Right now, we’re in the middle of a tight truck market. It’s getting harder and harder to find people who want to drive trucks, so we’re seeing fewer trucks on the road. This, coinciding with an increase in the economy and manufacturing leading to more shipments, means that there just are not enough trucks for all the available loads out there.
Being in the middle of both the manufacturers and carriers (or trucking companies), how do we get a carrier to take our load over another broker’s? How do we get a manufacturer to trust us with getting their shipments moved?
It all comes down to relationships.
It’s an old saying: people do business with people they like, but honestly it’s true.
We try to build relationships with both carriers and manufacturers. On the customer end, we strive to have personal connections. Some manufacturers choose to move their shipments by “list freight”. This means that they have a list of brokers they send their shipments to, and they give the shipment to the broker with the lowest quote. There isn’t much of a personal interaction or relationship there. We much prefer to do business with companies that we can build a relationship with based on trust, rather than getting the business just because we’re the lowest price. Business relationships built on mutual respect are the ones that are going to last. We’re going to be willing to do everything it takes to service that customer if we know they trust us in return.
On the carrier end, relationships are more important now than ever. If we have carriers who we know will do a good job for us, we want to constantly reload them on our shipments. It makes it easier for both us and them to do repeat lanes. We know that we can rely on them to get the job done, and they know what to expect when they show up at our shippers and receivers. When trucks are tight, carriers have plenty of loads to choose from, and lots of different brokers they can take them from. So when they’re deciding which loads to take, the carrier is going to be more likely to take our loads if they know we’re going to treat them right.
However, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is any type of relationship – especially business relationships. You generally don’t meet someone and have them become your best friend in a matter of 5 minutes. Business relationships are the same way, but sometimes it’s easy forget that. We contact someone and want them to give us their freight right away, but relationships take time. You have to establish trust, and that doesn’t just happen over night. Instead, we take our time getting to know the prospects and carriers – building that trust one shipment at a time.
In the end, the logistics industry is very much a relationship business. If you can’t form relationships with other people – sometimes people you’ll never even meet in person – you won’t be able to thrive in this industry, especially with manufacturing increasing and available trucks decreasing. It’s important now, more than ever, that we strive to build relationships with both our customers and carriers, and we’ll keep working towards that goal every day.
By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding