Top Sales Tips for Freight Forwarders

You’ve already found some amount of success selling to shippers or you wouldn’t have a business

As a freight forwarder, you’ve already found some amount of success selling to shippers or you wouldn’t have a business — obviously. But there is a good chance you have a goal of growing your revenue beyond where it’s at today and you’re looking for new ways to do so.

If your growth feels sluggish, it may be that your standard sales approach needs a little fine-tuning. Buyers today are smart. They also usually have a lot of options in the freight forwarding space, so improving sales comes from developing and employing the right strategy to connect with your audience.

Long-term sales success for freight forwarders comes from doing more than competing on price. It takes work and a thorough understanding of your prospect’s perspective. Here are some tips for freight forwarders looking to improve their sales game:

Perfecting Your Pitch

First, you need to know who the decision makers are in the company. This includes the people you may be engaged with, as well as those behind the scenes. This may seem like Sales 101, but it’s still a step many salespeople surprisingly skip right past. Understanding their unique pain points and making them a part of your proposed solution is the ONLY way to get the conversation past rates to build a trusting partner-level relationship. Next, make sure to stay in constant contact, and don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions.

Logistics Technology and Business Transformation

In any shipper’s sourcing strategy, the make vs. buy debate is a critical decision when it comes to technology. Many shippers rely heavily on the technology their logistics partners provide as an alternative to making large investments in logistics tech themselves.

As a forwarder, you’re providing the best-in-class technology to your customers, right?

You need to show prospects you’re on the leading edge and make a point to challenge industry norms, while also helping shippers explore the ways they can innovate. Savings and ROI aren’t the only factors involved in driving transformation for shippers. To support this, you can inspire prospects to take action by showing how your company has made a difference through content assets like case studies and whitepapers.

Know Your Target Audience

Shippers put a lot of stock into cost and work process efficiency, so let them know how you can help them differentiate themselves from their competition. It can be helpful to include the positives of incorporating a third party into your proposal as well. Try to offer benefits exclusive to them and show an understanding of the demands they feel every day – like lowering lead times and addressing the pressure to decrease costs.

You want to treat prospects like you would treat your top client. This is not the time to keep your best players in the reserves, so make sure to bring your A-game. Once you identify the thought leaders in the organization and leverage your personal relationships, don’t stop the preparation there. It’s your job to know their business better than they do, so become their continuity.

Forwarders can create a more compelling story with a sense of urgency by highlighting the things their competition is already doing to stay ahead of the curve. Since shippers are especially risk adverse and prefer to budget for freight rather than innovation, try to de-risk the opportunity.

It’s important that forwarders demonstrate how their company can deliver shipment visibility in real time and ultimately transform a shipper’s freight management process with proactive decision making. Figure out what matters to these companies, negotiate what matters for sales, and take the lead by planning ahead for quarterly business reviews. Find a way to under commit — without selling yourself short — and then, overdeliver.