hey, jimmy, I know you shot this load over. It says it's going to pick up probably in two to three days, or you got two to three days notice. Hey, I know you're looking at 1700.

Speaker 2: 28:08

I got a couple of carriers I know that have run this for me fairly recently. I know I was a bit above that. I think they were closer to like 19. But let me ask you something. I intentionally also. Everything I just said was I'm setting this stage right. I'm letting him know I have experience running the lane. I'm letting him know I have carriers that are running this recently, right, I'm not quoting off of some source or some data set, like, I'm talking to drivers right now. This is what they're telling me. That's how I'm setting that stage right.

Speaker 2: 28:38

The next is I am trying to test his pricing flexibility. Hey, jimmy, I've been paying like closer to 19 on some of these. I don't know if I can get you as close to 17, but I'm gonna talk to him and see what I can do Real quick. Do you got any tighter window on when you think this is likely to pick up? Is my first question right? He's going to tell me one of two things, yes or no. Yes, probably in a day or two I'll know, or I don't know. As soon as I know, I'll let you know Either way, okay, thanks, jimmy. What I'm going to do is I'm going to go work and talk to some of my existing carriers here and see if I can match this up based on their availability to get you a better rate than what I've been paying.

Speaker 2: 29:17

Now my next question when this load comes available to you, jimmy, do you got to load it out that day or do you got to your question? Do I got a couple of days? Like, if you're notified, this load is ready today and it's Wednesday, do I got Wednesday, thursday and Friday to pick it up? Or do you need to pick it up as soon as it notifies to him? Right, because, to Nate's point, if I got three days to work on the load, I got a much higher likelihood of finding that unique carrier that really needs this lane, that is willing to do it for a little less because the timing works for them, right, and the commodity?

Speaker 2: 31:08

So now? Okay, great. Maybe he says yeah, I got two. I can probably give you two days. Once it's notified, I'll let you know as soon as I know, but I don't have a heads up yet. Okay, great, telling Jimmy I'm going to go work the market, what I'm going to go do now on the other side, I'm going to post this load up. I'm going to post it up today. I'm going to post it up tomorrow. I'm going to post it Tuesday of next week. And what am I really doing here? I'm fishing for carriers that are the most likely to have their trucks posted or be looking ahead to where their trucks will be, to see if they can start lining up the rest of their week.

Speaker 1: 31:45

Right, that's what the trucking side looks like. I want to, and while you're in the load boards, take a minute and look at the posted loads from other brokers out there, see if there's an exact match or if there's any related matches, because then you know either what your capacity competition is with other brokers or your exact competition for that exact customer in that exact lane.

Speaker 2: 32:08

Yeah, so to that point, right, when I go to post these loads, that's exactly what I was going to say. Next, I'm going to look at the load board, not just the available trucks, so I can see the other brokers that are posting similar loads and maybe even the same damn load. Right, and this is really common, like for brokers that have been in this a while, like you see that what we do is we call that load with the carrier's MC from our cell phones, ask the broker what the commodity is and try to determine if that is literally the same load. Now is Jimmy giving this load to three other brokers that are all trying to do the same thing as me? That's going to give me some idea of what my competition looks like, to your point, and where the market is sitting. What is my competition If I can get some insight into who their brokers are or see these lanes.

Speaker 2: 32:52

One, I'm going to look at it every day to see what they're doing. Two, I'm likely to see my competition probably posting this load up Again. Remember what I would pay as an existing broker Closer to 21,. Maybe I'm going to quote I'll pay two grand, so I would expect to see the competing brokers with this same load, probably real close to this scenario, posting this up for maybe 19 or 2000. So now I know I got to get a truck for the same load for a less rate than what they're offering for the same load, which doesn't seem like it's doable, right, but it is. And you have to like kind of like thread the needle, meaning like look for little advantages in this scenario to make it a little more likely you get that truck right and it doesn't happen all the time. But there's a little bit of opportunity I have right, and that is I'm going to post the load up, probably with no rate, because now when the carriers see my load and their load and they talk to him and he offers them two grand, I'm going to talk to them too. I'm going to be like, look, I'll try to get you as close to two, but to be honest, the load's not notified yet. I had one, maybe that moved earlier. I'll pull the post down, but hey, when this comes up do you want me to give you a call? So now I'm building a list of the carriers that are the most likely to need that load on that day for a rate that is near mine right Now.

