This is How You Get Customers as a Freight Broker! | Final Mile 47

Freight 360

June 11, 2024

Nate Cross & Ben Kowalski answer your freight brokering questions and discuss:

  • What kinds of shippers do freight brokers prospect?
  • Building a carrier network as a new broker
  • Double broker signs

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

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

Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:19

All right, it's another Q&A session here on the final mile. We answer all of your questions. So YouTube comments great way to ask questions, facebook group great way to ask questions, info at or the contact field on our website Great way to get a hold of us and we will do our best to answer your questions. Make sure you check out our website and the Freight Broker Basics course If you're looking for an educational option on how to start a brokerage, the playbook to grow it, build a carrier and customer network, hire folks all that good stuff. And please take a moment to check out the sponsors in the description box or the Whether it's the episode, show notes on podcast or description box on YouTube. Our partnership with the sponsors helps us continue to bring all of you listeners this content at no cost.

Speaker 1: 1:15

All right, ben, let's get right into it. We got three questions today. The first one this was a direct question from a listener through our website, I believe says as brokers call on shippers and are prospecting for customers, are they finding customers that don't currently have a broker, or do the shippers usually have a broker and you're just trying to replace the current broker? So I did send him a message. I said, short answer is both, but we'll break it down on this episode today. So I'll give a very brief response and I'll let you kind of elaborate.

Speaker 1: 1:54

The reality is, if someone's it's probably very rare that they're not using a broker and you're going to come in and become that broker solution for them, it's possible, right? They might just have a few asset-based companies that they work with and they might be paying more than they need to because they haven't shopped around using a broker. But more likely than not, they're already working with somebody else and you're going to try and come in and be better than that existing broker whether it's service failures, building a better relationship, better communication, maybe you can help find better rates or solutions for them. I would say, if I had to guess, probably 99 percent of the people that you're prospecting, you're trying to win their business from somebody else. It might even be higher than 99 percent. What do you think? What's your experience?

Speaker 2: 2:44

I'd say that's definitely true. Like the overwhelming majority are already working with, in fact, not just one broker, but usually multiple brokers, and the exception of that are usually newer companies that have come into existence in the past two or three years, maybe if it's a company that existed pre-pandemic 2019, 2020, like everyone had so many issues just getting capacity that almost everybody reached out to any broker or any broker that reached out to them. They took their phone call. Yeah, took their phone call and were using them in some capacity. So the vast majority, you're trying to replace somebody or make it onto the team, and that's the analogy I use, like when I'm working with a client on what this looks like.

Speaker 2: 3:30

I'm like the coach already has a full team. I mean like he's got his first team squad of baseball players or basketball players. Whatever the analogy you want to use, your job is to basically hustle next to the field every single day while they practice and play games. So the coach sees you and then inevitably, you don't usually get your shot until one of the starting lineup either gets sick, doesn't show up, makes an error always happen with their A team for them to consider the person on the bench or behind the bench trying to get the coach's attention. That's prospecting. You got to get their attention and then you got to prove to them in any and every way possible that you deserve to be on the team and included, to be able to help like the other people that he or she has trusted forever.

Speaker 1: 4:20

That's a great analogy. I never thought about it like sports, but like, every NFL team has a 53 man roster and your goal during the practice and training season is to try and get on that roster. Yep, you know. Same same goes with like baseball right, you've got the farm systems. A better example right, think about it. If you're, if you're in major league baseball, those are the customers right Now. If you're prospecting a customer, you're in AA or AAA, you're trying to get a spot on the Major League team. Same thing with hockey, with racing, like this stuff. Every sport, right, you're just you're, they're likely.

