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Questions To Ask To Move More Freight!


The life of a freight broker agent (or broker - if you want to pursue this) can be very rewarding, but not without some challenges. Calling to find freight is definitely one of those challenges of the business.  Freight agents need to find freight - so you are going to make lots of calls, and every freight broker agent in this industry knows this.  To add to this, you may only want be a freight broker agent, and you're not really a salesperson.  Well the real job is to solve your customer’s freight and shipping challenges.  

  • In order to solve challenges for our customers, we must first figure out:

  • 1.     What are the customers challenges?

  • 2.     What frustrates them?

  • 3.     What do they wish other freight brokers would do that they don’t?

  • 4.     What causes the customer stress?

  • 5.     What lanes or bids that are available?

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  • The answers to these questions can’t be discovered when we do 90% of the talking.  Instead, we MUST ask great questions, and then close our mouths and write down the answers we’re given.  Once we know what their challenges are, we know that we can assist them to solve these challenges - then we can start talking about us. 

  • What Questions Must You Ask - The Shipping Decision Makers - To Build A Relationship With Them:

  • 1.  Tell Me About Your Business?

  • First off, you should have already googled the company you’re calling.  Ask this question to break the ice.  Good companies love to talk about what they’re doing.  Join in the conversation from the information you already have with them.

  • 2.  What Are Your Main Responsibilities?

  • The answer you want to hear is “I’m the Shipping Manager/ Shipping Decision Maker/ in charge of freight here”.  If they’re director of purchasing, simply ask for the name of the shipping manager.  After asking for the shipping manager’s name, ask if you can speak to them.  Once you get to the shipping decision maker, listen carefully to their responsibilities.

  • 3.  Who Else, Besides You, Makes Your Shipping Decisions?

  • Your goal is to talk to the person with the power.  Everybody else has problems you can potentially solve, but the person who makes the shipping decisions is the only one who has the authority to let you assist him/her.

  • 4.  What’s Your Biggest Challenge Shipping Your _______________?

  • Ask for the biggest challenge shipping their products.  Ensure you write down the answer to this question.

  • 5.  What Happens When ________________________________ Happens?

  • This is for locating their challenges beforehand, so you can solve them when they happen.

  • 6.  What Are Your Main Priorities While Moving Your Freight?

  • (IE. Price, transit time, what Software / TMS may they be using, etc.)  Ask question write down the answer too.

  • 7.  What Qualities Do You Look For In A Great Transportation Partner?

  • Your goal is to be excellent in this profession.  Excellent results only come to excellent people with excellent work ethics.  When you know what’s important to them, you’ll ensure them that you’ll fulfil their requirements.

  • 8.  What Do You Like Most About Your Current Brokerage Company?

  • This question shows that you have class and that you don’t speak poorly of your competition.

  • 9.  What Would You Change About Your Current Brokerage Company?

  • If they say “I wish they would get their rates to me faster”, then you ensure them that you’ll get your rates to them fast!  With all of the information your prospects give you, write everything down.  By taking action and giving them what their current agent doesn’t, you’ll stand out and be seen as both better and different than their current agent.

  • 10.  Do You Keep Your Options Open For Transportation Partners?

  • This is one of the main questions you MUST ask.  This question qualifies your prospect.

  • 11.  What’s Your Criteria for Bringing in a New Brokerage Company?

  • Some may have criteria, some don’t.  Overall, their criteria is for you to solve their challenges.  When you go to them with your solutions, you break their autopilot and comfort zone and they won’t be able to help but listen to you.

  • 12.  How Do You Measure Success With Current Brokerage Company??

  • The main way is that their Brokerage Company gets their freight picked up, transported and delivered on time.  But always see if you can go deeper for other answers and insights.

  • 13.  How Would I Win Your “Freight Agent / Broker Of The Year” Award?

  • They might be reluctant to answer or tell you they don’t have an award like this.  Use the phrase “But if you did have an award, how would I win it” to give them permission to open up and tell you what is most important to them.

  • 14.  What Lanes Are You Shipping Right Now or Bids Available?

  • Remember, success on the telephone goes to the person with the best notes.

  • 15.  What’s Your Email Address So I Can Send You My Information?

  • You MUST ask this question every time.  We’ve already shown we’re interested in them and gotten to know their requirements.  Don’t forget this final step where you capitalize on all the work you’ve already done.

  • There are countless other questions a freight broker agents could ask a customer/prospect.  The above questions are a great starting point to engage them and find the answers that will not only serve to develop a relationship but help you be The freight broker agent they choose to solve their freight and shipping challenges.  Now, it's up to you to ensure they've made the right choice and turn them from a good prospect into a great customer.

Make sure if planning on being a freight broker to research and learning the Federal rules and regulations first.

Here's a link from the F.M.C.S.A. that may help or go to their site and learn.  Broker Guide

Disclaimer: This information above does not constitute legal advice; if you require legal assistance, please consult the services of a professional who has the necessary legal education, certification, training and experience in the freight brokerage sector.