The global freight brokerage market is expected to reach more than $86 billion by the year 2028, projected to grow more than five percent between now and then. The U.S. freight brokerage market alone is projected to reach nearly $14 billion by 2028, with a growth rate of more than 36 percent. As a result, the competition is fierce when it comes to freight brokers winning shippers’ business and keeping it. Read on to discover how do brokers find loads and how to get freight as a broker, as well as best practices for customer retention.
How To Get Freight as a Broker: 10 Recommendations
In answer to the question of “how do brokers find loads,” the number one answer is referrals. Once you win their business, it’s in your best financial interest to keep them happy by providing top-notch service — which is a lead-in to number two on this list.
2. Make Freight Tracking a Priority
Specifically, you must be able to meet shippers’ expectations for service, particularly around real-time load tracking once their freight is on commercial trucks. Use a reliable and accurate freight tracking technology to meet or surpass your customers’ real-time visibility requirements.
3. Load Boards
A load board is an online marketplace where shippers and brokers can find trucks to transport freight. Be sure to use a real-time smart load board over traditional load boards. Real-time load boards update automatically so that you’re not wasting time looking at carrier capacity that’s already taken by another broker.
4. Warm Calls
When it comes to finding loads as a freight broker, warm calls can be particularly effective. A warm call is a sales call to a company or contact with whom you’ve had some sort of previous contact or connection. If you’re making warm calls, it’s important to be prepared, be clear and concise, and to research the prospect’s business before the call.
5. Cold Calls
If you ask seasoned transportation professionals how to get freight as a freight broker, they’ll no doubt say cold calls. Many freight brokers use cold calls as part of their sales strategies. In contrast with a warm call, a cold call is to a prospect who hasn’t previously shown interest in your company or had contact with it. As with warm calling, you’ll want to be prepared and know the company’s business before making cold calls.
6. Advertising and Marketing Campaigns
Advertising and marketing campaigns are another tactic you should employ when building your freight broker business. You may want to try targeted online ads on Google, Facebook or elsewhere to reach prospects you might not otherwise reach. Other options include direct mail, advertising at industry events and/or working with a marketing agency.
7. Shipper Lists
Another way that brokers find loads is with industry lists. Most industry associations publicize their membership lists online, which can be a valuable resource for you. Many of these directories are available online, including MacRae’s Blue Book, one of the largest online directories of U.S. industrial companies and manufacturers.
8. Re-Engage Old Accounts
Every business loses customers sometimes, but the truth is that you can sometimes woo previous customers back simply by reaching out to them to check in. Perhaps you’ve recently resolved the issue that caused you to lose the customer’s business and you can ask for another shot at their account.
9. Local Networking
Unless you live in a very rural area, chances are high that some of your potential customers are in your local area. Do a little digging and research other local and regional businesses to see if you might be a good fit for them. You may even want to do some local, in-person networking to get to know other business owners in your area.
10. Ask To Be a Backup
It’s not the end of the world if a prospect is already working with another freight broker. You always can ask to be that company’s backup freight broker in the event that their current broker can’t meet all of their needs or if something changes unexpectedly.
Best Practices for Customer Retention
Once you win shippers’ business, you’ll want to follow industry best practices to keep them happy as your customers. As you build your business, consider specializing in a particular type of freight or niche to differentiate yourself from the competition. Making service your top priority is a must, as well, as your performance as a freight broker trumps everything. You also may want to develop a customer loyalty program and a driver loyalty program to encourage customers and carriers to continue working with you.
Find out how to book loads with carriers using digital freight matching and Book It Now®.