Speaker 1: 5:02

It's not like, oh, we're just going to create a new, you know, you get the new expansion team and everyone kind of gets a pick of the litter on who they're going to bring in. That's the exception, not the rule. The reality is that you're likely competing against somebody else and this is why I always tell people is, you know, don't be afraid of like conversations that don't go anywhere after three, four calls, anywhere after three, four calls, like, if you're persistent, like some of the best success stories are like, yeah, you know, the 10th time I called them, they, they just had one of their go-tos like slip up. They were pissed off and they were like you know what. You're clearly persistent. Let me give you a shot with this one. And that is like you have the. I mean you're. You work when hard work meets opportunity.

Speaker 2: 5:46

I need the opportunity to happen, like I need somebody to drop the ball or something to go wrong usually. But I am persistent enough that I am standing underneath that hoop for when that basketball doesn't go in, because it's coming right to me, and that's when I've got to show what I said I could show Right. You usually can't create the opportunity. You create the hustle so that when the opportunity happens, you're positioned to be able to help.

Speaker 1: 6:10

Yeah, exactly Great, great answers. Next question I'm struggling to get carriers to work with our new MC, even with attractive payment methods. Can you suggest strategies to help us build better relationships with them? Yes, we have. I would recommend Go watch our full length episode with Des Clark. He we did this was probably from over a year ago now Talked about how he built his brokerage from scratch, and it comes down to old school relationship building. Right, because here's what happens when you're a brand new brokerage the same way that a new customer doesn't have credit history, you don't have credit history or worthiness when it comes to carriers or, even more so, the factoring companies that will tell that carrier if they're going to factor a load for you.

Speaker 2: 7:11

So here's why, too, For anyone out there, most carriers have a factoring company, and all a factoring company is is a credit company. So that factoring company looks at your brokerage and goes there's no credit history, they haven't had enough payments or bills that they've paid for us to know whether or not they'll pay us. So the factoring company goes we're not going to pay a carrier for this brokerage because we have no ability to know what you don't think we're going to get paid getting a credit card when you're 18, right, like?

Speaker 2: 7:39

there's some companies that will, but most of them are like well, like you need some history for us to be able to give you a loan. That's all the factoring company saying. That's why this is usually hard, as well, as there are no reviews on your brokerage and the carrier doesn't know anything because there's no information on you yet.

Speaker 1: 7:54

Yeah. So what I would recommend? So they brought up attractive payment methods. I just want to talk about this. So one of the things that we do recommend is offer better terms, like yeah, I know we're risky because we're new, we're going to pay. You know, most people are paying you in 30 days, maybe 21. We'll pay you in 14. We'll pay you in 10. We'll give you a quick pay of one business day at no cost to you. We'll fund it all up front. And that takes some, obviously, financial investment from you. Or, obviously, if you're using a factoring company yourself, that's where you might be able to do that. But that's the attractive pay option that we've mentioned before.

Speaker 1: 8:31

Now, some other ways it's going to be different. What's important to everybody is going to be a little different. So if a carrier says we can't work with you, you're too new, my response would be well, what would it look like for us to work with you? What would you need to see? And the same thing goes with your conversations with the factoring company. Oh, my factoring company says we can't work with you, you're too new. Okay, can you give me a point of contact there so I can call them and find out what their requirements are and what we would need to do to you know for that to suffice, because I think what I suppose is a lot of new brokers that don't succeed.

Speaker 1: 9:06

For this reason, they're probably not making that call and saying, hey, I understand, we don't meet your normal qualifications. What does that look like? What is there? You know, what can we do to help make you feel comfortable to do business with us? Maybe it's a personal guarantee, maybe it's a look at personal credit from another business that you ran or you know. Maybe they want you to. You know, the same way that people do like pre-funded credit cards. Am I using the word right there?

Speaker 2: 9:37

right, we're like we basically have you build, you're basically prepaid.

Speaker 1: 9:40

Yeah yeah, um, there's different ways. There's no like cookie cutter answer, because it's going to be different for every company and every um owner, operator or trucking company that's out there. But you need to, you need to have the conversation and ask. The reality is some of them might just say like no, we have a minimum, the same way that some brokers say I'm not using a carrier unless their authority is at least this old, Full stop. That is the case for some carriers and some factory companies. But remember, there are hundreds of thousands of carriers that are out there. Someone a lot of them, for that matter are willing to work with you.