Speaker 2: 34:08

Here's where this conversation goes, because the next question I get is what goes? The next question I get is what do you say to the carriers? Some brokers just look at emails and rates that are submitted. That's not going to work. In this scenario you have to again be proactive in negotiating with the carrier. You can't sit back, take whatever number they offer you and expect that that is their best offer or the one that you need, because it never will be. Every carrier's ask is going to be at least what you expect to make in a margin above what they probably would run it for. If they think you're paying two grand, they're asking you for $2,300. If they think you're paying $1,500, they're going to start at $1,800 or $1,900. They know you're going to try to negotiate them down. This is the setting you're walking into.

Speaker 1: 34:48

This isn't once in a while. This is a negotiation, and it's often a negotiation on all three parties. Right, the customer is going to come out with the lowest price possible. Right, your carrier is going to want the highest price possible and it's your job to try to find a sweet middle spot and keep a gap in there that's going to make it work for every single person.

Speaker 2: 35:07

Right, because, again, think back to the beginning I'm trying to pay the lowest to get a good carrier to make it fit. My shipper wants to pay the lowest, my carrier wants the most. I got to flip them. I got to get my shippers rate up and my carrier rate down so that there's at least a break even for me in this situation. Right, I'm trying to make maybe 75 bucks. A hundred is a big win. It probably covers my cost, right? So my carrier is going to call me, right?

Speaker 2: 35:30

Hey, you know, looking at this load, yuma to Watsonville looks like it's up for a couple of days. You got a couple of loads, yeah, hey, the reality is is like I got a couple of these, not sure exactly when this one's going to go out. Might go out one of these two days. Hey, what's your MC? I asked them their MC. First question always think I'm talking to Look at their service ratings. This tells me the quality of the carrier. Right, real, quickly, as I'm talking to him. I'm doing this Now.

Speaker 2: 35:57

Decent carrier, looks like by highway. They do run this lane. They're in the area, they have the right equipment, they got the insurance. Okay, I'm doing this while I'm talking. So now, if I tell this carrier hey, look, I need you to be at 17. He can see the same rate data I see. So he knows full well, and looking at the load boards, that he can probably get more money to run the same load. Right, and that's possible. So if I argue that my shipper wants to be at this number first off, the carrier doesn't believe it's my shipper. They think I'm trying to keep $1,000 of this load. Pay them 1,700. And I'm getting billed like 2700. Is what they think is happening.

Speaker 2: 36:35

Right, what I've got to do is to get the message it would be, but the reality is like. I've got to get the reality to them and just like we talk about this in prospecting, if it's me versus you and there's two people, there's just a high likelihood, if we disagree that there's conflict, like if you're in a disagreement with one person. They rarely ever get resolved. Those people walk away thinking the other person didn't listen and they're right. That's almost how they always work. If you really believe in this and the number you got to get to run your load for a truck driver is close to their heart. Right, like this is their literal sweat and effort that they're going to go in their time to make money. They want to get paid what they're worth, and rightfully so, right. So if I argue he should get paid less, he's not going to agree with me and there's a standstill and we don't get anywhere. What I do is I use a third-party situation. Hey, listen, paul. Hey, you're right. I'd love to get you as close to two grand on this as possible. To be honest, I talked to two other carriers that this really fits in their schedule and they think they can be at like 17, 1750. Again, I know it's not great, but my customer is really price sensitive on this load. If you, if this really fits for you, let me know if you could match that or beat it. I'd love to be able to work with you. But if not, maybe we'll find another one. And that's true, right, because my customer will probably pay me more over time and if this does work, I will pay that carrier more. It's just this first situation. I got to make work to be able to show my customer I can bring in a good carrier for a very fair rate to get the next opportunity right. So I'll probably do that a dozen or 15 times every day.

