What Does a Freight Broker Do in a Week? | Episode 239

Freight 360

April 12, 2024

Dive into the life of a freight broker, where orchestrating daily tasks and strategizing becomes an art, akin to conducting an orchestra. We’ll explore everything from the nuances of starting a brokerage and leveraging an early bird approach for success, to the excitement of merging logistics passion with major sports events like the Masters golf tournament. Along the journey, learn the importance of prioritizing, effective problem-solving, and building a robust network, all while navigating the thrilling world of freight brokering.

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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. This is going to be my final podcast on the road of this little Florida trip, but if you're brand new here, you found us at a great time. This is going to be a very one on one level discussion today on the role of a freight broker and what it's like day in, day out, week in and week out. Make sure to check out all of our other content. If you go to our website, freight360.net, you've got our whole searchable library. So if you're looking for something on prospecting or on lead generation, simply type that in. You'll get all of our content, whether it's full length podcast, short term or short length videos, blogs, etc. Share us with your friends. Check out the Freight Broker Basics course on our website as well. That'll give you a full length educational option there to get your brokerage off the ground and, even if you're just an employer, an agent all the sales and operational tools that you'll need to be successful.

Speaker 1: 1:14

Ben, it's been a good ride down here in Florida. I'm heading back up this weekend, but we got to get together last Friday, which was awesome. You had a little bit of a train mishap, but overall, how are things I did?

Speaker 2: 1:25

Great trip. Wish you guys live closer. My wife and I were talking about the same thing. I was like if we weren't super tired, I wanted to come up and hang out with you guys again. Always a blast. I had a really good time just hanging out, letting the kids play yeah, Except for the train mishap where we almost misbordered a train and ended up in Orlando instead of like literally 15 minutes down the road. Could have been a really rough end to that day, but it is what it is.

Speaker 1: 1:51

Hey, today is we're actually recording on Monday this week, so it's April 8th, it's the long awaited solar eclipse day and so funny stats. So like the two big cities that the eclipse is supposed to go right through.

Speaker 2: 2:06

Cleveland right.

Speaker 1: 2:08

Well, it's like Dallas is the one area down south and then Buffalo, like right through Buffalo, the full, 100% eclipse. I'm not there, obviously, but it's a cloudy forecast for today, so it's like dude, the amount of stuff online was hilarious. People are running like forward, lateral, forward, lateral, no goal, 13 seconds, cloudy, eclipse, like all, like the, the treacherous things that buffalonians have to deal with. So, for all my friends up north, right now in buffalo, I hope you got a good um, hope the sun peaked out, uh, before it went in hiding for a few minutes and you got to actually see it. But who knows, we'll see how that goes. I think you and I are supposed to actually get like a 50% view of it.

Speaker 2: 2:50

I looked it up because they were talking about it on the radio this morning. I was listening to Pittsburgh, and they said there's like like I think they're expecting half a million people in Erie, pa is what they were talking about? Like who knows if that's what it is, but you're right, like it goes, they were saying closest to pittsburgh anyway, or cleveland and erie, because it's almost at 100 through their path and, to your point, like buffalo probably is the hundred, and I mean like literally hundreds of thousands of people were heading up there. I think. I looked this morning. It's supposed to be like 303 here. We're getting like 47 or 50 percent, and I'm like, yeah. The crazier thing, though, was this happened last in 2017, but I didn't know. It won't happen again until like 2045, so it won't be like another 20 years before this happens again.

Speaker 1: 3:32

So yep, big money maker for all the people selling those, uh, eclipse glasses, those little shades you put on, sold out out everywhere. Yep for sure, A little sports. I know we recorded early last week as well, so the Stefan Diggs trade had not come to light by the time we had that episode out. So if you didn't see it which most people probably have it was a big blockbuster trade. Well, I don't know if you want to call it a blockbuster, it was a trade. The Bills traded away receiver number one Stefan Diggs to the Houston Texans and it's been a lot of controversy, and I actually found this out after. The fact is that the Bills agreed to allow Diggs to pursue a trade from any team except for the Kansas City Chiefs Like that's what came out after the fact Because literally that's our AFC rival.

Speaker 2: 4:29

And you don't want to send him there.

Speaker 1: 4:30

But he went to the texans, um, for basically nothing, nothing. The bills got around draft pick next year, I think for 2025, yeah. So it's very clear that the the bills wanted him off the roster for a variety of reasons. There's still some some cap space he'll eat up this year. But even houston restructured his deal where basically it looks like he's going to be a free agent after one year with them. So he basically has to play really, really well if he wants to re-sign a big contract.

Speaker 1: 4:53

So I think, they did a good job on their end with acquiring him and making it so they're not going to inherit a potentially toxic player who's not going to try and just wants to get paid. So good on them for that. There's a lot of like up in the air thoughts about it in Buffalo, but personally I'm fine with the guy going and I think a lot of stuff will come out of what was going on inside the locker room and off the field as well. That was kind of kept quiet. But who knows, other than that, you've got the masters coming up this weekend, right, big one, I will be playing. Oh yeah, that's right, and I think I think is it Scheffler's the favorite going in.

Speaker 1: 5:37

I mean, it's like no one's like a no one's like a huge favorite, but I think he was top of the list as far as like odds to win it. And it's still, like you know, with most golf tournaments going into it before the first day, you know you got probably five or six people that have a real like a real shot at it and then you'll have some outliers right that just kind of come from behind. I love how the weekend will play out, but the Masters always a good one.

Speaker 2: 6:04

Get that green jacket, do you know what I was going to say about just one point in that I think Scottie Scheffler did win last year.

Speaker 1: 6:13

I feel like you're right. I'm not 100% positive, but that did sound familiar.

