Selling & Success in Freight Brokerage | Final Mile 50

Freight 360

July 2, 2024

Nate, Ben, & Stephen answer your freight brokering questions and discuss:

  • Tips to Succeed in Freight Brokering
  • How to Find Leads
  • How to Get a Shipper on the Phone
  • Changes in How Money Moves

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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:19

Welcome back everyone for another edition of the Final Mile where we answer all your questions. We've pulled them off of YouTube comments from our direct emailed in questions, so continue to send those our way and please take a moment to check out the sponsors in the description box to help support this channel Quickscope, levity, blue Book Services and DAT and check out the Freight Broker Basics course on our website,, if you'd like a full-length option for education to get your brokerage started and grow it successfully. Four questions today and we've got. Let's go with the first one here. I'm a new broker looking for insights on how to retain the brokerage and be successful. Pretty, pretty vague question, but I thought it was. I put this one in here because I wanted to retrain, or is it retain?

Speaker 2: 1:13

I think they meant retrain, because when I read it I wasn't sure what they were asking.

Speaker 1: 1:17

Either way, I would say here is a good some best overall like high level best practices on how to be successful in this industry is kind of the way that I would look at it, and between the three of us here we won't go too deep into it, but we probably all have a little bit different perspective on um the best way to succeed in this industry. So I'll uh, I'll, give some of my tips and then we'll go Ben to you and then Steven, I think, in any business to be successful. I'm big on communication and your long-term vision. So I would say, don't go into. If you're going to start a brokerage, or if you have one started and you're looking to grow it. Know what's in front of you.

Speaker 1: 2:01

Look high on your steering is something that we used to say at Conway Freight Not just five meters in front of you, but look out 300 feet, 500 feet. So how does that turn into freight brokerages? Look out six, 12 months from now, also three, five years from now. If you start a brokerage and you're in a certain market cycle, it is going to change inevitably. So I would tell you, my tip would be to, you know, have that mindset of it's going to change and because of that I need to always make sure that my pipeline is full and the activity is going in to be able to account for turnover in business and things of that nature. Ben, what would you say? I'm assuming you're going to go more of the practical and the trenches activity.

Speaker 2: 2:46

I think that's really important. What you said, right, and I'll throw a proverb out there, right, which is like if you know why you're doing it, you can endure anyhow. You want to really understand why you want to build a business, of any business of any type for any reason, right, like knowing why you want to do it helps you when the days and things get hard and difficult and you're going to be frustrated and not want to right, being able to remind yourself why you're in this I think to your point is that vision where we want to go, why do we want to go there is vital to anybody starting a company. And then I think you know, once you have that at least answered for yourself, and that changes over time. Like it could start for this reason in two years it could change, like it doesn't need to stay the same the entirety of your career and whatever it is. But I think to tie that into like some practical things, right, like I was talking with a guy yesterday, a good friend of mine, who sells lots of businesses. He's been doing it for like 30 years and the thing we were both talking about is like there's kind of a blueprint to do most things and like once you realize it, like if you just consistently do that thing every day, like I have never seen anybody in our industry I've told this story a lot like that makes calls every day, follows up in the ways that we explain, meaning following up every week. Shorten that up as you get a better relationship. But like the basics, like what are you doing every day? Meaning like you should be making at least 60 to 70 outbound phone calls and you should be adding to your leads every week as you get rid of the ones that you've worked out. Right, if your output is, I would say, averaging 80 calls a day over every single week and you were following up in ways that we've discussed in other videos and content right.

Speaker 2: 4:23

Like as to maybe some more specifics, like I've never seen anybody not end up with customers and to some degree, find success. Whether they keep growing and enjoy it, that's one thing. Whether they get some success and decide it's not for them and leave, like those are all personal choices, but I mean being able to work at like a large brokerage. When I started like I saw thousands of brokers and hundreds would be turning over every few months and like you see the same thing over and over. Like I could pull a report any given week and tell you what was the most likely person to not have a job in six months and who was the likely person to have real customers. They all have the exact same thing in common, which is simple output. They make more phone calls, they talk to more people, they follow up more. That's how you get customers, and I think most people, when they've hired us in the past like I've had so many clients that we've even turned down the go they expect us to give them like the easy route or the easy button.