Speaker 2: 38:08

Now the load, from my shipper's point of view, hasn't notified yet. It's not even ready to pick up. This is the time that experienced brokers don't have to spend to work the market on a load they might not get. In fact, if I'm coaching an experienced broker, I'm teaching them not to do this, because this is where their time gets wasted. You do it early on, you don't do it later, but when you're getting new customers, this is where you take this time. And also, by the way, even if I don't move this load, what else I learned from this is where that market really is. What is the bottom? What will carriers actually run this for? And, more importantly, I got a whole list of MCs, of vetted carriers that even if I don't move this load this week for that customer, the likelihood is my customer will probably have that load next week and I already got 10 people I can call, so it's not wasted, even if I don't get the load.

Speaker 1: 38:53

And the same way that we talk about your first 500 cold calls, that, even though the goal is to get business, the reality is the benefit is that you're growing that muscle and you're finding your voice and you're just getting reps in. The same thing goes with this back and forth quoting process with customers. Fourth quoting process with customers you get to realize you know, and not even just the customer or the lane, but the person themselves. You kind of get to know what they're if they say, if they say it this way. You know there's probably some flexibility here, cause I know that when I talked to Jimmy, or whatever you called him, he's always going to start off with a ridiculously low number and it's going to end up coming up a little bit Right. Or and the same thing like with the carriers right.

Speaker 2: 39:35

So I got to get the carrier down a little bit to where market is and I got to and I'll be honest with the carriers like, well, okay, it's a new customer, it's a one-off load, I got to help them with this. But if this lane works for you, I'm going to go back to the customer and see if you could run it every week, if this works for you, and I'm going to fight for that carrier, which is true, which is what they want at a fair rate. Help me out on this one and I want to be able to work you in at better rates as we move on and we build trust, right, okay, so let's say I get one or two options over the past couple of days where I'm at $1,750, right, the low median carrier said that would work on it if the dates match up. Okay, great. Now back to Jimmy at the shipper. Hey, jimmy got a couple guys lined up. I got them real close. Remember, I'm paying $1,750. I'm starting Jimmy at $1,900, maybe $1,950. Jimmy, I got a couple options at $1,950. If this load notifies today, we can probably pick it up tomorrow. Let me know if anything changes on your end. Again, he still doesn't have the load with me. I am showing him to our earlier point.

Speaker 2: 40:37

This is my resume, jimmy. I'm hustling my ass off for you, jimmy. I'm making phone calls for a load I don't have. Jimmy, I'm negotiating in your best interest, on your behalf, for free, and I'm going to do that every day. I'm going to call Jimmy every day that I'm doing this, giving him feedback, letting him know what I found and again, seeing and getting him. What I'm doing is I'm getting him used to right. I'm creating a bias where he's used to hearing not the 17, but the reality. I'm literally training him on what he thinks he's going to pay and what he's actually going to pay. And that is a very valuable type thing ringing a bell and making his mouth water right, ring, ring, ring until you condition somebody into what you think it's going to be right. The other thing I'm getting in return is, every time I'm doing this, jimmy's probably going to tell me something else when I'm on the call with him. Oh, hey, this one's still not notified, but we might have another one coming around the bend next week for this load. Hey, I might be working on this. Just keep a heads up. I'm building little crumbs of information that helped me learn more about the shipper and I'm building some lanes and some carriers that are really good fits for this potential lane right. So I'm building this scenario. I'm getting Jimmy used to this right.

Speaker 2: 41:45

Now comes the moment of truth. To your point Load notifies, email goes out right Like again, what is my competition? They all sent one rate the first time Jimmy sent this load out 2,100 bucks across the board. Give or take right. I'm telling Jimmy every day. I can get real close to a 17, but that is more of a fair rate, not rock bottom. So Jimmy now has a choice Do I send the load to the guys I trust and pay 200 bucks or do I give Ben a shot to see if he can actually do this? Meanwhile, ben has been telling him every day the carriers he's talking to, giving him feedback, letting him know they're out of service percentage, the quality of the carrier and where I think I can be right.

