Learning How to Sell as a Freight Broker

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Maximizing customer contacts and opportunities is a broker’s most critical need when managing capacity and their logistics network. Knowing how to sell as a freight broker is essential for standard network support and management to ensure future recovery and growth. According to MarketWatch, “Global Freight Brokerage market size is projected to grow at CAGR of 4% with Revenue USD 41.47 bn during the forecast period 2021-2024. The "YOY (year-over-year) growth rate for 2021 is estimated at 4.19%" by the end of 2024.” Learning how to sell as a freight broker efficiently is a critical aspect of brokering that far too many choose to ignore. Maximizing broker-carrier agreements is crucial for ongoing recovery, growth, and profitability. 

How to Overcome the Top 5 Shipper Objections

When it comes to figuring out how to sell as a freight broker, there are five fundamental objections likely to be presented by shippers in response to any sales pitch made. Knowing what these objections tend to be ahead of time can help management better prepare counter-arguments to help seal a deal in the end. There are many reasons shippers turn down transportation freight brokers’ offers to help, and the five most common shipper objections and how to overcome them are as follows.

“We Have an In-House Fleet That Takes Care of Everything So We Don’t Need Outside Assistance”

While operating in an in-house fleet can help shippers overcome disruption and avoid missed opportunities for making deliveries, it may fall short in long-term transportation strategy. Running an in-house fleet comes with high costs for truck investment and maintenance. Furthermore, shippers are responsible for managing driver schedules and balancing such schedules against transportation needs.

Still, there may be times when a shipper seeks to expand its market. For example, if a shipper wants to begin offering more products through third-party resellers across the country, the in-house fleet may be unavailable for such moves. Without an existing strategy to rapidly scale transportation, an in-house fleet will always lead to higher transportation costs.

“We Already Use a Different Broker Who Has Offered Their Services to Us Previously”

Since many shippers may feel a sense of loyalty toward their preferred brokers, another objection is that they already work with a broker. However, freight brokerages recognize that except for non-compete clauses, shippers are going to diversify their carrier base. That includes working with more freight brokers that may have additional expertise in a particular type of freight. For example, one freight broker may be skilled in moving refrigerated freight, while another expert may specialize in moving live animals. Auto transport may be necessary in other cases, and what about liquids? These questions and concerns reflect the genuine need to continuously diversify the way and type of brokers that shippers interact with and leverage for transportation.

“We Don’t Need Full Transport, Just One Specialty Mode So Chances of a Match Are Slim”

Not all shippers need end-to-end transportation. They may already have a strategy in place for short-home moves. However, freight brokers can serve as a lifeline to unify the entire shipment lifecycle and avoid disruptions or delays. This is especially true when shippers need additional help within a specific mode, such as the final mile or even airfreight. Regardless, freight brokers that understand these objections can effectively use their expertise to target a piece of the full shipment lifecycle. In additional cases, they may become the overall measure of that lifecycle.

“We Think the Rates Are Too High to Outsource and Are Better off Financially With Things as Is”

Any conversation about a shipper’s objections to working with a new broker must include freight rates. In recent years, freight rates have skyrocketed, and as disruption continues, transportation rates will grow higher. These trends are inevitable in the industry. However, a shipper’s objections to working with a brokerage due to higher rates don’t hold water. Brokerages, by definition, may have additional carrier relationships that can secure better rates for shippers. This effectively renders this argument meaningless and can be a stepping stone toward getting past the gatekeeper in freight broker sales.

“We Don’t Have Time for a Lengthy Onboarding, Training, and Upgrading Process”

Lastly, shippers may be concerned about a lengthy onboarding process. While this may have been true historically, modern freight brokers are well-versed in the different uses of technologies and freight management systems to reduce onboarding issues. In other words, a modern freight broker can onboard a carrier almost instantaneously. That is especially true for shippers already using an existing transportation management system (TMS). Modern brokers can instantly onboard shippers with just a few simple connections in the same fashion. In some cases, shippers might not know that freight brokers are an option for finding capacity. 

For example, if the freight broker is registered within the shipper’s TMS, it is as simple as turning on that broker for the shipper within that platform. Yes, there are some IT needs along the way that may require an expert to handle, but the result is the same. Shippers can instantly become clients of modern freight brokerages without the nightmares of history in heavy lifting and lengthy onboarding.

Figuring out selling as a freight broker means knowing what reasons and excuses are likely to come from shippers initially. Understanding the arguments and having counter-arguments ready to go can help improve sales and marketing campaigns and get any broker a higher success rate. But still, that depends on getting past the gatekeeper.

How to Get Past the Gatekeeper

Learning how to sell as a freight broker is an ongoing process. Still, it often starts with learning how to deal with a gatekeeper and get past the initial blockade when contacting shippers about brokerage services. A gatekeeper in sales is someone who intercepts marketing and sales experts before they speak with a company owner or leader. They commonly occur in major companies and businesses, where they listen to sales calls and pitches, and they are the ones who make the call as to whether or not it is worth sending the broker on to someone in management or not.

Gatekeepers are usually the first people freight brokers end up contacting and can be a source of frustration. Most often, the gatekeepers themselves know little about the specific topics or processes the broker may be talking to them about. Mastering the art of freight broker sales requires the following when dealing with gatekeepers:

  1. Having backup sales pitches for specific types of concerns—credit risks, for example.
  2. Putting a unique spin on the pitch depends on the mode of contact and interaction.
  3. Adding details specific to the company or brand itself into the pitch to personalize it.
  4. Adjusting the tone of the pitch to meet the gatekeeper’s knowledge and influence.
  5. Focus on quick and memorable snippets and save the in-depth talk for management.

Sales matter, and to maximize growth opportunities and to ensure ongoing success in volatile markets, the following tips can prove vital for freight brokers.

How to Cold Call a Shipper

Mastering the sales call and learning how to sell as a freight broker is one of the quickest and most effective methods for any freight broker to maximize capacity and keep the work pipeline flowing. Freight sales are all about making contact and capitalizing on opportunities as they present themselves. Cold calling is the oldest method of selling in pretty much any market or industry, and the same holds for freight brokers as well. The five most important tips for mastering how to sell as a freight broker with cold calls to transportation companies are: 

  1. The first few seconds of the call are the most important in the entire sales pitch.
  2. Nearly all customers who eventually say yes, say no at the beginning. 
  3. The more calls a freight broker can make, the better their odds are of success.
  4. Having a standard sales pitch is good, but be sure to customize it for each contact.
  5. Lead with one or two key benefits and expand as the conversation continues.

Prioritize Sales by Streamlining Invoice Payments With ComFreight's HaulPay

Learning how to sell as a freight broker is a never-ending process, and the journey looks different for every broker and takes on a different tone with every new potential customer contacted. Getting in the door with new companies and securing new customers is an ongoing challenge for freight brokers. It gets easier if you can focus on a shared goal or talk about one of the prospect’s current initiatives.This approach can help freight brokers appear more friendly and cooperative and perceived as potential allies rather than as potential threats. Increase the chances of a successful encounter, improve cash flow and payment processes, and maximize success rates with these freight broker tips and by contacting ComFreight today to learn more about maximizing profits and payments as a freight broker.

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