Everyone seems to want to find the secret sauce that makes the top freight brokers so successful. I’m not going to lie and tell you that if you simply do these five things you will be successful. I compiled a list of five keys to success, but you need to not just do them, but do them at a high level. The same goes with sales pitches and prospecting calls; there is the message that you must deliver, but also how you deliver it. Let’s take a look!
Use technology to its best possible application! This is such a crucial step that many novice brokers skip simply because of the costs involved. Important tech tools include a Transportation Management System (TMS), Load Boards, Tracking Tools, Digital Rate Confirmations, Rating Tools, and so much more. Without functional software and technology that makes your job easier and smoother, you will end up wasting your precious time completing manual tasks instead of prospecting new business and sourcing carriers. As technology improves with time, make sure you keep up with the best possible tech tools that your budget allows for. This stuff changes fast, so be prepared for constant improvement over the years ahead.
Focus of Carrier Relationships
Often a secondary focus for brokers, this should be just as important in your mind as your customer relationships. You are a freight broker – key work BROKER. Brokers are middle parties that connect two parties and get paid for doing such. You cannot do your job successfully if either of those parties ceases to exist. Screw a carrier over, get blacklisted from their company. Pay a carrier late, get dinged on your days-to-pay rating on various online sources. Cancel a carrier without paying a TONU, be prepared to have a 1-star rating all over Google, Facebook, and the Load Boards. If you are part of a larger organization, you have a leg up in this category because they likely already have a large network of trust carrier partners. You still have the duty of taking care of them, so they stick with you. If you run your own brokerage, you’ve got to focus on building that network up as well.
Remember What (Who) You are Selling
Shippers simply need trucks to get their freight from A to B on-time, damage-free, and with visibility. Most brokers can do those basic functions. Don’t forget that YOU are the difference between your company and the broker next door. YOU are the one in charge of maintaining good communication with your customer. YOU are the one that can spend the extra time to source some additional carrier options. The better you do at your job as a communicator and problem solver, the more business you will get from your customers. Further, you can leverage referrals and testimonials to grow your book of business. This is where a good website and social media presence will come into play. Market yourself to the industry, and make sure you have a solid reputation before you do that. Some might say that no press is bad press, but that’s not necessarily the case in brokerage. Just check out some Google and DAT reviews from big name brokers. You will find certain individuals called out by name for their lack of professionalism and poor service. Control the one thing that you can control, which is YOU.
Have a Niche
You don’t need to be the jack of all trades. Many brokers start off working on any freight that they can get their hands on. Most likely you already have a passion in life or an area of the world that you have above average knowledge in. Maybe you worked on a farm as a kind – PRODUCE! Maybe you worked at a brewery – BEVERAGE SHIPMENTS! Maybe you worked construction – HEAVY HAUL! These are just few examples, but the point is that you win at what you focus on. If you don’t take the time to focus on one specific area to excel in, you will never be a subject matter expert or elite in that arena when it comes to shipping and freight. Many of the top brokers market themselves as experts in their specific corner of the industry such as expedite, LTL, refrigerated, or heavy haul. Find a niche and start with that.
Always Keep Learning
You will never be perfect at this job, and you need to understand that no one is. Those who succeed the most are the brokers that keep up with the industry trends, learn the new tools, and adapt to the changes in their environment. Network with other successful brokers, have a mentor, use a coach, ask for feedback. These are all great ways to make yourself better at what you do. If you master a certain commodity, then you can expand into other areas and build your toolbox of skills that make you better than the competition.