In this freight broker sales training article/video I share 8 freight broker sales questions that every freight broker and freight agent should know. These sales questions are designed to help you develop rapport, understand your prospects needs as well as insights that will help you get more shipping clients.
In my opinion, the two very important skills to be successful in freight broker sales are:
1) the ability to be a good listener and
2) the ability to ask good questions.
Some people say being a good listener is #1 while others believe asking good questions is the key to success. I think they’re equally valuable and both critical to success in sales.
Today we’re going to talk about the importance of asking good freight broker sales questions designed to help you get more shippers.
In preparing this for article I wrote down a long list of sales questions I have used and continue to use today.
So I accumulated a list of about 100 sales questions, but I edited it down to what I consider to be “8 Killer Sales Questions that Every Freight Broker Needs to Know”
They are what I consider to be really, really good questions that you can ask as a part of your sales process.
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Question 1: What are the top challenges that you are currently facing?
This question can be geared toward your prospect, their dept or their company and the answer is likely to be different for all three. My suggestion is to start by focusing on the prospect vs the company or dept to start.
TIP: Whenever you are asking a question, immediately stop talking and actively listen. Pay close attention to what and how they respond and take notes.
A follow-up question could be: What happens if you’re unable to (fix, address, resolve) those issues?
The initial question along with the follow up are powerful because it gets to the heart of the pain that your prospect is feeling.
Question 2: What do you like most about your current providers?
This questions allow you to quickly take the temperature of the prospect to better understand how truly happy they are with their current transportation providers and the level of service they are providing.
If they say, “Oh, my god. I love my guys. I’ve been working with these guys for 10 years. They guys are awesome. They make my job so easy.” Ding, ding, ding, ding. That tells you that they may not have a whole lot of pain. This doesn’t mean you should tuck tail and run away, it just means you will likely have to dig deeper to find the pain.
On the other hand, if they say, “Ugh. Man, some of these guys. They’re just terrible, you know? This morning I came in, and one of my brokers dropped another load and I had to scramble to make sure it went out today so our customer gets it on-time.
A possible follow-up question might be: What do you like the least about your providers? So, again, these questions are designed to uncover a lot of dirt. Ultimately, these questions help to fill in the blanks about issues that they’re having and their their level of satisfaction with current providers.
When I’ve asked, “What do you like most about your current providers?” I’ve literally had people say to me, “It’s a good thing you called today because I’m looking for new providers right now. I’m not going to mention any names, but the company we’ve been working with just screwed up again.”
Question 3: What’s the decision-making process like for adding a new transportation partner at your company?
You’re trying to get them to help you to understand the step-by-step process that new vendors need to go through in order to start working with them. How formal is it? How informal is it? How lengthy is it? What are all the steps you have to go through to become an approved provider? Some companies have a long list of requirements in order to become approved while others are very informal.
The rule of thumb is, the larger the company, the more check-boxes and hoops you will have to jump through in order to get approved. The good news is, smaller companies will many times have a very informal process: “Listen. You just send us a W9, your rates and we’re good.”
Question 4: How do you see your needs changing in the next 12-18 months?
This is a really powerful freight broker sales question because the only constant in business is change. The economy’s up, the economy’s down. There’s always issues. It’s constantly changing.
You’re asking for their opinion, and because most bosses fail to ask or even care this can be a great question. By asking this question, it makes them think about their current situation, in particular the challenges they are facing and what will happen if they fail to fix or address them. It can be a very stimulating back-and-forth dialogue, where you can gather some great information and start to build rapport by being empathetic to their situation.
Question 5: What would have to happen for your boss to give you a great review and possibly a raise in the next year? Maybe I can help.
This is a really powerful question because it’s getting to the root of what they want on a personal level and what they need to do to get it. So, you’re talking about them getting a positive review. You’re talking about them getting a raise. You’re really honing in on their personal wants, needs and desires.. If the company is good, if their boss is good, they’ve defined what they would have to do to get from Point A to Point B. Whether that be a raise, promotion, more vacation time, perks – whatever.
After they explain everything to you, say, “Well Joe. What would you say if I told you that I am willing to help you get there?” Are they’re going to say, “Nah, I don’t need your help.” No, he’s probably not going to say that. He’s probably going to say, “That would be great! How can you help?”
Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. Now, you’re on your way to partnering with that person in an effort to help them achieve their goals. I can promise you there are very few brokers asking this type of question.
Question 6: What are the top three metrics that you would use to evaluate success when working with me?
You’re looking for the KPIs that they are using to measure freight brokers by. There’s all kinds of different KPI’s that companies use to measure vendor performance. Things like on-time pickup, on-time delivery, claims, % of tenders accepted, total loads, cost ranking as well as many others.
There’s all kind of variables that shippers will use to measure their freight broker partners but you want them to express and share with you the top three metrics so you understand how they measure success or failure as a vendor.
Question 7: Many of our clients are reporting problems with X. How is this affecting you?
Some of these areas that you might talk about include truck capacity, rates, on-time pickup, increased accessorial charges, and/or damage claims. You might say something like, “Hey Joe, many of our clients are reporting they have lost a lot of carriers due to Covid-19. How is this affecting you?”
Question 8: How much time do you currently spend per week fixing issues related to your current transportation providers?
Asking this freight broker sales question is like pouring salt in an open cut and it works! It makes them think about all the times that their current provider has screwed up, made mistakes, or caused them pain.
So, if you get them to relive how, last week, one of their providers made them waste two or three hours fixing their screw ups, then it becomes like a fresh wound again. And in many cases, becomes an opportunity for you to stick your foot in the door.
It becomes something where they may say to themselves, “Hey, listen. You know what? Maybe I should talk to this guy or this gal because my other brokers has really been making my job tough. Maybe I should consider replacing him, or getting rid of him.”
Questions are critical for success in sales. That’s why I thought it was important to share and dissect the 8 questions above. Of course you are never going to use all of them on any given prospect but pick one of your favorites and start incorporating it into your next sales conversation.
If you enjoyed this training or you have QUESTIONS, click on the video that is embedded above and comment directly on YouTube and I will try to reply back ASAP.
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