CAREER Smart

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Starting a business can be difficult for a new owner. The thoughts of marketing your new company can seem a bit overwhelming. However, developing a solid marketing plan and taking action is vital to the success and continued growth of your company.

First, you need to know who your customers are and how you plan to reach them. On occasion, I might take them to lunch or dinner when I am at their location. The purchase of pizza for the shipping / receiving crew has also proven to be beneficial in building relationships. By establishing close business relationships with them, you’ll be able to anticipate their wants, needs, and requirements.  With this knowledge, you can then communicate precisely why they should use your business. You want to convey the message to them that your business can provide what they need.

To understand your business’s place in the market, you will need to be aware of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses as well. Ask yourself, what makes my business unique? It’s essential to offer something special and of value which will make your business “stand out” from the competition, such as:

  • Flexibility to service your customer's needs
  • Effective use of promotional items
  • Building a reputation as a problem solver 

Revisit your marketing and relationship plan frequently to make sure you’re staying on task. Monitor progress of your business and make any necessary changes, which will help meet your goals in regards to building and growing your company.

While developing Albert Transport years ago, I ordered hats, mugs, calendars, key chains, and jackets, which included the company logo on each item. While making sales visits to potential and current customers, I would give these items away to help solidify the relationship. Most often, these items remained on the desk or in the office for years to come. These handy and useful giveaway items keep your company in front of clients, and they will remember you the next time they need a shipment.

Winning the coveted position on a customer's desk was my goal. I once had a good customer who kept the Albert Transport company “coffee mug” on his desk and used it every morning when he arrived at the office. He would get angry when anyone moved it from his desk as this was his favorite mug. He drank his coffee right before making calls to schedule shipments for the following day. Therefore, Albert Transport was the first carrier he thought of every morning! 

Keep these tips in mind and tell us, what do you do to build positive relationships?

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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.

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