Speaker 2: 5:17

Like give me the magic phrase to say that all customers say yes and give me freight. Like there isn't one of those in any industry. What there is is the guidance of what to do, to set up your habits every day. If you do those things, you'll get sales. And then to your point, nate, like you got to focus and make sure you have procedures in place for what you're going to do after that, write them down, share those with your team.

Speaker 2: 5:39

Everybody should be on the same page with what is the simple things that happen the steps to dispatch a load, all the way through invoicing right. Everybody should know who's responsible for what. There should be no ambiguity or gray area and who's responsible for what aspect of anything in your business. It should be written down and it needs to be shared often and reminded until people remember it. Giving somebody a training manual for a week when they start does not help them three months because they are not remembering that. You need to keep reminding your team who's responsible for what and bringing this up until it becomes second nature. Right, the most successful companies do this very well. They call it culture, the ones that don't fall apart because nothing's holding them together, it's just the hope of money at some point, and nobody really even understands how and what they're doing with each other, let alone working as like a cohesive unit or a company. So yeah, steven, what do you?

Speaker 1: 6:34

got to add.

Speaker 3: 6:35

Yeah, I was going to say I mean, the biggest thing that I've seen is in this industry. It's I mean, it's a hustle industry. It's a hustle. You're just grinding hours and hours, especially in the beginning, and the feedback that dopamine from getting a new customer or moving that first load or whatever, is so few and far between, especially in the beginning, that you need to establish a way in which you can take a break from that that's not detrimental to your progress but gives you a little bit of a break to not feel like you're grinding and hustling every single hour of every day.

Speaker 1: 7:09

Agreed. Yeah, the burnout's real for sure. All right, we used to.

Speaker 2: 7:15

I was just going to say I wouldn't recommend this and I wouldn't do this now, but back in the day we like we all drank coffee and smoked cigarettes Like that was literally the reason to leave the office. I'm like I don't even really like smoking. After a while I'm like I remember, like I'm like I'm just going to go walk around, but it just gave you an excuse to get away from your desk, talk to some people about other things, whatever life, and then go back a little bit fresher, wrenching your face off. Underrated. Very helpful to do periodically to just keep you focused and to give yourself a break. Great point.

Speaker 1: 7:46

All right. Next question this kind of spins right into it is I'm a new broker, how do I find leads to call? So I'm going to I'll rattle some off here and we these are kind of like doctrinal ones that we use over and over in our content. It's not all-encompassing. We have a ton of full-length content on this. If you just go to our website and look up lead generation or how to find shippers, you'll see this stuff. But everyday items, everything around you. Most likely the majority of it was shipped on a truck. That'll give you some ideas.

Speaker 1: 8:15

Referrals look at your BOL, see where you're delivering to ask customers for other customer referrals. There's plenty of databases out there, like your Blue Book Services, zoom Info, seamlessai, chamber of Commerce, hoover's Internet, google. You can use ChatGPT now to generate a bunch of leads for you. Chatgpt give me the top 50 steel manufacturers in the United States. Boom, you're going to have a whole bunch of them come out that way. Linkedin is great. Trade shows, networking and organizational databases of member directories they're endless, right? So I think that the takeaway here is don't try to do all of them all at once. Find what works for you and you can do it efficiently, and that's probably a good place to start. What would you add, then, or at least how to do it the right way?