Speaker 2: 6:18

And you always joke that I didn't like Brooks Koepka. It was just kind of like no, it looks like um john rom on last year kepka came second. Um, anyway, I just really like scotty scheffler, like he's like a really like just down home good human being like I had to watch yeah, yeah. And not only is he clutch, but like I forget what the comment was like. Like when he won the masters, like his master's dinner was his favorite dinner.

Speaker 2: 6:48

That his grandma made was the dinner Like it was like kind of like this adorable story and it's just like you know, some guys have to be angry and they have to like be mean in order to win. I think kind of like Brooks has that kind of mentality where he has to like create enemies to be able to overcome, to win. Scotty Shepard's just like no, just kind of believe in Jesus, my grandma, and go and just give it my best and he's killing it and he's just like a good human being. So I don't know, I was thinking of that, as you mentioned, and I'm like I'd really like to see him pull off, you know, a Masters win again this year and pull off a Masters win again this year.

Speaker 1: 7:23

For sure. Lastly, tonight you've got the March Madness Championship UConn and Purdue UConn's the favorite. I mean again, this is going to come out Friday, so the championship will have been four days behind us, but I have a good feeling that UConn is going to come out with a really really, really solid game and take the championship title. But who knows, we'll see. I know a lot of people are big on March Madness. That's about the only time I watch any college basketball. Just there's too many sports out there to follow them all too closely. But we'll see Other news in the freight world.

Speaker 1: 8:02

So and this will come out, this will come out in our newsletter on Tuesday that I put together today, some of the stuff with the Baltimore Bridge. So funding has been officially granted from the DOT to start the restoration and there was also a piece put out there I forget which news source it was, but they're talking about a lot of those. Local drivers are struggling now because there's really no, no freight. They're so used to all the freight in the port area there and with everything just basically shut down, they're struggling for work. So that's some of the stuff that, when you think about, you know we talk about when storms come through or big events happen such as this, it really does create a lot of like. It ruffles a lot of feathers amongst, you know, people's normal workflow and whatnot. So, yeah, kind of wild.

Speaker 2: 8:58

Lots of opportunities. I mean I'm actively pursuing that. I mean what you're seeing right is the port temporary volumes are not coming out from unloading cargo right, but what you are seeing are lots of the warehouses that had cargo right that need diverted other places. But again, the carriers that pull the containers out of the port aren't typically the same type of carrier that runs van loads from these warehouses to other states or ever out of state right. Like most of the dray carriers that pull the containers out like they only operate 150 miles. They usually only kind of. Most of them will probably operate in multiple states, just because a lot of these containers go into, you know, north Carolina and things even out of Maryland, but still very different type of operation and for a carrier to be able to switch like that is not a quick transition for an asset carrier to be able to pivot with.

Speaker 1: 9:49

Yeah, and if you're, if you're not familiar with dredge, just go to our website and search dredge. There's a lot of content. But you got to think about it. A lot of these dredge carriers vast majority, they're used to going home every day. They do Right.

Speaker 2: 10:05

They day they do right. They typically operate like you know, like, yeah, like a five-day work. You go to work every day, yeah haul until you run out of hours. Maybe you take your truck, your tractor home, but I mean it's very much a day-to-day operations, except again when you've got these loads that go out of state, which usually aren't daily. Again, those are like the exceptions, not the rules in most cases for sure, for sure.

Speaker 1: 10:22

Well, let's get into our, unless you got anything else in the news, no, I don't. Okay, let's get into the meat and potatoes today. So we get a lot of people like the questions that we get are they range from like basic what exactly is a freight broker? All all the way up to specific unique scenarios. So we're going to take today's episode and really give a breakdown on what it is like to be a freight broker or to work in freight brokerage, Because there's different and it's going to be a little bit different for everybody and we'll talk through that a little bit.

Speaker 1: 11:00

But let's say you're starting up your own freight brokerage company, You're wearing every single hat, right From owner to admin, HR to janitor, right, that's your job, all of the above, Whereas if you're a W-2, coming into a big box which actually Kevin Hill had an interesting post, I think it was over the weekend that showed the employee headcount and it looked like I want to say it was like I'm just I'm rough estimate here Over 70% of the employee headcount and brokerage worked at a like million dollar plus brokerage, Right. So he kind of broke them down to like your, your large cap, your mid cap, your small cap and then you're like your startups. But the vast majority of people that work in this industry, they're not going to be wearing all those hats right. So we're going to talk a lot about what it's like to be in the sales and operational aspect, more so than like accounting and collections and things like that.

Speaker 2: 11:55

Yeah, and I think one thing to add, like to kind of set the stage right, is we're not going to spend a whole lot of time talking about what it would be like if you started, like last week, because your first month or two months, if you are coming into the industry like you're really just prospecting and generating leads and training, learning, so I mean spend time on our website, go search around for prospecting, lead gen videos.

Speaker 2: 12:18

We've got I don't know at least dozens of hours of content on this topic. That's really where you're going to spend your time. If you're just getting in, you need customers. You need customers before you need carriers. That's the other big question we get in this topic is do I start networking with carriers first, like yeah, you can talk to carriers, ask them maybe where they see some opportunities are, maybe you can call some shippers that a carrier can suggest for you and like that's okay to have these conversations, but the overwhelming majority of your time is spent finding shippers to call names, phone numbers, grouping them together in an organized fashion, calling through them until you've got demand Right. Yep. So we're not going to cover a lot of sales. It's going to be more like what it's like once you've got customers and you're actually like brokering freight week to week.

Speaker 1: 13:06

Exactly and we'll To give you I'll kind of give you a teaser as to how I'm going to try to break it down as well is, you know, bite-sized chunks, right, we're going to look at first how do you plan your week and then how would you plan your day on a smaller level. So we'll get to that in a little bit. But first I want to give that one-on-one explanation of what does a freight broker do, and when I answer this I'm going to talk about the entity of a freight broker, not necessarily the individual working in that company. But if you're new in brokerage, it's really good to understand the big picture here and you'll probably get some sort of exposure to this in your training. You'll definitely learn a lot more about it as time goes on. But in a nutshell, we're the intermediary between a shipper and a motor carrier At its most basic level, a company that has freight to move.