Speaker 1: 10:24

If you can find a way to come to terms on what makes both parties feel comfortable, right, we vet carriers out and we might say hey, we normally look for X, Y and Z. Because we can't figure this one out, we're going to ask for D, E and F. It's like, oh, you don't have an inspection history. Well, it's because you're new, so let's find another way to verify that you are real and not a fraudster. Oh, by the way, I worked for four years over at this brokerage. I can give you 10 references for carriers that I worked with. Never had an issue with getting trucks paid on time. Boom right, that's another option. So what's your take outside of that?

Speaker 2: 11:08

I'm going to go even a little higher level, right, because I think you hit everything that I would say. I don't need to repeat it, but I think the bigger takeaway is the same thing. That is true for this question is the same thing that is true for I'm making a lot of phone calls to prospects but I'm not getting customers. The same thing is true Anytime you've ever had somebody tell you no about anything ever. Right To me like and again, this is something that, like, I pay attention to and try to cultivate, but it's like no is just the first response. Okay, well, let me understand why it's a no, right?

Speaker 1: 11:41

What does a four-year-old say when you tell them no?

Speaker 2: 11:43

Why it's so exactly. It's so funny because we were talking about this yesterday. Like my wife and I are saying I'm like I just anything that I actually want to get done. I am going to keep asking until I clearly understand why and why and what else I might be able to do, what other options that no one's thought of, and just try to keep pushing forward until I get to an ultimate no or an ultimate yes. Right, and it's usually four or five attempts with a prospect. It might be 15. It might be a year with a factoring company, it might be two conversations with maybe two different employees.

Speaker 2: 12:18

But I'm going to ask every question and go like well, you framed it, perfect, that's exactly what I'd say hey, what would it look like if we work together? What do you need? What are your requirements, what are your suggested requirements, the things you like to see, the things you need to see? Where are we in both of these lists? And then ask this question is there anything I can do outside of that list that might make this doable? Is there anything you can think of or that I could think of or that we'd be willing to do to maybe make this work?

Speaker 2: 12:47

Because all of the solutions for why you win in anything are on the margins, so that few percentage of chances or things that no one's thinking about. No one's talking about. And if you ask enough questions and you dig far enough, there's usually something there. Maybe it's a deposit for five grand with this factoring company to get those carriers. Maybe with this carrier it's what you said meaning, hey, like I've got a track record as a broker, you can use my references and the other carriers I've worked with to make you feel more comfortable. Maybe that works right. Like I don't care what it is, I'm going to ask enough questions until I can get to the bottom of it and just do that over and over and over again and you will get some. Some you won't get, but you will get far more than doing nothing. That's the important takeaway.

Speaker 1: 13:32

You know. So I had a thought on this. The one thing that always like surprised me is that, like, as brokers, we're required to have a bond which guarantees payment. So I always wondered why, like? Why is there not like hey, show me your bond, we'll verify and validate your bond, and that will at least get us some level of? The bonds are too small.

Speaker 2: 13:52

I think that's why.

Speaker 1: 13:53

Yeah. But if it's yeah, you're right. You're right because it used to even only be $10,000 and now it's $75,000. But, like, if let's say you're brand new, this is your first loan, they're telling you no, it's like this bond is good for $75,000. Correct, like this loan is $1,200. But no, I get it Like is it's very scarce compared to the amount of business that you might do in a month or a week.