Speaker 1: 42:23

Yeah, because I wanted to add in you mentioned you've trained him on where that market rate is over and over, and I know you mentioned you told him hey, jimmy, this is what I'll do for you every day.

Speaker 1: 42:35

But Jimmy's going to realize from the experience of dealing with you over the past few days that it's responsive, it's quick, it's very detailed, it's a lot of information, that you're not just blowing smoke and sending a rate out. He's going to experience that and the way that you make somebody feel is going to resonate and they're going to remember that more than an email or words that you speak on a phone call. It's the way that Jimmy's going to feel like, exactly Like Ben will take care of the shipment for me, right, or at least that's the goal. If you do it properly, right, If you, if your, if your communication skills suck or your you know your phone etiquette is not very good, then you know you should probably sharpen up on those things. But if you do this properly, you're going to build rapport, like in a indirect way, that it's like planting a seed that will quickly, like yield a massive harvest yes, you're throwing in miracle.

Speaker 1: 43:26

Grow onto your seed think about any relationship that you've got, whether it's business related or friends, or it's something that you're a service you pay for, like lawn care is. One that I love is I've switched lawn care services multiple times until I found the company that not they weren't the cheapest, but it was. I knew that they would take care of me Right. I was able to build up a relationship with the individual, and they're not even the one necessarily that's going to be cutting the lawn, but I know they're going to run a good company and take care of you, so it's that experience that's going to go a long way, yep.

Speaker 2: 43:59

And it's like you think. I think about it like this, like what can I control and what can I influence? What I can control is my effort and my energy right. What I sound like, what I say, how often I pick up the phone, who I'm calling, when I'm calling them. Those are all within my control, right? What is outside my control directly but I can influence? I can influence a rate and a little bit right Percentages, small percentages, in either direction. I can influence my shipper's rate, hopefully up right. I can influence my carrier, hopefully in line with where the market needs to be to get this load moved right. Those are what I can influence.

Speaker 2: 44:36

What else I'm influenced to this conversation is my whole resume, right, like people want to work with people that work hard and care about what they're working on right. So every day, even though I'm not moving a load, I am giving Jimmy the impression that I'm not only going to work this hard. When he gives me freight, I'm willing to do it to win it, to earn it right. I will out hustle every one of my competition, right, because that's within my control. I'll answer that phone when he calls. I'll get back to him when he needs me to. I'm not going to send him an email and wait for his response. I'm going to get aggressive on both sides to go and make this situation happen, and that is a very big difference between some people and other people. Right, the people that tend to excel in anything in life are the ones that go and take what they want and go and get it right.

Speaker 2: 45:23

Yeah, yes, literally right, that's where this comes from right Through the day yeah, If you're going to sit on your ass and wait for it to come to you, it never will right, and you're going to wonder all day long what could have been if you would have actually put this effort in right.

Speaker 1: 45:36

So I want to add this in here towards the tail end is that we can tell you like, ben, you gave a great role play with your calls to our fake guy Jimmy. Right, we can tell you the things to say, we can tell you when to do things. The reality is, if you don't actually apply the information that we give you in the correct way, it's not going to do anything for you, and we know the majority of you won't. And that's fine. Maybe you just like like listening to us, but be the one who actually applies this stuff and does it over and over and over until you craft it in your own way. Because I can guarantee you the average freight broker will not apply this stuff, will not follow up the 12 times it takes, will not call that shipper every single day. You will stand out from a sea of weak swimmers if you just do this stuff. So please, by all means do it.

Speaker 2: 46:31

I'm going to finish. There's one more point too, on the final negotiation. And then I'm going to finish. There's one more point too, on the final negotiation. Then I'm going to come back to this. Right, but the quote I read this morning that was exactly to your point. It says amateurs focus on the outcome, the money where they want to go. Professionals focus on the process. Right, doing this, getting better at this over and over, all day long, is going to get you far further than spending all your day trying to find a whale that you're going to close to make a million dollars right Now. Final step right.