Speaker 1: 13:58

We help them find trucks to get their freight moved and, on the other side of it, our relationship with motor carriers. They have a truck, they need freight to put on their truck to move and make money. We help them find loads to put on their truck through this process. So we maintain relationships with both shippers and the trucking companies to try and find the best match to get the right freight moved at the right time at the right price on the right equipment. So 101 level, that's what a freight broker is.

Speaker 1: 14:27

If you want more detailed information on that, our course breaks it down in great detail.

Speaker 1: 14:31

So there's a link in the show notes for the Freight Broker Basics course. There's also a lot of really good, shorter, free content on our website and on YouTube, but I want to lead that into. So you set the stage of we're not talking about day one, we're talking about You're somewhat established now and you're going to have a number of priorities when it comes to managing your job as a freight broker, and it's going to be you named a couple of them. It's going to be managing your customers. It's going to be talking with drivers, it's going to be covering loads, solving problems and also and we've talked about this a lot in recent episodes trying to keep that pipeline full by prospecting some new business. So the way that this all comes together in its most effective way is, I should say, most efficient way too is really, I think, what makes or breaks a good freight broker and sets them apart from those that are unorganized and aren't doing all the right tasks or are doing their tasks out of order and all that stuff.

Speaker 2: 15:26

So anywhere you want to start here, yeah, let's go through like kind of as if, like, we're just starting the day on a Monday because I think the week for a freight broker tends to have some predictableness. There's lots of exceptions to this that we'll talk about. But, like, let's just jump into like traditional freight broker, right, like you start your day what time on Monday? What are you doing? Right, like, how do we really start our weeks?

Speaker 1: 15:52

Yeah, so on that point, depending on where you live is also going to matter here. That point depending on where you live is also going to matter here. Obviously, we've got four main time zones in the US in the continental US or contiguous US right, all the way from LA on the West Coast to New York on the East Coast. So depending on where you live and work and also where your customers are located, that's the important piece.

Speaker 2: 16:16

I wanted to cover this. Right Like, we get this question a lot too, and it's worth pointing out that like it matters far less where you live and it matters far more where your customers are, depending on when you should be at work, right? So, again, I'm on the East coast and I have agents on the West coast. Right, and when I work with them, right, like, I am not working East coast hours, I am working West Coast hours because that's when the shipper needs me there. Right, if I'm working with East Coast shippers, I'm primarily working East Coast timeframe.

Speaker 2: 16:47

If I'm working both right, then you really have to set expectations with your customers as to when you're available, when you won't, and how they can reach you in both scenarios. Because the whole value proposition to your point, just very simply, as a freight broker, is I reach out to a lot of shippers to help them with problems that are usually unpredictable, last minute in nature or things they didn't expect. So, by definition, to get the work that I'm trying to get, like, I've got to be available when they don't know when they'll need me, because when they do need me, they really need me. Right, like, it's very much like how you use a service when something goes wrong, like when it goes wrong you really need them. Right Like I don't know, your air conditioner goes out and it's a hundred degrees. Like you can't schedule that. You need somebody now, right Like. So again, you have to be very available whenever that need is not when you choose to want to be there, because you'll miss a lot of opportunities.

Speaker 1: 18:50

For sure, for sure. So you made a really good point there about customers and set expectations on how to reach each other. We can kind of generalize this and say if you're on the East Coast, it is very likely that you are at your desk fully working no later than eight o'clock, and some companies will say seven, seven, 30. I think it really. Just again, it depends on where your customers are and what's going on, but these are not nine to five bank hours. A lot of stuff happens in the morning. You were going to hop in and say something. What you got.

Speaker 2: 19:19

I was just going to say, like here's how I started my day, for what it's worth right Is when I've got a book of business and I'm in this scenario, right, whether I was a TQL, a midsize brokerage writer, as an agent, right, I'm starting my day on Monday, usually at like 6.30. And I mean starting my day. I don't mean sitting down, having coffee, reading the news for half an hour, like when I say Already in your email. Yeah, when I say start your day means you've done all of that and you're now starting work. Right, not when you sit down, but when you start work right Now. Here's why One of the main reasons why I would start early on Mondays well, every day, but particularly Mondays right 6.30 is if you've got loads moving seven days a week, the most likely time for things to have gone wrong is the two days you weren't literally at your desk all day.

Speaker 2: 20:08

Now maybe you're still looking at emails, you're still looking at your trucks and you're tracking them, or someone on your team is, and that should be happening. But inevitably, like most freight brokers, first thing Monday half to one, get their arms around where everybody is supposed to be. Did their carriers make the deliveries on the weekend they were supposed to? Did they get held up? Was there an issue you're finding out about? Because, again, most of our industry operates seven days a week, 24-7, but information doesn't always get received and given on that schedule. So, monday, it's very common for you to find out about a lot of issues that may have happened with a carrier and you want to know those first off.

Speaker 2: 20:54

The reason you start at 630 or long before your customer gets in the office is the worst thing you can do is find out from your customer that your trucks didn't do what you paid them to do. Like that's what you got hired to do Get a truck to be there. So if your truck's supposed to pick up at eight in the morning and your shipper opens at eight, you better know an hour before that if that truck is still going to be there so you can get information to your customer to prepare to their load dock. This guy won't be there. This guy will be there, he's on time, he's this far out right, like. That's how you prevent the issues that eat up most of your time as well. So that extra hour before your day starts or hour and a half before your customer's in, you can sometimes avoid like two or three hours of a problem You've got to fix between nine and 10 or 11, just by getting ahead of this.

