Freight sales: 4 common misconceptions

Freight sales is not an easy career by any means. Sales and the "daily grind" come with many unique obstacles and challenges. However, it can be a very fulfilling career for people—especially in the freight industry.

Before we get into what’s worked for me, here are four commonly held misconceptions about what it takes to be a great salesperson:  

  1. A customer is a customer.
  2. I need to increase my output to increase my loyal customer base.
  3. I'm not a "natural," so I can't be in the top 2%.
  4. To get great, it takes years.

Now, let’s take a deeper look at why these beliefs aren’t necessarily true.

Tip #1: Not all customers are real partners.

When we can filter the tire kickers and price junkies out of our cycles, we find a more stable foundation on which to build our business. Here's a helpful question that I started asking myself after I lost what I thought was my best client ever (over $50.00 per load):

Would I put the health and wellbeing of my family on this client?

This question has driven my business for the last decade and a half. I started to look at all the clients I'd lost to discover why I lost them. I quickly realized that I have a client profile, and most of the clients I'd lost in silly situations were totally out of line with the ideal person I wanted to work with. 

I discovered what a real partner looks like once I began asking myself these questions: 

  • Who is my ideal client?
  • How do they respond to challenges in the supply chain?
  • How do they speak to me?
  • Do they honor my vision and market knowledge?
  • Do they treat me like a commodity or resource?

Tip #2: You don't have to massively increase your output to build your business.

I discovered this one after countless days of pounding the phone for over fourteen hours a day.

I tried to create the "perfect" sales system where I didn't lose leads and could keep it all organized. As I am sure you know, after a complete burn-out, it fell flat.

The strategy that worked best for me was to filter better and develop a system that had the least amount of moving parts.

This system had to be scalable and adaptable to my life as a sales rep.

After I created this system, I was on the road for just about three weeks a month visiting leads and trying to close deals, so if I had kept it complicated, it would have been a nightmare.

The system I developed uses three simple boxes: 

  • Box One is "never heard of you before." When I introduce myself and qualify them, I move my prospects into Box Two.
  • Box Two is Intro and Qualified. All I focus on here are the goals of the prospect, and if I can deliver.
  • Box Three I call the Next Steps. Once I know I can deliver, I move my prospects into this box. It focuses on moving towards their WHY and delivering on my promise to help them achieve their goals.

That's it, no other moving parts, no other strings or anything to get tripped up with. Simple and scalable.

Tip #3: It's called EDUCATION.

In the beginning, I educated myself for an hour every day and saw a different, more prepared salesperson in no time.

Having an overarching understanding of markets and how they impact the rest of the global supply chain could be the single, most important part of selling.

Remember: Just as much as you want a great client, your clients want to deal with a pro.

Clients will put energy, time and effort into getting savvy partners into their company, they simply don't have time to invest in setting up amateurs who are going to focus on small wins. 

I can't tell you how many times I have been able to help a prospect become a long-term client, just because I knew a few things about their market and was able to keep their exposure and friction of daily operations to a minimum. It's everything in today's market.

Tip #4: "Data is the new oil."- Dean Croke, DAT Principal Analyst

If you're interested in shifting your beliefs about freight sales and leveling up your business, I encourage you to register for a FREE digital ticket to The High-Performance Logistics Sales Summit being held on December 11th.

You can register here: https://www.dandeigan.com/HPS-Summit

One day - 25 Icons - Life and business-changing productivity.

Don’t miss it. 


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Dan Deigan

Dan Deigan, founder of High-Performance Logistics Sales. With over 25 years experience, Dan is the go-to for Transportation & Logistics coaching and sales training.