Speaker 2: 9:07

I think what you I mean, those are great places to look at. I think the two things that I add I was just training someone on this yesterday is I also look for like larger trends in the whole economy, like things in the news, things that tend to be happening across the whole industry, because that gives me like a whole group of leads to go after. Right, and, like I've said this a lot but like like 2017, when there were steel tariffs like that affected the whole steel industry and I don't care if it goes up or down, I just care that it changes. The lanes are changing for those shippers, because where they're buying things and selling them is changing. That creates opportunity, right. Anytime there's change happening across the whole industry, to me, that's a good indication that there's some opportunity to get some new customers. And the other thing I think is and we talk about this in an episode prospecting with a purpose. It's how you're grouping your leads and making sure they're grouped together in a way that you're not calling random companies in one day, like talking to an orange grower, then a steel company, then this, because it's really hard to learn from any one of those phone calls and apply it to the next. So when you're pulling the leads from these sources, like to me, I think you should pick that target and then pull like 100 or 150 leads in that niche, work those for a week or two, see what you learn and then determine if you're going to add another one and then maybe add the second, maybe you add a third and maybe you drop the first one because there weren't as many opportunities as you thought they were. Once you actually have conversations with some of these shippers as to what they're experiencing and I think you know.

Speaker 2: 10:37

The only other thing I would add is, like, the execution of the leads meaning, like I know, this is where you find them. You can also find them anywhere, like Google, chat, gpt, to just get some ideas as to what a good target is. Executing them takes time. You got to go into those apps you talked about, like Seamless AI or Apollo or Zoom Info and maybe LinkedIn, and some of them are expensive. Some are cheaper but it takes time in and some of them are expensive. Some are cheaper but it takes time.

Speaker 2: 11:03

And what I want to point out about finding leads is it should be the only thing you're doing when you're doing that task. You shouldn't be doing this, then calling, then doing this, because you're not going to really improve at finding leads. Finding leads is like doing research kind of like when you're in college or when you're writing a paper. You spend all of your time reading and looking for places. It gets you better at finding them. So I think the more you block that out and treat it as a really vital aspect of building your book of business, you should be blocking out an hour or two at the very least every week at first, probably every day, to just literally spend two hours finding them, adding them to your CRM, not just calling them once and trying to remember who you're going to call next week.

Speaker 1: 11:43

Yeah, and that brings up a good point. I'm going to actually I'm going to read off another question that we had here, because it kind of ties in is how can I get someone on the phone when every company seems to have a phone answering system? So, like this is something that I did a calling session recently with somebody and, and you'll see, like how every company handles like getting through their phone system and through the gatekeeper. They're all a little bit different, but they're all kind of designed in somewhat of a similar way where they're trying to prevent unnecessary calls coming into people whose time is important, right, and our goal is just the opposite. We want to, we want to be the one that gets through that, and it could be a phone tree where you're talking to an automated system press one for this or another extension. It could just be an operator, it could be a receptionist or anything along those lines, and it is hard to get into or to get to the right person. So the couple of tips that I would give, and then I'll turn it to you guys and see what you're using tactically. But some of the systems that we just mentioned, like Apollo, zoom, info, make sure that you're doing your research to try and get the extension of the person, if you can, or a cell phone number, if you can, because that'll help you.

Speaker 1: 12:58

Another thing too if you talk to a human being and you could just say hey, I think I got sent to the wrong place. I was looking for a gym over in transportation, could you give me his extension please? Because if you just get transferred, you don't know that person's extension. To call them direct. If you can get their extension, boom, now you know right where to go next time. But a lot of times they're like ah, like no, I'll transfer you through. You can leave them a message because they're smart enough. Another way too, is to bypass the gatekeeper. Go around the gatekeeper, find another department to get you redirected. Like, call someone in accounting who doesn't know that you're trying to, you know, make a sales call or a prospecting call or a salesperson for all that matter, to try and get you over to the transportation. That way you're not getting a general logistics or traffic department gatekeeper there. But what would you add in addition there?

Speaker 2: 13:44

I'm going to add one and I'm going to kick this, stephen. I try to think about the phone system Just like you said. They're not the same but they're fairly similar in what they're designed to do. Well, who gets the most prospecting calls? Executives, logistics they're usually the harder part to go through. But that phone system is also designed in a way just like a gatekeeper. It's not just that they keep people out, they also have to let the most important people through, otherwise they upset customers. So what phone calls and what numbers or departments do they want? Less friction? Accounts, payable, like you said. Accounting If you're calling to pay a bill, they don't want you holding them, they want you directly to whoever so they can take that money.