Speaker 1: 21:35

Yeah, no, you're, you're exactly right, I remember, uh, and the reason I say eight o'clock um is, like I said before, a lot of the employees that work at a lot of the headcount at these companies. You're going to have set office hours, but I wanted to go back and a very common thing that I had because the last company I was with for a number of years it was eight o'clock was when we were supposed to be there. There were days I was there at seven, there was days I was there at 7 30, but so often on my commute in I've got a phone call from somebody right, exactly with something going on um, and again, emails always had. And if your company allows you to do this, which I hope they do if you're, if you're on salary and you're an exempt employee, having email on your phone to be able to track what's going on throughout the weekend, right, maybe it's not your job to have to fix a problem on a Saturday or on a Sunday or Monday morning, but be aware of it. So, like you said, you shouldn't come into work Friday morning and whether that's working from home or you're going into an office, you shouldn't come in and find out from your customer first thing Monday morning that, oh crap, x, y and Z happened, and now I'm finding out about it from my customer instead of me finding out and giving them a heads up, right? I think a quick flow of information is one of the most important skill sets to continuously reinforce and have this part of like your daily routine in freight brokerage. Even if you don't have a solution to a problem or if it's bad news, just letting your customer know. Yeah, like hey, as an FYI, right? So you have your situational awareness here and, like you said, I'm working on, or hey, not sure what we're going to do yet, but I just wanted to let you know and I'll keep you posted on any updates, right? So I um, yeah, so it is also good.

Speaker 1: 23:14

I always love by the time that you get your day started. So, like today's, a Monday, and by the time I got everything started, probably around eight o'clock this morning, I was in my email for 30, probably 45 minutes before that, right, making sure that I got a to. Everyone has a different opinion on having a clean inbox or not, but I like to be very organized. I can delete the stuff that's irrelevant and have basically a to-do list of the action items that I have to take care of. First, prioritize them and then I've got whatever can wait till later and it'll wait till later.

Speaker 1: 23:42

But I think, as your week goes, monday morning, like you said, people use the phrase like a lot of fires to put out right, and it's not always like bad things. It could just be administrative things that you have to work on or take care of, but Monday morning is going to look a lot different than a Wednesday morning For that reason. Like you said, over the weekend, when you're not at your desk every single day all day, that's when things will tend to pile up or issues can arise.

Speaker 2: 24:07

And here's the next thing, right? So the next two likely things from that are either my trucks weren't on their way to where they're supposed to be or they were, maybe some, maybe all Right. So if everybody's on track to where they're supposed to be to your point, quick little emails made my customers. Hey, just touch base with everybody after the weekend. Everybody's on track. Anything comes up, let me know. Right Again, this is what we talked about in the last episode. Like this is my credibility. This is my resume. Again, this is what we talked about in the last episode. Like this is my credibility. This is my resume. By being ahead of those and them seeing that email when they get into the office, they know that they can feel warm and comfortable about the fact that those loads with me are at least well within. You know my oversight, I know where they are, I'm aware. So it again, it sets a tone and it makes them feel a certain way about you. They're being taken care of Right Now.

Speaker 2: 24:54

Second thing if there's a truck that isn't right and let's say you get a notification and this happens, right, maybe the truck was supposed to be they go to start. Cold weather came through and the truck didn't start and they literally can't make it to your pickup Monday, right? Well, now it's 7am. I'm aware this truck's supposed to be there in an hour, hour and a half, right? The next advantage I have is I can get that load posted up when most brokers aren't in the office yet, which means I have a higher likelihood to get a truck before I've got to compete with the whole market. So I now also have an advantage to being able to secure the option that fixes the problem I just found out about long before everyone else is there. And especially if my load picks up early, those trucks are going to want that load early because it loads early gets their wheels turning early, like, there's a lot of things that line up when you start early that help solve these problems for Monday, right. So let's say again.

Speaker 2: 27:04

Second step was truck wasn't picking up. I posted that's load for a recover. I find a couple other trucks I negotiate. Maybe the truck can't get there until nine, right, they're not going to be there at eight. But again, now my second email to my customer is hey. First one is hey, it looks like we had an issue with the truck showing up. I'm on this. I'll advise. When I have a solution or recovery, they might get the second email before they even show up that says hey, new truck, here's the tractor number, here's the trailer number. They'll be there at 845. There was a mechanical issue at the first. Now I've solved the problem that I told them about before they even found out about the problem. Right, and again all goes to show my credibility, my ability to solve problems and do it without them needing to be involved. All those things are big wins. Plus, it takes me a shitload of the rest of my morning that doesn't get spent fighting everybody else for the best truck to pick up early that day.

Speaker 1: 27:52

Yeah, so I want to zoom out a little bit. We talked about Monday morning and I think Monday mornings are going to typically be the most rigorous when it comes to putting out fires and having to juggle things around and I shouldn't say every morning, but morning is probably the most likely time when you're going to have some sort of fire to put out, because you would have had that, you know, 12 or 16 hours since the last time that you were fully engaged at your desk. So it leaves opportunity for things to go wrong or that needs your attention. Again, if you've got email on your phone or you've got some phone calls, you might be aware of it, but the action items will typically take place in the morning.

Speaker 2: 28:27

And here's an example of those right. So place in the morning. And here's an example of those right so if you think about it, right, like you book a truck to pick up whatever morning it is say it's Thursday morning in your example right At 9am. Well, that truck is usually not sitting by your receiver or your shipper. When you negotiated with them yesterday, right, like, they had to deliver a load, get empty and then travel to your place, so like work and things are happening just when you're not at the office. So you know. An example is hey, the next morning this truck is going to be two hours late and it's not the truck's fault. The receiver, for whatever reason, staff called off they couldn't get them unloaded quick enough. So he sends you an email at nine o'clock and goes hey, we didn't get unloaded till really late. I'm going to be late tomorrow because of my reset, right, so again, these are the things that happen when you're not in the office that you've got to be aware of first thing so that you can get ahead of them.

