This year has been full of unprecedented situations that no amount of experience or training could fully prepare us for. We have all been working hard to readjust both our personal and professional lives, but it is vital to remember that our customers have been going through the same uncomfortable and uncertain adjustment period as well.
In the logistics industry, success is often measured by efficiency and the ability to persevere in the face of the unexpected. While this is still true, as a freight broker, remaining successful in a time where customers might not need your services will likely look a bit different.
Make Communication the Priority
Many of the clients you have relationships with are dealing with their own fears and concerns over what the future will hold. They may be suspending most of their operations or running on an extremely lean budget in the hopes that they can outlast the pandemic.
Just because some customers no longer need your services right now doesn’t mean that you should file them away and only focus on the ones who do. Remember that success happens over the long term, so the choices that you make now will certainly matter in the future.
Now more than ever, you should seek to develop deeper relationships with all of your clients. Show them the same level of empathy and compassion that you would hope to receive when you were forced to make tough choices. They will remember your kindness, and it will foster the kind of loyalty that lasts through the years.
Think of it this way. You wouldn’t hesitate to make a sound financial investment into your business. This is the same situation, but you’re making a sound emotional investment that will pay dividends over the long-term.
Explore New Opportunities Thoughtfully
Is it appropriate to continue trying to expand your operation during a pandemic? The answer is yes, but you will likely have to approach it differently.
For example, a freight broker might not want to simply cold call businesses and jump straight into a sales pitch. Instead, try reaching out to companies that are seeing rapid growth right now and ask questions about the difficulties and challenges they might be facing with such a surge in growth.
Businesses that are seeing unprecedented demand for goods and services are under just as much stress as the ones that are being forced to tighten their belts and ride out the hard times. Many are suddenly finding themselves in over their heads, and some may not have the experience to understand exactly what they need from a logistics company.
As the logistics expert, it is your job to read between the lines and ask the right questions so that you can offer trustworthy advice to struggling companies. Even if they choose not to secure your services on that initial call, they will remember that you took the time to listen and discuss possible solutions instead of simply trying to push a sale.
Listening first and then offering a workable solution to overwhelmed businesses is an appropriate way to keep your own operation growing without sacrificing your reputation as a professional company that cares about its customers more than its bottom line.
Care For Your Carriers
Carriers are the lifeblood of the logistics industry. Without them, none of this would be possible. This is why having stable, reliable carriers is one of the most valuable assets you could ask for. It is also why you should invest the extra time and effort into cultivating good relationships with a core group of dependable carriers during this pandemic.
Now is the perfect time to build solid relationships with reliable carriers. Many of them are facing just as much uncertainty as the rest of the logistics industry, and they are just as concerned about being able to safely provide for their families. If you can deliver clear expectations, stable volume and excellent communication in these difficult times, you’ll be able to build a strong carrier base, which is critical for continued success.
Be open and honest with your carriers. Ask if they have preferred lanes of operation. Utilize the extensive SPI network to find return loads for them as often as you can. Take the time to build rapport with them. Help them navigate the best ways to safely and efficiently deliver their loads.
Let each of your carriers know that you care about them as people, and they’ll show you the same level of respect by consistently striving for excellence.
We Will Carry On
At SPI Logistics, we pride ourselves on being the true industry experts. We are a leading voice in the world of logistics, and we take that responsibility very seriously.
Persevering in the face of a pandemic is not something that any of us have been trained for, so we are all learning and growing together. However, the hallmark of a great logistics company is the ability to adapt to the unexpected and thrive under pressure.
It can be tempting to devote all of your focus and attention on the clients who do still need freight to be moved right now, but this is a mistake that can have a serious cost over the long term.
Remember that your success is ultimately built on the relationships that you are able to cultivate and maintain over the course of your career. Clients that may not need you now will likely need to have freight moved in the future, but if you allow them to fall to the wayside when times are tough, why should they trust you with their business when times are good?
Consistency and communication are the keys to success here. Use this time to strengthen relationships with all of your clients, and they will remember your effort when life goes back to normal. Take care of your carriers, and they will stick by you and work hard for you.
At SPI Logistics, we know that excellence is a team effort, and that doesn’t change, even during a pandemic.