Speaker 2: 14:26

Service Right, If there's a service line, like someone's usually answering that right. And then to your point, like I usually just play like there's two ways they frame this is like the shy little kid or like the confused old man. But I'm just like, hey, like, and I intentionally like, kind of stutter when I ask, and I'm just like I'll tell you what. Paul, can you maybe give me a hand? I am having a hell of a time trying to find an extension for? And then I dropped the name for the guy in logistics and I'm like, do you think you could maybe just find that for me? And if they go, yeah, I'll transfer? I go, hey, hold on Before you transfer me, just in case I get dropped, can I write that Now I have it forever right. One phone call gets me most of what I need, usually to be able to get transferred directly to that person.

Speaker 3: 15:09

Steven, what do you got? Yeah, that's usually my take is if I can't get through, because a lot of the new systems that I've come across are into the first three letters of the last name or the first name, and they never work.

Speaker 3: 15:21

Oh my gosh, it never works. So then I'll go, I'll look at the LinkedIn and I'll look at who's in accounting, who's in billing Cause obviously these people aren't going to be on that list and I'll put in their name. I'll be like look, I just got transferred here from somebody in another department. This is who I'm trying to get ahold of, just like you said, yep. And it's through the gatekeeper go around the gatekeeper and then especially talking to other salespeople for that company. Usually they want to break from their calls too.

Speaker 1: 15:48

Oh yeah, and you can learn so much about their company too, yeah.

Speaker 3: 15:51

Yeah, so you can learn what, where they're selling to or who they're selling to, and then that's just more stuff to put in your back pocket when you get to your person you want to talk to.

Speaker 2: 15:58

Yeah, he's answering all the calls. They're not. They're not screwing in anybody that comes and wants to buy something from them or pay a bill.

Speaker 3: 16:05

The last thing I wanted to say, going back to the previous question about leads, is when new people come here, the first thing I always ask them is what are your hobbies, what are your interests? And so, for example, they say, like football. It was like, okay, what does it take to play football? You need a helmet, you need a Jersey, you need cleats. Who makes all that stuff? Where do they get the product from? Find the companies, do your research, something that they're interested in and then find your leads that way, and then we can talk about other things.

Speaker 1: 16:36

Had a guy years ago that moved turf for artificial turf for sports complexes. Really cool, really cool. But hey, that's a pretty niche if you're a big sports person. Our last question I kind of feel like they thought we were stockbrokers, but I brought up a good point to talk about finance. So it said do you see changes coming as trade settles with the advent of crypto like XRP I think? That's Ripple that settles instantly, versus using letters of credit, which takes time to settle? Um, this was a youtube comment. I almost feel like they're probably like, oh, something with brokers. That's probably stockbrokers, but I had. I wanted to at least, uh, have a discussion about how funds move. But did you? I mean, unless I'm missing something in this question, do you guys see anything in here that's freight brokerage related or no?

Speaker 2: 17:26

no, but I mean it is an applicable point, right of just. It could be a use case in our industry for sure.

Speaker 1: 17:34

So so the thought I had here is this like we are a cash flow business and there are still some old school like I shouldn't even say some there's a lot of like paper checks being sent in the mail. Like every single day we have the mail comes and they do a check run to get all the checks that came in to the bank so they can get deposited and clear, so those funds are available, so that we can pay our carriers. Um, some brokerages send checks out to their carriers, some do ACH, but our banking system is evolving to a point where I think it's isn't like either this year or next year. They're supposed to basically have like almost instant depositing and verification of like transactions through. So you're not like, if I'm going to wire money to you, to your company, it shouldn't take three days anymore, and it does Like right now it takes like three days unless you pay extra money, and it's like same day, right.

Speaker 1: 18:34

But I do think that this, when we get to a place when money moves faster, almost instantly, you're going to really see the muddying of waters on days to pay is going to be gone. You can't have that. Oh, you know we, uh, we sent, you know we've, we've, we've scheduled the wire. It should hit in like three to four days, like if customers are slow paying, they're just straight up slow paying, there's no excuses. And same thing with carriers. Um, if you want a quick pay, you can. You'll literally be able to do an instant quick pay, like almost like you're zelling somebody money, and that'll be a huge value add.