Speaker 2: 29:20

Right, not finding out from your customer at nine, 30 trucks not there. And now you're calling the truck and then the truck tells you the thing that happened yesterday. And now you're like, ok, you're caught, like flat footed, if you will. Like I don't know what do I do now. Like I'm finding out about this and everything's just a shit show, right. Like things are blowing up, customers screaming at me, drivers tell me it's not his fault. Like it's much harder to do your job when you're stressed for anybody in any job For sure.

Speaker 1: 29:47

So if you can get ahead of those.

Speaker 2: 29:49

you also have more energy to do things right and more time.

Speaker 1: 29:53

So, um, that's putting out fires in a nutshell. It's probably a good, a good chapter title for that discussion there. Now, you know, everything's taken care of, what comes next in our day and it's going to, you know, the most days of the week. It's going to tend to look pretty similar as far as making sure that our existing freight and you mentioned, you know, loads picking up, it could also be loads getting delivered, like you just alluded to, that truck could have had issues along the way. It could have been weather, it could have been, you know, fill in the blank on the issue. But let's say we have all that figured out. Now we've got to look at what's our next order of business, and it's going to typically look like what loads do my customers have that need attention right now? Because there's going to be loads that need attention today or this afternoon, versus I've got two days to find a truck. So let's talk through that a little bit.

Speaker 2: 30:40

So the first thing is organization and again, just a side note, is that you should be writing down. I use OneNote, but you should have some digital note-taking thing where every day, like I have my customers that I work with, and I write what we're talking about, because you need to know what happened yesterday and what's changing between yesterday and today. So having that written one makes you better at it, you forget less and you can see it, but also allows you to go back and review these later, right? So I have the notes from every conversation I have with my customer.

Speaker 2: 31:15

So, to your point, if it's Monday morning, I talked to them Friday afternoon before I left the office and said hey, what are you guys expecting over the weekend? Are you expecting any hiccups going into money, anything you need me to be aware of? Okay, nothing, all things considered, monday morning. To your point, now I'm calling them back. Hey, jimmy, again, talk about this in sales a lot. How was your weekend? How did things go? I am not going to jump right into the business at hand. I am going to first one talk to them the same way I would if I showed up at work next to somebody.

Speaker 1: 31:43

I would say as a caveat, unless you're aware of a pressing issue that's ongoing. But we'll say you know. All that aside, yeah Right, this is part of that building relationship thing that we talked about last week's episode.

Speaker 2: 31:54

I want them to know. Right, like that, it's like going to work with me every day. I want that feeling as close as it can be, as if I was literally showing up and sitting next to them at work. Right, so those are my conversational topics, like, just like you would talk to somebody else say how's it going? What's going on for the day, how did things go over the weekend, expecting any changes today, anything you need me to be aware of, or on top of right. Now, again, proactive, it shows that I care. I'm always going to summarize what they said.

Speaker 2: 32:24

Friday the notes right? Hey, when we talked Friday, you had three or four loads going out this today. We talked Friday, you had three or four loads going out this today. You said you probably didn't need any help with any of them. Any of that changed? Nope, still got the same. All right, well, hey, if you got any new orders that come in today that you might need to get out last minute, or maybe you get a truck fallout or whatever, our team's here Let us know. Right, just setting the tone Now, if you do a lot of spot work, right, like, I've worked with brokers that would have 15 customers and this is what they do every morning Call all 15 and have the same conversation. Because those types of customers, their loads change every day and some of them know about their loads the day of that need to be shipped out that day or the next day. So if you're working with like produce brokers, for example, or sometimes even lumber traders, like, there's a high change between yesterday and every day as to what loads need moved.

Speaker 1: 33:14

And I'll say a lot of those, the two examples that you just gave with lumber and produce. A lot of them will have very, very straightforward and often frequent email communication that goes out to anyone that's on their brokerage bullpen, right. So if there's let's say there's like 8 or 10 brokers that are getting these emails, they're going to send it out every morning. And this is like the sense of urgency and being the first one to get to it. And, like you said, monday morning starting early, every morning, starting a little bit earlier is going to give you that advantage because you want to be the first one that's out there in front of all the information that you need on what loads need to get moved, getting loads posted, calling your go-to carriers if you've got some trying to figure out the best way to get that load covered at a good price.

Speaker 2: 33:57


Speaker 1: 33:58

All right. So we've got our I want to get to like the middle of the day. So let's say we've got maybe a load or two that had to get covered, we've got them posted, we're working on those. Now that we've got some breathing room here, I want to hit on the thing that a lot of people oftentimes don't do, and this is what comes down to weekly scheduling, in my opinion, is having time for prospecting new business and building your relationship with your customers. So when you know that so really they're 2 different things. So you hit on the building relationship part with hey, how was your weekend? But if you've got some free time during the day and you know your customers do, and this could be a Monday, it could be a Wednesday, it could be a Friday, it doesn't make a difference. Whenever that time is for your customer, it's a great time to call and spend 15-20 minutes just trying to catch up with them on how things have been going so far, what they see coming down the pipeline or are there any new projects. This is all ways of building relationships and rapport with your customers.

Speaker 1: 34:54

But, in addition, what a lot of people do is when they get way too comfortable, they're kind of in that what's the phrase I'm looking for? They just kind of set sail on their business. They're not going to prospect anything new, they're just going to sit there and eat off the fat. That's there. It's the prospecting right, whether it's the lead generation or actually making phone calls or an outreach to new potential customers.