Speaker 2: 14:17

And it might not be even credit. It might be that they're worried you're a fraudulent broker and they got burned two weeks ago and that's why they don't right. And again, maybe if they get to know you, you can explain the company, where you're located, where you are. Like we had a scenario where one of the guys in our brokerage literally drove and met the driver and handed him a certified check, like find some solution. I'm not saying that's the one you want to do. I'm just saying there's usually something that can be done if you ask enough questions and really understand why they cannot. And even if it doesn't work with this one this now you're better informed for the next one, you're learning right and now you know what questions to ask, what it might be, what it might not be. You're growing and you're getting better.

Speaker 1: 15:02

For sure. Last question what are signs of double brokering to be aware of? So we'll go through a few Definitely check out. I did a two-part series on this last month. It was how to spot double brokers and then how to prevent them once you've identified them. So I'm going to pull these right from our how to identify them.

Speaker 1: 15:23

So I had five red flags. Number one is no inspection history and it's funny we just brought this up. It doesn't always mean that they're a double broker. But if someone's buying up MC numbers left and right or opening new authorities left and right, no inspection history is going to be a thing, right? If they don't actually have trucks, they're not going to have an inspection history. So that's, it's a red flag. It doesn't mean that you can't have no inspection history and be a legit carrier. It just means that if you're a double broker and you don't have any trucks, you're not going to have an inspection history. So it's not a guarantee, but it's a it's a morning sign Suspiciously high rates. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Or too low to be true, what's that?

Speaker 2: 16:09

Or too low to be true. Somebody's trying to take a low High rates high profit right.

Speaker 1: 16:19

If they're offering to give you a, well, let me give you both sides of it right, because it could be if I'm a broker and a carrier is coming in ridiculously low and my profit is too high, warning sign right, if I'm a carrier and I'm accepting a way too a rate that seems way too high from a broker, because you got to think it happens on both sides, right? So either way, way. If the deal seems too good to be true, that's the takeaway. It doesn't. Yeah, it could be a high rate for one party or too low of a rate for another party, but if it's, if the profit seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Speaker 2: 16:49

Uh, the other that's.

Speaker 2: 16:51

That's what it comes down to the other two easy ones are making sure that you're sending the tender to the verified email address in the FMCSA right Now. That doesn't mean that always works, because sometimes fraudulent people can phish an email and get access to a legitimate email, but most of the fraud is like, instead of it being the domain name, ben at TLC Logistics, it's TLC Logistics logistics at gmail, right like. That's usually a pretty big red flag. That doesn't mean there aren't legitimate carriers with gmail addresses, but this is a common way to catch them. Um, using quick scope, to be honest, I think is one of the best ways to prevent this. Meaning, like the product where you know this carrier does not get the pickup information until that mc on that truck is at the location of your shipper, and to me that's probably the best way to prevent a double brokered load.

Speaker 1: 17:50

Yeah, check out quickscope. There's a link in the description. Um, we're a partner of theirs. My entire company is starting to use it. It's a great per-transaction level tool to use to prevent fraud at the actual transaction level instead of the pre-vetting level. But you named a couple other good ones. Right, we had mismatched contact information. So if the email domain doesn't match suspicious address, like a po box, uh, glendale california for a location. And lastly, just you know, any community reports, whether it's from highway, the tia watchdog list, which is managed by highway.

Speaker 1: 18:28

A lot of excel sheets that get emailed around internal notes in your tms. These are great ways. Yeah, use the tools out there. Definitely, check out Quickscope as an option to help you add an extra layer of protection for a new carrier that you've never done business with, right? Quickscope is great for shippers, brokers and carriers, right, it lets the shipper know that their load's not going to be in the wrong hands. It lets the broker know that their customer shipment will not be in the wrong hands. It lets the carrier know that I'm not being scammed by someone else. It's actually me who's going to get paid for this business, for this load. Good stuff. Check out all of our other stuff on double brokering at our website, We've got two years of double broker content at this point. It's all in there. Keep sending us your questions, we'll answer them. Final thoughts Ben.

Speaker 2: 19:21

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

Speaker 1: 19:25

And until next time go Bills.

About the Author

Freight 360
Freight 360

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

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