Speaker 1: 19:04

I think, versus hey versus hey. I can do an EFS check if you want it instantly, but it's going to come with a fee because they have to have a processing fee. Versus hey, I can schedule an ACH to you. You'll get it in three days. I think the way that money moves will be a value add. It's also going to be probably a vulnerability if you think back to our little cybersecurity conversation on the last episode. But what do you think? I mean, do you think there's any takeaway here on how the movement of money will impact our industry? Cause I mean, we were just a big bank that helps move trucks.

Speaker 2: 19:39

Yeah, Like the two first things I have in mind is like not everybody wants the money to move faster. A lot of the reason that companies require or make checks sent is to buy the extra few days to keep their money in the account. So like not always, yeah, the best for both sides. The other thing, too is like I haven't looked into what XRP's ability to settle instantly is.

Speaker 1: 20:04

It's just a crypto.

Speaker 2: 20:05

It's a crypto, yeah, but historically, the number of transactions that it could hold in the processing time was like a factor of like a thousand slower than like what currently our normal system does. Like it couldn't handle the volume or the speed anywhere near as fast as what we can do in the traditional system, and that was a lot of the pushback with crypto over the past few years is like yeah, there's some pros to it, there's also cons. But one is like it's not as effective as a means to transfer money as the traditional system in a lot of ways because the speed per transaction was just much slower than like what an Amex could basically do. Like it was exponentially slower. And again, maybe XRP's ability to settle instantly is why they're asking the specific question, because it hadn't been that was an issue. The other thing is like they talk about crypto and like to me there's some other issues. One is that like you don't know your customer, you don't know where you're sending it, there's more opportunity for fraud because you don't have a bank that is regulated where the money's going. So it does make crime actually easier to facilitate in some ways.

Speaker 2: 21:16

And like I've read a bit on it and like the FBI, the one thing is like they're like yeah, like that's true, but also there's an immutable record, meaning like once it goes to somebody and then goes to someone else, you never can get rid of that thing, that happened, that transaction, which means once they catch somebody they can find everything they've ever done, because it's literally like basically written in stone, Like there's just this record of any money they've ever handled.

Speaker 2: 21:46

So like I don't know. I just know that a lot of my friends and a lot of the guys that work in banking still in finance, are like it's just not better than what we have and there's no real reason to transition to something different that isn't better than what we currently have. But you're right, Like ACH is for a reason, like automated clearinghouse. It takes three days because that money goes to a federal reserve, I believe, and then goes to the bank you're sending it to, and that's for the protection of the money transfer, not just to make it longer. It's so they can verify things on both ends, right.

Speaker 1: 22:15

Yeah, I mean the sending bank and the receiving bank, and then I think, think, is it the clearinghouse?

Speaker 3: 22:24

in the middle that's got a. Yeah, they're all involved. That's why it takes correct as long as it takes. So, but isn't. Isn't crypto like the value of?

Speaker 1: 22:27

crypto really volatile. Yeah, I mean, that's a whole nother part of it. I think just the technology of it is kind of where I took the question. But yeah, I don't think crypto is going to be, because the one thing one thing I'm getting paid from a customer.

Speaker 3: 22:40

The one thing I would hate is, like we agreed to like 2000 and then I get a deposit and that thing is now worth 50 bucks, yeah. So it's like is it Just give me cash? That's cool.

Speaker 1: 22:52

Yep, us dollars, baby. All right, good questions. Keep sending them our way and we will. We will keep answering them. Final thoughts Steven got any final thoughts?

Speaker 3: 23:03

Nope, just keep tuning in. We love talking to you guys. The comments are great. I like interacting with everyone on there, so it's fun. Yeah, agreed, ben.

Speaker 2: 23:12

Whether you believe you can or believe you can't you're right, and until next time.

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