Speaker 1: 35:18

This is a part of your I would say week more so than every single day, depending on where you're at in your journey as a broker but it's got to be a part that's somewhat scheduled in and it's guaranteed that, as long as Unless something wild happens that needs my attention, I'm going to dedicate X amount of hours a couple times a week or, if you're newer, it's probably going to be every single day to doing the lead generation and the prospecting activity right. If you're not making the calls and somebody else is, you're losing out on opportunity to get new business and we've got tons of content that goes way in depth on prospecting and on lead generation and all that stuff. But it's got to be a part of your day and, again, the more business you're taking care of for your customers, that's going to be priority number one, whereas prospecting will fall into probably priority number two, but it's still extremely important, because if you don't do that, you'll never have a backfill on your business.

Speaker 2: 36:12

Yes. So the thing that I want to point out is that, again, this is the way I do it, this is the way I was taught and this is why I think you should do it this way is that your time in the middle of the day, when your customers are actually available to be called right, call it eight to five, maybe it's seven, 30 to five, maybe it's nine to five and some maybe it's eight to six, whatever right, whatever that number is, from when they open to when they close, right, for you to actually talk to somebody to do business with them. It's a finite window, right? Like, whatever that number is, it stays the same every day and you can't get more of it right Now.

Speaker 2: 36:45

The second thing about being a free brokers, we about it's like putting out fires and the unpredictable nature of that right. You won't know how long those will take you, and some days they'll take you more, some they will take you less, right, but by nature they will come up and they will interrupt your day and you will have to go do those things right. So, when you've got servicing your customers some ways, as you try to make it predictable, but by nature it will eat up your day. As their needs come up, they call you I need help with this. You're going to stop what you're doing to help with that Right. So if you really want to make progress and I mean you really want to succeed at this To me this is where this starts is you make a decision right, and that decision is like how much time are you going to spend to be successful with this? And this is what I did this year. You and I talked about this like before I got back into like real prospecting to build this and build a team, the first thing I did was I need more time and to me it's to do the lead gen.

Speaker 2: 37:40

So like I'll start my day sometimes at six to get my leads, my lead gen done, organize my leads, go through my notes Because, again, I can do that in my office. I don't need anyone to be around and it's usually faster because no one's interrupting me. I can get that far done more effectively and efficiently outside of office hours is the first thing. The second thing is it's not eating up time in the middle of my day, which I can't add to of when I can actually call people. So I think you should be doing this in the morning.

Speaker 2: 38:09

I think you should be doing it after. You would typically leave. So if your day is going to end at five, we would always stay an hour, an hour and a half after, to generate leads so that we could get the call time the next day, the actual face time, if you will, of reaching out to people. So in my opinion, your lead gen should be done, if you can, outside of normal work hours or at a time like you're not doing anything else, at worst, so I'll give you an example of how I've seen this done effectively.

Speaker 1: 38:39

And again, your location is going to matter a lot here. So let's say that you work on the East Coast and a lot of your business is produce out of the Northwest, which means that a lot of your middle and afternoon time is going to be spent working with your customers that are two to three hours behind you. So what does that mean? Well, you probably have a chunk of time in the morning that's going to be freed up to do lead gen then, or you can do it in the evening. Let's say you're in the middle of the country or further West and a lot of your business is on the East Coast right? You're going to have a really early start, a very busy morning, a fairly busy midday, and then your afternoon is likely going to be fairly calm versus people in different time zones.

Speaker 1: 39:19

That's a great time to do lead generation, right? Lead generation should be done because you got to think about it. It doesn't matter when you do it, it just matters that you do it right. So if that free time is at 8 o'clock at night, or if it's on a Saturday, or if it's on a morning at 7am. Figure out when that time is, because that's really one of the only flexible things that you can move around in your schedule. It can get done whenever it gets done, as long as it does get done. Whereas prospecting calls, those people have to be in their office or available to talk. You cannot control that.

Speaker 1: 39:49

Whereas, the internet works 24 seven. Right, you can go generate those leads, compile your list group into you know whatever kind of categories. You want to say, hey, I'm going to call these 20 tomorrow, I'm going to call these 40 on Thursday or whatever that looks like. But absolutely and we've talked a lot how lead gen and prospecting are two separate activities, a lot of content on that but yeah, absolutely Plug that one in wherever it makes sense I want to.

Speaker 2: 40:14

I want to one thing, and then I want to like circle back a little bit to what is sometimes priority two or three, right, depending on your day, and we'll talk a little bit about, like covering loads but prospecting. Right, like the time matters to your point, like you should block out time to what you're going to do, but you absolutely need to count your calls that you're making every day, the number of outbound calls and the number of people that have answered, whether it's just hash marks on a piece of paper. Right, just drawn a line every time you call. We've talked about a strategy where you can put a roll of 50 quarters on your desk and, every time you make a call, toss one in one bucket. If someone answers, toss it in another bucket, right, whatever you want to do to keep track of that, or paperclips or whatever. Right, because that's the number you want to improve on every day.

Speaker 2: 41:00

Right, if you're learning how to ride a bike, you want to see how many times you can pedal without falling off. It's the same thing. Right, like chances tried, shots made. Right, because every day you want to get more effective at calling more people. Right, and there's shorter amount of time whenever you have it right and getting better at that. And the thing that usually speeds it up is the organization of the groups of leads. The more organized and the more group they are together, the quicker you'll be able to go through them right. So one definitely leads into the other other I want to add in here too.

Speaker 1: 41:32

I think it's really cool that you brought up the tracking part of it, because think about any success, like any major sports measure. What?

Speaker 1: 41:39

matters exactly right. If you're watching baseball, it will tell you their batting average for the year as well as they are, you know, one for three tonight, right, which means they had one base hit out of three times that bad. The same thing goes for basketball, right. We're talking about NCAA. If a team goes and shoots a three right, it's going to tell you oh, they've made, you know, seven out of 18 attempts tonight on three-point shots. That stuff is all. The same thing goes for hockey Goalies, save percentage, right. This stuff is tracked in all the professional sports. If you're not tracking it in sales and this is not just brokerage, but this is sales in general you have no idea where you stand and where you can improve on is it the amount of?

