The logistics industry is significant, with many different kinds of services. Some services are pretty complicated, and some are straightforward. Usually, talking with logistics organizations, I hear stories that selling logistics is challenging as there are no key differentiators, and everyone offers the same services. When asked how you differ from other LSPs, one service provider answered that our logo color differs. This way of thinking leads many logistics businesses to a transactional sales process where sales representatives start pitching their services at the first call. Most of the specialists in the logistics sales arena forget that the transactional sales process doesn’t fit for selling logistics services. You can find more about how logistics services are different here.
So I am sharing with my subscribers two easy strategies which work best at selling logistics services. The first one fits any experience level, and the second is meant for those who want to become the best in the field.
1st. Proactive sales process
Today when the competition is harsh, how you sell is more important than what you sell. Putting this simply, you need to have a sales process that fits your service best and follow the process no matter what. Moreover, you need to eliminate mistakes from the sales process, which will help you to be a better option than your competition. And of course, you need to reflect on it, and change it if the conversions don’t satisfy you or your manager.
What are the usual mistakes seen at logistics organizations that need to be eliminated?
Sales managers haven’t developed a sales process. In such organizations, sales reps are free to do anything they need to bring in sales. This situation has terrible consequences for sales rookies who enter the arena as they feel stressed and do not know where to start. And this is also risky for business owners because the business depends on top employers who bring in results, and when they leave, they take out all the customers.
They sounded like everyone else. When I procured logistics services, I listened to many openings, all of which were the same; most managers talk about their services instead of their customers. The fight and flight kick in when you sound like everyone else, decreasing your chance of moving forward drastically. With a few minor tweaks, you can improve your initial conversions.
They are pitching right away. Most sales reps start selling right at the first call, which is precisely why they see such low conversion rates. Sales employees and leaders must understand that logistics is a trust-earning business, and gaining trust takes time. The main goal of the initial call/email/LinkedIn message is to arrange a time for a discovery call, not for a sales pitch.
No, follow-up plan. Logistics service sales have long sales cycles (except for the rare times when you reach the customer at the right time). The long sales cycles are related to a long buyer journey of getting trust and jumping into a buying window. High-performing sales reps must have a long-term follow-up plan (8-32 touches) using Omni-sales channels (phone, LinkedIn, email, messages, conferences) and trigger events. And high performing leaders must have a system to check those touchpoints.
Poor discovery. Performing an excellent discovery meeting/call is the fastest way of getting the business. If you do this great, you start building trust with your prospects; if you do this wrong, prospects start believing you are a time vaster. You can read more about not wasting shippers’ time here.
No plan for dealing with the objections. Those reps who deal with the objections retain much more business than those who don’t. You need to have a process for dealing with the brush-offs at your organization, and you need to make sure that everyone follows it. The understanding that the first few objections may be related to self-defense is a must.
They are working with the wrong prospects. Most of the time, we see reps prospecting with companies that don’t fit their business model. There is a false belief in the industry that every shipper can be a customer. Reps waste much time working with the wrong prospects and see minor conversion rates. A far better option is to build your list by paying attention to your organization’s strong and weak points.
There are a few other mistakes, but If you design a best-fitting sales process and eliminate the above errors, you will be ahead of most of your competition. Persistence and consistency are crucial traits for getting new business.
2nd. Logistics sales ninja process.
The second and more advanced way is becoming a logistics sales ninja. The process has all the traits of the proactive sales process, but in this case, sales reps build value with each sales touch point. Building a consultative sales process is becoming super important these days. The shipper’s polls and other B2B studies show that today’s buyers want to deal with professional sales reps who understand their business and can help them make better decisions, save costs, or help win the competitive battle. You can read more about the consultative sales approach here.
I know that many logistics sales reps and logistics business owners believe that it’s impossible to consult shippers. This is not true; it’s possible. Every logistics service provider can become an advisor, but for this to happen, they need to put much effort into building business acumen. Moreover, it’s not as hard as it looks, as more or less all shippers have the same problems they need to solve. And there are a few key trends that are seen in the industry that fit almost all situations. Of course, if your sales reps could niche down to a few industries and become experts, they would become irresistible partners, and shippers would give business easily at premium margins.
Although for this to happen, organizations need to transform their sales process, invest in employees and engrave this trend into their company’s culture. But I understand that this is not for everyone, do not worry. If you are not dedicated to becoming an expert, or you do not have the dedication to build a top sales organization, the first strategy can help you a lot. And it’s easily trained.
This is it for today. If you liked what you read, please like and share.
And if you need help with building a killer sales process, get in touch with me.
About the author
Tomas Ananjevas is a supply chain professional with 15 years of experience purchasing and selling Logistic’s services and building a supply chain from scratch. He founded a consulting, training, and staffing company that works exclusively with the logistics industry. Tomas is helping logistics companies implement the necessary changes to ensure business growth and continuity. You can arrange a time to talk with Thomas about possible synergies by clicking here.