Speaker 2: 46:56

So now I got a couple of carriers. They're within the low end range. They're good carriers. This lane fits for them and it could work. Jimmy's load goes right Now. Here's where the pieces that I think very few people do when I call Jimmy and I go Jimmy, saw your load just went up. Look, I've got a carrier in hand right now that can pick up the load tomorrow morning. You said I got three days. I empty the night before. He's going to be 50 miles away. No problem being there by the time. You guys open to load first and to get this off your dock. Guy needs to be at 1950. Jimmy, I got them on my other line. What do you want to do? This is the most important piece, right? Most people say that rate or email it and wait to hear. I'm going to make Jimmy stand at the fork of the road of these two decisions.

Speaker 1: 47:50

Time sensitive. I got a truck, it meets all your requirements.

Speaker 2: 47:56

I know it's got to be at least as close or probably a little below what you're getting quoted from everyone else. I have him right now. Now Jimmy's choice are let this truck go and see if one of his other incumbent brokers comes in at a lower rate that day or tomorrow, or he takes the truck with a new guy and I make him make that decision on the spot. So as soon as I asked that question, I hit mute on my phone because I don't want to say anything. And even when I want to say something, I don't want to say something. I'm using silence to leverage his decision. Now he's got a choice to make right and I'm intentionally going to up that number at first right, even if I think I can do it at 19 and pay 17,. I'm telling him 1950. Because the other thing I'm trying to understand is where can Jimmy really go on these?

Speaker 2: 48:40

I know Jimmy's telling me 17, but when it push comes to shove and he's got no other choice but either call it or not call it, I'll know what the truth is. He'll either him haul and tell me yes, let me get approval, you hold on, I may check with my boss Now. I know he needs approval with that number Okay, that's valuable. Or if he goes, send it Now, I know next week he can go to 1950, right Now it's about me versus the competition, not me versus Jimmy, and I make him make the decision on the spot, under duress, in a scenario he doesn't want to be in. He wants everyone to use email so he can pick whatever he wants whenever he wants. I want to take that off of his plate and not allow him to operate the way he wants to, but I've already built the trust, by doing this every day, that I've earned the ability to call him on this situation in a scenario where he has to answer me.

Speaker 1: 49:32

Because he might tell you. He might tell you, like I just can't Right, you gave him everything he wants except for price.

Speaker 1: 49:45

And then you know that, okay it. You know, we know that his ability to flex and it might. And that could lead to a conversation down the road where you're like, hey, that truck that I had at that price, do you guys ever have flexibility on that, or is this being set by your department, by your boss? Do you guys ever have exactly the policy? And then you can start to find out all this other stuff as time goes on.

Speaker 2: 49:59

But there is always a take on your situation and, to that point, right. If he says no, right, my follow-up is hey, no worries. Like I said, jimmy, the only reason I'm asking is, like this carrier really hits all your marks, is really kind of below market. This lane really fits Out of curiosity. At what number could you make work for somebody like this to run this for you every week? Or is it every week? You want the cheapest truck and it could be one of the two. No, to be honest, right now we're just trying the cheapest truck because the dates don't matter when we load.

Speaker 2: 50:31

Okay, now I know what I'm dealing with. Every time he sends a quote, I've learned so much about how he's negotiating. Which of it is posturing and just bullshit negotiating tactics. What is the truth? What are his abilities? What does he need overrides on to go to what numbers? I learned a tremendous amount in this short window that normally, if you're just emailing rates, it might take you six months to learn half of what I can learn in four days doing something like this. Right, and again, even if I lose the load, I don't give a shit because I know how much time I can spend and what I can get back for that time, because that's all just margin. And now that I understand Jimmy's margin and his authority to approve it, it tells me how much effort I need to put into every one of Jimmy's loads for this particular freight market cycle. Things get tighter. That changes, lanes change, these things change. But right now I at least know how to go play poker against Jimmy every time. We're going to sit there every week for the near term.

Speaker 1: 51:28

And take your notes and log them in your CRM All of them, right, because you can't remember everything that you're thinking or that you have a conversation about, so write this stuff down. Good stuff, what anything else on this topic? We could do like a three part series on this, for sure.