Speaker 1: 42:22

attempts, or is it your close rate?

Speaker 2: 42:24

you know what I mean professionals know their numbers, and they know their numbers because that's how they improve, no matter what you're professional at right, like, you need a metric to be able to improve, to know where you are and where you're going.

Speaker 2: 42:34

You don't need to compare yourself to myself or anybody else or the person next to you. Compare yourself to yourself yesterday, right, did I do better than I did yesterday? Did I do better yesterday than the day before? And then write notes for yourself what did you do? What could have improved? Because this is your roadmap to getting better at what you're doing.

Speaker 2: 42:52

Right, and I want to segue with, like, the time we have left. Right, because category three we said priority three is like covering loads. Right, but the reality is like, sometimes this goes up to priority two, sometimes it moves down. It depends on what the need is. Right, like, sometimes you just got to stop what you're doing. You cover loads for two to three hours, right, so, like, your customer sends you over a load, say, and they go hey, this is a hot shipment, can you help on this? Right, like, got to get picked up today. Right, what do we do in that scenario? Right, like, let's walk through a scenario where you had planned your day, you did everything. We talked about your prospecting phone call and an email comes in about a hot shipment. It's got to go up by close of business.

Speaker 1: 43:31

So I think it's going to depend, right, and this is where, like, a flow chart might come into play. If you're brand new, to figure out, what do I do next, right? So if you have, if there's no other hot ticket item, well, you're going to stop everything else and you're going to work on this. The caveat to that is what, if you have another customer who has the same issue there's only one of you you have to make a decision. I either have to tell one of my customers that it's going to have to wait or I have to delegate that to somebody else on my team and a lot of people that work at larger brokerages they have that flexibility of having a team to assist in that. But, yeah, I think, by all means, if that's a hot ticket item, you've got to hop on it, and the reason being think about what happens if you don't right. Hop on it. And the reason being think about what happens if you don't right.

Speaker 1: 44:12

Yes, there's a lot that you're giving up, a lot of opportunity costs there. Number one it's the relationship and rapport that you're missing out on with your customer. You've lost credibility in being a reliable broker for them. Number two profit You're making money, right If I'm not covering it. And somebody else says they're making money and typically those what's the point of prospecting?

Speaker 2: 44:30

if you're not going to make the rate that you get from prospecting.

Speaker 1: 44:33

Those hot shipments. Those are the ones that tend to be less price sensitive and more. They just got to get covered, and if I can get it covered, you're going to make more money doing that. So that's my take on it. What do you got?

Speaker 2: 44:43

For sure it's a function of time. The less time you have, the more money you can make. The more time you have to work on it, the more competition, the less money you'll usually make in margin, right? So anything that is urgent that's got to go today just got to go hot load, right. Like to me. You jump on those things and to your point, right. Like the first person that gets there is going to get that load because the customer is telling you it's got to go. They're usually choosing first one there that meets their standards, not the cheapest one, right?

Speaker 1: 45:12

So those are the as long as you're not giving them like 20 bucks a mile or something like that, Right?

Speaker 2: 45:17

So again exactly Like you spend all of these hours to prospect to create these opportunities. If you wait till the next day, to quote it like that was a waste Right. So one response time becomes the most important. The second thing is like getting this load up on the load boards so that it's there so you can start fielding incoming calls and emails.

Speaker 2: 45:36

The second thing I'm doing is being proactive, going to posted trucks on a load board like DAT or the first thing I'm really going to do is go to my TMS and see if this is a lane I've already run, because if I've got a carrier that has done this lane for me that I've worked with right, because if I've got a carrier that has done this lane for me that I've worked with right like that's the fastest option with usually like the fairest rate to getting a truck that I've worked with and I have experience with like and that's usually quicker.

Speaker 2: 46:05

So I'm going to go to my TMS or I'm going to go to my carrier sheets to see who's done this for me in the past. Those are my first phone calls while I'm feeding, fielding incoming calls from load posts to truck stop or DAT and the emails that come from this right and once I've exhausted every phone call I can make to every carrier I've ever worked with, it seems like it could be a fit. Now it's posted trucks that are looking for freight similar to this. I'm calling them and I'm trying to negotiate a rate and a pickup time.

Speaker 1: 46:28

This is where having a good relationship with your carrier network is huge, because when your customer's in a bind, if you can solve their problem by just going to one of your carriers and saying, hey, these guys are in a bind, the pricing is going to be a little bit juicier on this one than normally. Do you have anything you can work around to get a truck available? Right, and that is you getting access to capacity that is not on the load boards. Right, that other brokers don't have access to because that is a personal relationship.

Speaker 2: 46:55

And here's the other point too that I want to make right, like, there is a preference of posted loads versus trucks, right? So, for instance, like, if you're negotiating as a broker, right, if I'm calling the carrier, the carrier has the advantage. Why? Because I have I'm asking the carrier, the carrier has the advantage why? Because I have I'm asking them for something. If I've called the broker, they know I need something. They have, they have leverage, they know I need something. They can choose to take it or not. So they've got an advantage on price.

Speaker 2: 47:25

I'll usually pay more for an outbound call.

Speaker 2: 47:33

If a carrier calls me about a load I've posted, first thing I'm gonna do is make sure it's the right carrier and it's not fraud.

