Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, trade shows all over the world have been postponed, canceled or rescheduled. Some of the industry’s biggest trade shows, the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) and the Great American Trucking Show (GATS), have been canceled.

If you’re a broker who relies on trade shows to network, cultivate new business and evaluate new technology, you may be wondering how to make up for the business opportunities lost because of these trade show cancellations and postponements. Check out three ways that you can connect with colleagues, carriers and customers, while learning about the newest technology available right from office or home, despite the trade show cancellations.

Participate in Virtual Trade Shows, Events

Some trade show and event organizers have opted to host virtual, online events instead of canceling or postponing their in-person events. FreightWaves LIVE was held in early May as an entirely virtual event. The free, virtual conference included online demos from tech vendors, speakers and panel discussions. Trucker Tools’ CEO and founder, Prasad Gollapalli, spoke to attendees about how Trucker Tools can help brokers and 3PLs continue to thrive, despite market disruptions, as part of the virtual event.

FreightWaves LIVE organizers used Slack to facilitate real-time chats and discussion during the virtual show. A virtual trade show’s Slack channel is a great place to start conversations with tech vendors, prospective customers and colleagues, and carriers. We expect other trade show and event organizers in the industry to follow FreightWaves LIVE’s lead and host virtual trade shows and events in the future. These virtual trade shows can be a great way to continue networking and building your freight brokerage business.

Use LinkedIn To Connect with Shippers, Vendors and Carriers

If you’re not yet on LinkedIn, now is the time to create that account. If you’re not familiar with it, LinkedIn is a social media platform that is similar to Facebook. One of the ways that LinkedIn is different from Facebook is that it is designed specifically to connect businesses and professionals. LinkedIn focuses on professional networking and career development and it has become one of the most popular and powerful social media platforms in the world.

On LinkedIn, you can search for and connect with prospective carriers, tech vendors and shipper customers. LinkedIn is a great place to scout out your competition and to look for new jobs in the industry, as well. You can join one of the 600+ trucking-related groups or the 70+ freight brokerage groups on LinkedIn to ask questions, offer advice, learn about best practices and more. Freight Forwarding Professionals, the largest freight broker group on LinkedIn, has more than 18,000 members. Don’t forget to follow Trucker Tools on LinkedIn to stay current on our latest news and releases.

Stay Up-to-Date on Industry Technology

Most tech providers (like Trucker Tools) offer free, online webinars and demonstrations to showcase their technology-based solutions and to answer questions from prospective customers. Attending a webinar or demo is a great way to learn more about what a technology platform can do for your brokerage business. Most webinars are short and include a virtual Q&A where you can ask the presenters specific questions about the solutions. In most cases, you only need to provide the vendor with your email address to register for a webinar or demo.

You also can learn more about technology-based tools available in the industry on YouTube. Most tech vendors have their own YouTube channels that include videos with screenshots of what the technology platform looks like and how it functions. Checking out a tech vendor’s YouTube channel is a great option if you don’t have time to attend a webinar or demo.

Are you looking to increase efficiency and freight volume? Read Simplify How You Find and Book Truck Capacity — with Trucker Tools to find out how to do both. To learn more about Trucker Tools’ real-time visibility platform, digital freight matching and Book It Now, schedule a demo with our sales team.