Speaker 2: 51:52

But we can. And it's not really to this topic, but it kind of is, because you alluded to it a minute ago and I wanted to cover that before we covered this. Right, and this is just stuff that like things that I learned about myself or was reminded about Right, and it like I heard this again in a podcast like a couple of weeks ago. Right, and it was just something everybody's heard. Right, 80% of success is showing up. Right, and I think that is so often overlooked. Right, because I can't tell you how many people we've worked with from Freight360, coaching clients directly worked with from Freight360, coaching clients directly worked with. Right that like to be honest, they're not putting the time in and they're struggling to find an easy solution and the reality is is like in this industry, yes, some people can do it part-time if you can find the right commodity, niche or the right customer, but the reality is is like if you're going to do this well and you're going to be good at it, the advantage to getting business is the hustle. Trucks are trucks, service is service and communication is communication. And everybody that comes in the industry goes how do I differentiate myself? Because I'm competing basically with all commodities and that's true. The differentiator is your personality, your energy and your hustle right. So if you're starting by only working 30% of every day and doing other things right, like somebody, that is the experience and the hustle is going to beat you every single day, up market or down market, and the realization for me is I'm getting back into like really doing this with most of my effort, right Outside of what we do with the show is, that was the biggest thing I fixed this year to go be successful in this market was I didn't start looking at the prospects.

Speaker 2: 53:24

I didn't look at my goals. I didn't look at my money. I looked at how many hours I spent every day prospecting and how many hours a day I'm awake, and I started by working with my wife and looking at my schedule and going. I need more. How did I do this in a shitty market at TQL against 5,000 internal competition? I outworked everybody Like you get there earlier, you stay later. So, like the first thing I did was open this window and I mean like just in these few more hours, I'm adding in the morning, right Of starting at six in the morning instead of starting. You know, when I dropped my daughter off, I'm getting all of my lead generation, all of my prospecting work, all of my admin stuff that takes up the time away from calling, done by the time like the market's open, before shippers are really there eight or nine right. That stuff's off my plate, which means now I can focus on this from eight until five. Right, take a break for lunch, maybe a call here or there.

Speaker 2: 54:15

But this is really what I feel is the effort or the time that you've got to put into this if you really want to win, because the market's huge right Up or down, it doesn't matter, right. It's $800 billion. The largest brokerage in the country has a fraction of this right. The largest trucking company in the country has a fraction of it. You don't need all of it. It doesn't matter if it's going from $700 to or 750 to 650. You need a few million dollars over a few couple of years.

Speaker 2: 54:42

Right, and it's doable if the energy and the effort are there. Right, if you've got a keen interest in the outcome, patience and you work on your processes every day, you out, hustle the other people in scenarios like we talked about today. You add customers and we have clients that are doing this right. I had a few clients this year, right In January and February, ate shit, their claims fraud issues and they're having a difficult time. I have other clients that focused on prospecting last fall in preparation for this and when some of their big customers started tanking in January, and in February they're adding three, four, five a week. We have one client you know this guy Tanner. They fell off with a large customer at the end of last year. They doubled, tripled and quadrupled their weekly goals this year in the past two months, right. So again.

Speaker 1: 55:31

There's nobody out there in this market right now doing this.

Speaker 2: 55:35

So anybody out there saying you can't get customers, I can't get lanes, nobody wants to pay, to be honest, you're probably not trying hard enough and you're probably not spending enough time doing the things you should be, because, if you are, people out there are getting results right now, and I wouldn't put all this effort into it if I didn't think that it was truly there. So to me, I think that's a real big takeaway for everyone out in the market doing this and trying to hustle.

Speaker 1: 55:57

Yep, if you don't apply the things that you learn, you will not get the results. It's that simple For sure. Great episode, man. That was pretty much a Ben solo episode. I was just kind of the color commentator. But good stuff, All right. Any final thoughts?

Speaker 2: 56:14

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

Speaker 1: 56:17

You're right, and until next time, go Bills.

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Freight 360
Freight 360

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