Carrier sales personnel, the value proposition

Recently, walking out to his car, after work, a transportation management person of a large company with many shipments, was stopped by a carrier sales person, asking who was the transportation management of the company. “Gosh, I really don’t know” was the response given to the sales rep.  Yes, this really happened this year.

Ironically, for the sales person, this was a plus, because he met his quota contacting new customers for the day, I am sure.  But this approach certainly is not a value added to the carrier paying the sales person salary nor was even remote value to the potential customer.

A fairly significant amount of the times sales personnel contacted me over the years, they could not answer these basic questions: What does your carrier do well? What is your firm’s strength? Instead they answered we can do everything. Again, really. Most firms already have carriers or brokers who can do everything, why add one more? And every vendor you add, adds cost to the firm.

I might be more inclined to listen when a carriers sales person says, among the vendors strengths, is we have lots of trucks available in the lane serving your origin X. That person took the time to look at the company’s website and made an educated guess what my shipment needs are. A shipper’s employee chain goal is to meet the company’s objectives. Maybe there issues on a particular lane of traffic. If somebody contacts me and says they have a strength in area where my firm has a weakness, I will certainly listen.

Yes, you can complain about salesman who use the bad “everything” word. However, more than likely its his firm’s upper management not doing their job to give the sales person the tools to sell, including focusing on the carrier’s or broker’s strengths and where it is interested in growing.

The take away from this, that carrier sales people and mostly importantly its sales management will have much more success by focusing how they can provide value for the potential customer. And on the other side of the coin, supplier transportation management should be responsive to those sales who take the time to do their homework on the company they are employed with.




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