10/27/2022 by Rich Clark
Are you prepared for your top customer to stop shipping with you?
We recently asked some of our top agents how they keep their businesses moving forward when times are tough. The biggest takeaway was simple but powerful; sales prospecting never ends.
All too often we find ourselves in a “sweet spot.” You’ve built your business up with several steady customers and the daily loads come in like clockwork. You’ve worked hard, real hard to get what you have. Life is good and monthly cash flow is strong! It’s very easy to slow down or even stop sales prospecting for new business. I mean, come on, you’re too busy talking with the customers you currently have and booking their loads, right?
Do you ever think about what would happen if your very best customer for whatever reason stopped moving freight with you?
Are you prepared and do you have a backup plan?
Many Freight Agents found the first several months of the Covid-19 pandemic a cold reminder of why they should always be sales prospecting for new business. Many very successful Freight Agents lost customers almost immediately due to the disruption in the market. Some Freight Agents’ businesses completely failed.
Beyond the Covid pandemic, shortages of crucial materials or parts around the world happen from time to time. It can and does happen, many times, without or very little warning.
Whether you’ve fallen victim to this or wish not to, there are things you can do today to be prepared. Remember, no business is immune to disruption.
Sales prospecting can be one of the most challenging parts of your business, so it’s easy to see why it can sometimes fall on the back burner once you’re comfortable. If you’ve found your sweet spot and slowed down, then start today working on generating new business through sales prospecting. You may say, “I don’t have time.” But, even if you dedicate just one hour a day to finding new business, you are going to come out ahead.
Freight Agents must have the mindset to always be looking for new business. Without a pipeline of leads, you are not adding business from new customers. There are plenty of opportunities out there and many sales prospecting methods to drum up new business. Here are some tried and true methods that work. The Freight Agents I know that do this in their business are some of the most productive Freight Agents in the industry.
What if you could predict the outcome of your daily sales prospecting? Let’s use cold calling as an example. If you keep track of your numbers, you will get better. The key to making sales prospecting work well is knowing your numbers. Knowing your numbers creates predictability within your business.
For example, can you prospect each day 1 pm – 2 pm and predict what is going to happen? Yes, you can if you track your numbers. But the key to a good business is the ability to duplicate an activity and get the same kind of response.
If you look at the diagram below, you’ll see a Freight Agent’s list of prospects that they have been calling on. In this example, you can see that the Freight Agent is calling on three prospective customers. They have made 35 dials and had 10 conversations with these customers. The result of these numbers has landed them one customer. This Freight Agent knows moving forward that it should take them that number of dials and conversations to land a new customer.
Tracking your numbers is very important because it will tell you the levels of your efficiency. Set a daily or weekly schedule to spend some time sales prospecting and you will start to build momentum. Your confidence in this will grow, and you will improve, and start adding more customers. Try this for the next 30 days and see what happens. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the direction you are headed!
Referrals can be one of your easiest and most powerful sales prospecting techniques. Statistics show that 93 percent of consumers trust recommendations from colleagues, friends, and family.
Spend some time reaching out to your past and current satisfied customers to ask for referrals, however, make sure you have a good relationship with them. It’s best to reach out to the ones you’ve helped just as much as they’re about to help you.
A great tip for successfully gaining customer referrals is to get the timing down right. Choosing to reach out for a referral shortly after you’ve impactfully helped a customer with their logistics is ideal as they will be more likely to return the favor with any referrals they may have.
Cold emails or calls that go unanswered or returned can quickly turn into a beneficial conversation if you follow up. Not following up is giving up and greatly decreases your chances of getting a reply. Perhaps when you initially reached out, your prospective customer was busy, forgot about your reach out, or simply didn’t need your services at the time. Following up not only reminds your prospective customer of your available services but broadens your awareness with them.
In a recent study on sales prospecting, it was found that the most successful cadence based on email replies is six touches throughout three weeks. So unless your prospective customer has asked that you do not call or email them, continue reaching out and try to connect with them.
Everyone uses social media and it’s a great way to find and gain new customers. Statistics show that those who tap in social media for their sales are 40 percent more likely to hit their revenue targets than those who don’t use it.
There are many ways to use social media to your advantage. First off, you can showcase your expertise. Customers are looking for experts in logistics and supply chain solutions. They want to know who they work with can be a trusted resource for them. Showcase your knowledge by sharing and commenting on relevant industry articles, important freight market news, or any of your company’s high-quality content. Doing so can show potential customers that you know your stuff and can be a reliable source of support for their company.
And make as many connections on your professional social media accounts as possible. The more connections you have, the more chances for new customers.
Connect with the customers you close deals with or anyone you know in your industry. Connections with your current customers are a great way to find and gain referrals. Having a mutual connection with your prospects will automatically warm up your outreach and better yet, help spark a conversation with them from the start.
Continued efforts for sales prospecting is a necessary evil for keeping a successful business. It’s the surest way to generate more business opportunities, close more deals, and keep your revenue incoming.
If you’re bogged down by back-end tasks and need more time in your day to add in sales prospecting, consider joining Trinity’s Authorized Agent network. Trinity Logistics has over 30 years of experience aiding in the success of our freight agent businesses, with many new freight agents seeing a 50 percent increase over a two-year period from joining.
Join our Authorized Agent network today and gain more time to generate more revenue. We’ll focus on everything else.
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