How to leverage the changing sales environment for transport brokers to add more sales?
Why are some companies able to add more sales while others don‘t? This question is especially important for companies which are lesser lucky adding new deals, as sadly at it is bust most of the times, they are not able to find this answer. Why is it so? There are a lot of possible solutions, but the main one is that successful companies are offering products or services which fits it‘ ideal clients segment best, and they do understand that the seller’s world has changed a lot during last years. Sellers need to get used to this new reality, earlier they have had more information, and they could use this information to have upper hand over their prospects, one can say that earlier the luck was destined to those who were able to pitch their services aggressively.
This approach was best illustrated in the earlier sales school which was called ABC (always be closing), but nowadays the situation has completely changed as has the pitching style changed which pay‘s dividends. Today sellers to receive good results need to become advisors and professionals in the field which they represent. In this article, I will talk about sellers who sell transportation services and what do they need to do to thrive in this new environment.
Who is responsible for this shift in power which went to the side of the consumer?
The power went into the hands of the consumer not so long ago and not rapidly, but little by little. The change has happened due to globalization and evolving technologies. Today’s consumers are very well informed, before buying something firstly they find all possible information about the product which they intend to buy. They find out all details concerning price, overall characteristics, furthermore, they compare the prices with other service providers and products, check all possible feedbacks and only then decide what product and from where to buy. Globalization has eliminated borders, and this added up in increasing competition, as today we can buy the same product or service from all over the world. The increased competition is lowering the margins, but it increases the risk of poor-quality services and products as well.
How did this situation affect the transportation sector?
If talking mainly about the freight brokers (expeditors) market, we see some shifts here as well. Earlier shippers used freight brokers due to few primary reasons: they were able to connect shippers with the vast number of haulers, and they were able to choose the right shipper for the right hauler, for such services they are receiving commissions. As earlier it was harder to find the needed information and the required technological solutions were hard to acquire, expeditors were using out this favorable for them the situation. However, the globalization and technologies enabled shippers and haulers to do much of the work by themselves. This situation has increased competition between transport brokers and haulers as well. Those changes started to minimize margins, and the shrinking margins from they’re side induce haulers to get more funds to develop they‘re own sales departments and avoid the middlemen. The technological platforms add up as well. I want to draw your attention to the most important ones:
Freight platforms. Today they are more advanced as they‘re predecessors, where shippers added information concerning loads available afterward haulers where able to search for needed cargo with the help of filters. Today‘s versions are more evolved; they add up more functionality and are intuitive.
Freight price and tendering platforms. Customers using those platforms can check the price and be sure that they aren‘t overpaying.
Transport management systems. They are letting shippers and haulers to effective manage they’re freight, those platforms put extra visibility in the supply chains as well.
Blockchain and other logistics technologies. Most of them are still on they’re way; nevertheless, the biggest threats to disrupt the transportation sector comes from those technologies.
I want to add one more reason which we need to have in mind the human factor. The shrinking market entrance barriers stipulate competition, therefore, more and more companies arise which do not understand specifics of this sector, which lowers quality levels of the freight brokers sector. It‘s important to notice that due to labor shortage companies are forced to employ lesser experienced workers who enter the market without proper training, and this increases the risk of errors and decreasing services quality,
What need‘s to be done by the transport brokers to increase sales?
First of all, companies which are selling services or products need to understand that in this changed environment it‘s more important how you sell your products and services than what you sell. In the highly competitive environment which creates lots of noise in the market it‘s essential to find ways how to get through and find a way to the customer. To achieve this, you need to find niches where you are better than your competition.
Your work begins from your sale process analysis, as you can see from the Picture above, you need to be better than your competition at each stage of the sales process. There is just no other option as there is no one kind of miraculous rule or shorter way to success in the growth of sales. You need to be better at each step of your sales process is as simple and as complicated as it sounds.
Action plan for your sales transformation
Nevertheless, my above mentioned in information could sound pessimistic, but it’s not as bad as it seems, because as I have said before this increase in competition and the unwillingness of some companies to change made a great space in the market to achieve competitive advantage. Today almost all service providers are unprofessional, annoying, they are using old dated tactics and materials. All this doesn’t induce more significant conversion rates, and they on are dependent from directly on luck, manager’s are thinking inertial – they think I will give a try, call few leads, I will send a boring presentation than follow up one time, maybe I will be lucky. Huge companies which operate in the market for a long time think that they greatness will automatically generate more sales, unfortunately, they are wrong, and we know lots of stories when in the end huge companies lose the competitive battle.
You can start your transformation by following this plan:
Develop a sales process which would be based on today’s tendencies, with specific rules, ask your employees to work with it. If you already have a plan, and nevertheless new sales come at a slow pace, find out at what stages your employees are struggling.
Put a lot of attention to your employee’s training. In an environment of intense competition, it’s the best thing you can do to separate from them. It’s a thing of immense importance especially today when companies are struggling to find great people
Put an effort to know your competitive environment and develop a value proposition. It should be clear, measurable and essential for your customers.
Build your companies marketing story. You can do this by asking yourself questions: which logical and emotional problems of your clients you solve? What added value you provide? Why should customers work with you? Where are we better compared with the competition? Why are we the best choice for our clients?
Develop a communication strategy which would be different than your competitors and would suit for multi sales channels (email, social, cold calling, cold writing, etc.) Your marketing message should consist of the story you have developed. Stop thinking about yourself start thinking about the client.
Dedicate funds to technological solutions which would automate your sales process, increase visibility and add value to your customers.
Develop open companies’ culture where each employer is important, where mistakes are welcome furthermore they are seen as possibilities to learn from. And the most important thing that in this environment your employees would feel safe, valued and listened to.
Develop a motivational system which today’s tendencies based.
Develop appropriate communication with prospects system.
Pay attention to the constant development of your employees professional and sales skills.
Of course, there are many steps in between, and nevertheless, if you will implement the ones as mentioned above, this will be a significant first step. In today’s fast-moving world when there are lots of things to do and to know about, not every company has time for employees training. The few who are trying are not always able to put the focus on the most critical parts, and of course, the employees are more favorable to listen to consultants of the side. If you will decide to go the way of the improvement of your services and you will choose to outsource this process to third parties, we can help. Unfortunately, we do have a lot of unprofessional consultants in our sector as well, which are offering overall sales training, they are saying that you can adjust them to any industry. But we all understand that it’s not true, as every sector is different, with different negotiation positions, different sales process length and different specifics. That’s why if you want to get good results, chose consultants who are working in your sector and avoid consultants who are saying that they can sell anything and any ware.
We help 3 PL companies to increase sales, improve their services, we are adding new service packages, and we help companies to better adjust to today’s fast-changing environment.