We can all agree that time is money and wasted time decreases productivity and revenue. Therefore, unwanted sales calls are the ultimate time-waster and must be eliminated. But, how do you do that?
Let’s start with some background information.
Logistics is how the world works in cohesion and organization. And I fell in love with logistics early in my career. I had a fascination with how businesses worked and produced products. I was excited to find out how organizations grew, what generated success, and what caused failure.
(But you may be thinking what does this have to do with fielding sales calls from freight carriers and brokers? We will get there, but first, the conversation must begin by clearing up some misconceptions about people in the transportation industry. Then, you can learn how to get more of what you want by changing your strategy and personal paradigm about logistics and 3PL providers.)
The Concept of Value
In general, all providers should be offering value. However, value has more than one definition and therefore, in the transportation industry, leadership often gets hung up on the type of value they provide for profit.
Selling Value and the Sales Approach
There are four ways to approach sales:
Transactional Selling – This is when a salesperson looks for prospects and develops a relationship to close a sale. Customer needs are identified and then offered a specific product or service.
Feature Selling – Businesses tout features of their product or service they know each unique customer is looking for and wants.
Value Selling – This is selling based on value, not cost. It is the process of understanding and reinforcing the reasons why the offer is valuable to the buyer.
Consultative Selling – This style prioritizes relationships above all others. Consulting values transparency, open dialogue, and communication to identify and provide solutions tailored to a customer’s needs. It is not focused on the product or service being sold, rather it offers exactly what the customer wants and needs led by analysis and collected information.
Each approach is different and provides varying degrees of value. However, through each level in selling, the value increases for the customer and for the organization.
In transportation, too many logistics providers are providing transactional selling - or at best, featured selling - and have relied on this approach for way too long. While these sales strategies may have worked 30 years ago, customers are more sophisticated. Therefore, the approach must change as customers change. This also means that logistics providers without advanced technology are falling short in providing the greatest possible value to their clientele. And they are leaving a bad taste with companies that count on the reliability and evolution of their supply chains.
So, we need open-minds and technology natives entering the supply chain field. We want our truck drivers to be respected as we rely on them for daily provisions. We must hold these career professionals in high-esteem and appreciate the value they add to our economy and how they shape the future of supply chain trends and advancements.
With that said, your outsourced supply chain solution must be worth the time and effort your company puts forth into managing it. If transportation companies are calling in an attempt to secure your business and are taking up your time, it is because they do not understand your strategy and it is not your job to educate them.
When you have a solid strategy, you can share it with potential providers, and as a result, the transactional and featured selling calls will diminish or even stop. Your goal is to reduce the noise so you can continue to focus on what your company really needs - which is definitely not a sales pitch.
Know your value proposition. Understand your approach and share it so it is understood across the board. Avoid wasting time on those who aren’t on the same page. And protect your time, because time is money and your time and money are better spent on growing your business.