photo-old-phone.JPG

 The old telephone pictured above was used in the early days of Albert Transport, Inc. to make many sales calls for potential customers.

This post will follow up from a previous blog regarding “Finding Your Own Customers.”
If you’re in the trucking business, it will always be more profitable for you to find and work directly with your own customers. The alternative is to call a “broker” who will take a portion of money from you for providing you with a shipment. Therefore, you will want to work at developing your own customer base.
Once you have a good idea which businesses will meet the needs of your operation, it’s time to make contact with them. You can either call them by phone or make a visit in person. If the potential business is nearby, it’s always best to get an appointment and meet your contact person face to face. This is not always possible as you may work with companies far away from your place of business.

Prior to calling or setting up an appointment, you will want to do a bit of research on the company. You should know important information about the business. Such as, how small or large, number of employees, type of freight they ship, credit rating and what products they manufacture. This information comes in handy when speaking with your potential customer. Most people will be impressed that you took the time to learn something about their business and shows your interest in the company.

When calling by phone, you want to speak slowly, clearly and always remain professional. You want to ask for the person who makes the decision on the selection of “carriers” for the company. Most likely you will get someone in the Shipping Department. At this point, you will introduce yourself and your company. Next, explain the reason for the call and your business ideas as to how you may be of service to this potential customer. If you’re planning on setting up an appointment, you will want to ask when it would be convenient for you to stop by and meet with them in person to discuss business opportunities. If meeting in person, always dress professionally. Remember: If in doubt, it’s always best to be overdressed than underdressed.

Don’t get discouraged if you make many calls with no potential for business. Any sales person will tell you it takes lots of calls before getting one piece of business. You won’t win them all. The pursuit of securing your own customers will require time and patience.

You will want to get a contact name and call back periodically as things change over time. There may not be a need for your services today; however things may change in six months. If you really want a particular piece of business, you may need to stay consistent in perusing them. You can follow up with them every few months or so.

I wish you the best of luck in the quest to “Find Your Own Customers.”



 

Comments (3)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

Ask Henry a question

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Comment ()


When I was a young struggling lumber salesman I made hundreds of calls to everyone I thought could use lumber. Most of the companies I called did not even purchase their own dunnage but eventually I made a few contacts that moved everything I had and then some. It was terribly discouraging at first and a little embarassing to try to sell to people with no need for my products but the end result of those few contacts made was worth the effort.

October 06, 2012 17:41:24 PM

LInda,

As we discussed in an earlier blog, when using the SIC codes from the library you can obtain valuable information about a company. The phone number is usually listed. Today, you can find business phone numbers and addresses on the internet. You can also find numbers on labels in stores such as Lowes and Home Depot or other locations. We've never introduced our company by an email but I imagine today it might be a good point of first contact. I will discuss setting your business apart from the competition in an upcoming blog.

October 05, 2012 21:39:36 PM

Henry how did you go about getting the numbers for potential customers? Cold calls would be the hardest as I know how I handle unsolicited calls. I wonder in these days and times if an email of introduction might work? Starting with that first contact we would need to set ourselves apart from the rest of the carriers.

October 05, 2012 7:34:24 AM