02/20/2023 by Rich Clark
Are you a Freight Agent that gets a stomach ache at just the thought of picking up the phone to make cold calls? Even with a great script at the ready, cold calling is a tough task to complete. However, with today’s technology, there are other systemized and predictable ways to prospect without making hundreds of cold calls. Don’t get me wrong, cold calling is still a part of developing new business, but it doesn’t have to be the only thing.
In the age of voicemail and caller ID, the success rate of cold calls is low, hovering around a two percent conversion rate, according to LinkedIn. So, before you pick up the phone to make call after call, you can help your chances of success by putting on your marketing hat. By using some form of creative marketing, you’ll find businesses who are looking for your solutions calling you for more information. I’m sure everyone would love to receive warm calls versus relying on cold calls for new business.
Many of our Freight Agents have found success by trading in cold calls for a combination of social media, emailing, and warm calling.
According to LinkedIn, 75 percent of business-to-business (B2B) buyers use social media as part of their decision process. So, if you haven’t joined the professional social media network, LinkedIn, already, then now is the time.
To get started warming up your calls, you need to have a LinkedIn profile that looks professional. Just as you’re finding probable prospects and looking at their profile pages, shipping managers don’t generally do business with someone they feel is not professional. Trust me; they will check out your profile.
Creating a professional profile is a relatively easy thing to do. You can get ideas from other Freight Agent profiles on LinkedIn, but in the meantime, here are some quick tips for building a great profile so your prospects can get to know you.
LinkedIn profiles with pictures are 14 times more likely to be viewed. Choose a photo showcasing you professionally, at your desk, in your office, or a simple friendly headshot.
Have your headline answer these two questions so visitors know what you can offer them right from the start: Who do you help and how do you help them? For example, “I’ve helped X number of companies save X amount through outsourcing their logistics.”
Instead of keeping the generic blue gradient cover photo LinkedIn provides, consider adding your company’s logo, tagline, or even a family photo. The cover photo is your opportunity to give the viewer more insight into who you are as a person and freight agent.
This may seem simple, but surprisingly, not everyone does this! It’s important that you include your email address, phone number, blog, or company website, so it’s easy for your prospects to gather more information and get in touch with you, setting you up for that warm call.
Craft a summary to let your viewer learn more about you and your Freight Agent business. Get more specific about your work, projects you’ve completed, or results you’ve helped drive. Include keywords your buyers might be searching for to snag their attention and let them know you are a possible solution for them. And most importantly, include a clear call-to-action, communicating why and how your prospect should get in touch with you.
Your viewers can see your LinkedIn activity, like your most recent comments, likes, and shared content. This part of your profile can show your authenticity, so be sure to consider how you spend your time online. For example, are you offering advice or support to your connections? Congratulating them on a promotion? Sharing your knowledge with others in groups? All this can be seen on your profile so make sure you are showcasing how knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful you can be!
Now that your profile LinkedIn is ready, here we go! Below is a basic outline for building a LinkedIn presence on a path to warm lead relationships and calls.
Utilizing LinkedIn messenger is essential when sending out your daily connection requests to shipping managers.
Shipping supervisors, logistics managers, and warehouse managers are the first people to start sending connection requests to and then continue with the many other titles for shippers that you want to search for.
Your first message should be simple and warm:
“Hello, I’d like to connect with you. Having a professional connection like you in my network will be a plus for me. Thanks, Your Name.”
If they respond back to your connection request, send them a message back & thank them for accepting the request. Remember, they’ve looked at your profile and approved you.
After you have thanked them, then the process of trying to find an email and or phone number begins.
Finding the shipping manager’s email or phone number is key to moving forward in the process. You can do this with a simple Chrome extension, like Get Prospect or UpLead, that connects to LinkedIn. If it doesn’t, this may slow you down.
Once you’ve obtained the email, ensure the first email you send is a simple introduction telling the shipping manager who you are and what you can do for their shipping needs.
You may find the benefit of incorporating a mass emailing system. They can save you time by sending several emails at once and give you insight into analytics, such as open and click rates. There are lots of applications to choose from. Some are free, like MailerLite or MailJet, and some require a small monthly fee, like Mailchimp. Any good mass email system should let you know if an email is invalid, blocked, or if the email has been opened. This is important because it will let you know they have read your email.
It may take several emails for the shipping manager to like and trust you enough to get on a phone call with you. Remember, getting on a warm call versus a cold call generally gives you the upper hand because of the process the shipping manager has already been through in getting to know you. You have gained their trust at this point.
While not necessary, some agents will choose to upgrade their LinkedIn services for prospecting. LinkedIn has other paid services you can investigate, such as LinkedIn Premium, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Both are fee-based services and can work very well.
Now that you know the basic process, you’re ready to start reaching out to shippers without the stress of making any cold calls. Work this process through. It could take a little time, but this method of prospecting has been tried and proven, and the payoff can be huge for your business.
At Trinity, we understand running your business is hard work, so we have an entire Team to help you. This includes assisting with your marketing as we consistently work to provide you with new marketing material and content to share.
Let us help you do what you do best, building relationships with your shipper customers and carriers while receiving world-class support to put you ahead of the competition.
Many of our Freight Agents see a 50 percent increase in their business over a two-year period from joining. Will you join them in their success?
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