Speaker 2: 47:36

But after that happens, right, Like, I usually have an advantage because I know there's something about my load that this carrier wants. So I usually pay at least a little bit less for incoming carriers versus me reaching out to them. So that's why the first thing I do before I picked up the phone was to put the post up to increase the time that carriers can see it to call me. So I, you know, if I have a preference, I'm hoping a carrier that really is a good fit for this load reaches out to me, we can negotiate a fair rate and my customer is going to pay the margin. I'm not really going to try to beat my carrier out of anything like, hey, whatever is a fair rate, you got the right insurance. I might ask him what his best rate is, but for the most part I'm going to put my margin on my shipper to pay me, because they're the one that needs it now, like they should be paying for the service or the time premium.

Speaker 1: 48:25

Yeah. So, as you can see, we've talked through the day and through the week there's a lot of organized chaos, as I would call it, in this industry. The last thing I want to hit on before we wrap up is the end of the week, because this is a part that I think gets to Friday. Some people get really excited for the weekend, they start to lose focus on doing work and they just let opportunity fall by the wayside. And I mean, ben, how many times have you had a load you had to get covered on a Friday? And every 30 minutes you're upping the rate just trying to get somebody.

Speaker 2: 49:00

Fallout Friday that's what we used to call it. Fallout Friday, like Friday afternoons that every broker driver worked with like you'd see the biggest rips on loads. That's where you'd see like thousand dollar rips on loads. And again, it's not because, like any way, that anyone's beating the truck out of the rate. In fact, we're almost always paying the truck a premium because the trucks know that on Fridays.

Speaker 2: 49:15

Because if a load doesn't pick up Friday afternoon, some of these loads can't wait until Monday to be loaded, and a lot of those shippers aren't open Saturday or at the very least Sunday. So like urgency goes up, time goes down. Carriers will wait sometimes until Friday afternoon to get higher paying loads, and they should right. They're playing the game and that makes sense. Us brokers, to your point, have far fewer of them, usually because lots of the carriers would rather be home for the weekend. So there's less. That's why they also get more expensive and you have less time.

Speaker 2: 49:43

So like you got to work harder to find them and when you do, you're also usually a lot of time, like working late on a Friday night, which nobody really wants to do. So if you're in the office at six and there's only a couple of carriers and there's usually dozens or hundreds right, you're paying more, you're going to charge more. The shipper knows that they're going to pay that premium. So Friday afternoons are usually the most fun sometimes, because you can make a couple extra bucks. You help the shipper out of a jam and they're grateful. Carrier gets paid more. Everybody's happy going into the weekend.

Speaker 1: 50:14

So again, like yeah, and the last thing I'll add on this is this is a great time to make sure that you've got everything lined up for the weekend to try and reduce that Monday morning number of flyers that go out.

Speaker 1: 50:26

So if you've got appointments for pickup or delivery on a weekend when it is not your standard hours and they're not fully staffed, double, and if you can triple, check all that stuff to make sure you understand that, yes, they will be open, yes, the crane will be on site at this time or the appointment has been scheduled for this receiver, who's a separate entity for my customer.

Speaker 2: 50:51

Those will help prevent issues. Just like we said, starting early Friday helps you get ahead of it before your customers are in. Checking and dotting your I's and crossing your T's at the end of your day on Friday will save you so many headaches on Monday and preventable problems right. Just going through and making a couple extra phone calls hey, trucks you booked on Thursday or Wednesday that are supposed to deliver Saturday, make sure they all have their delivery POs. Make sure again, you're just checking one more time if it's a new receiver or a new shipper for the weekend. One more phone call just confirming your loading or receiving hours to just make sure of that. Because again, anybody new to this industry learns this the hard way. You don't do this on Friday afternoon and you spend your Saturday and Sunday when you're at the grocery store answering phone calls, going through emails, trying to find pickup numbers and things to solve problems over the weekend. So again, a few extra minutes Friday afternoon will save you a ton of headaches over the weekend and for sure more on Monday.

Speaker 1: 51:42

What's the thing you always say Like an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Speaker 2: 51:47

There you go.

Speaker 1: 51:48

That's it and that's your week, right? I mean, we've talked for days and weeks and then come Monday it's rinse and repeat. It's a very cyclical thing. Obviously, we generalized a lot of it in this. Can you handle a constant change? Can you handle the unpredictable day, because there's really no two identical days in this industry? If you love that kind of stuff and you're a big problem solver, it's a great industry to be in and that stuff stresses you out and you feel anxious, maybe not the right best fit for you.

Speaker 2: 52:33

Yeah, I want to say this too One of the things that I think is the biggest area for brokers that are experienced to improve and this is true in most industries with lots of high performers that have gotten to positions is they end up getting into a place where they're doing, yeah, things that need to be done, and, yes, they are important, but they're not usually the things that are the most important to them. And I'll give you an example. Right, like so many people will come to us that are clients or people that we've worked with are like I want to grow 15% this year or 20% this year Right, but if you look at their schedule or their calendar, right At what they're actually doing all day, the activities that actually get them the growth, never make it onto their day. Like they're doing lots of things doing calls, doing reviews, doing this, researching this but they never make the time to prospect, they never make the time to make sure what their lead funnels are doing, what their conversion rates are right.

Speaker 2: 53:27

Like there's only one real activity that growth comes from in our industry, it's reaching out to customers. Phone calls and emails together. Mostly phone calls are what build relationships. So if you're not doing those things every day. You're definitely not growing, for sure. And second of all, everybody else that is competing for your business is doing those things and they are doing it with your customers. So if you're not on offense, somebody else is, and they are taking and scoring points on the board when you are doing maybe important things, but not the things that you need to be doing Monday through Friday, right, like whether it's influencing or lead gen. If you're not picking up the phone and talking to new potential opportunities like, your business will shrink Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but definitely and sometime, probably soon, because everybody else is fighting to get your business at the same time. Correct.

Speaker 1: 54:23

It's a good bow to put on the episode here.

Speaker 2: 54:26

Good takeaways, final thoughts Whether you believe you can or believe you can't, you're right.

Speaker 1: 54:34

And until next time go Bills.

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