The instructional post/video concerns eight special questions which any freight broker or agent should know and be able to ask when making sales. Smart questioning is aimed at drawing more potential shippers by way of getting a deeper insight into their needs and desires, investigating their profiles and motives for making a deal, building an emotional connection with them (rapport).
I believe two skills to be quite substantial for your achieving success in brokerage:
1.) Good listener skill
2.) Asking the right questions skill
Some people can’t reach a compromise on what is more crucial for successful sales – good listening or proper questioning, – but for me they are on the same level.
In this article I intend to discuss the issue of why it is so important for a freight broker to ask specially designed questions during the sales process.
While I was composing this post, a variety of such model questions came to my mind, among them being those I ever used in the past and go on doing this till today.
I collected nearly a hundred of them and picked the ones I think are “the eight smart questions for good sales”, which are really cool to apply straight away in your sales practice.
№ 1 Question: What are the top issues you are challenging at the moment?
You can address this question to your potential shippers, their company or a department. The sense is that they are most likely to deliver three different answers. You are advised to start with talking about your prospect and then following a company or a department.
Life hack: Each time you ask a question, break your chatting off and switch on the active listening.
Keep focus on what they reply and how, write it all down.
Add a clarifying question: What would happen if you couldn’t settle them?
The starting question and supplementary are highly potential as they pull out on the surface your prospect’s hidden thoughts and senses.
№ 2 Question: What appeals to you the most about your current factoring provider?
This question is intended for quick inspection of how satisfied the prospects are about the service provided by the current factoring company.
If the answer is something like: “Oh yeah! I have been standing with these people for the last ten years and they have made my business easier. They are brilliant!” and so on and so forth. That means that they haven’t much trouble, but if you investigate deeper you could probably find an issue.
Otherwise when the reply is like: “Those”profis”? Pff! Never again! They screwed up the whole thing and this morning I had to struggle to check if the load has left and my customer will receive it in due time”.
The supplementary question could be: What do you dislike most about your factoring company?
These questions are meant to rip the veil off something foul. After all they shed light on hidden issues and how the potential clients feel about their current factoring providers.
Being asked, “What appeals to you the most about your current factoring provider?”, people are tempted to say, “That’s good you called me, I’m just searching for my would-be partners because the company I have been dealing with messed up for a second time”.
№ 3 Question: How do you make a decision about attracting a new factoring provider?
Here you need to comprehend the process of approval and stages your customer passes through when deciding to employ you as a transportation provider. How long does this path take for you as a provider and how painstaking it is? In some cases you can easily set your partnership, in others you compete for being chosen, proving the compliance with a range of requirements. Larger companies put more barriers in front of you while small companies reduce the whole thing to a simple demand-offer procedure.
№ 4 Question: Are your needs expected to grow in the coming 12 or 18 months?
The economy is constantly fluctuating here and there to its peak and down points. Problems happen all the time. In view of that, freight brokers should keep their finger on the pulse. Posing this question you may take some owners by surprise because I’m sure they haven’t given it a thought. That would be motivating for them to start a dialogue in the direction necessary for you to draw the valuable information and establish a rapport with them.
№ 5 Question: Would you like your chief to promote you next year? Maybe I could do something?
With this truly a deep question you are addressing your opponent’s personal desires and needs and helping him to find his way of achieving them. Outlining his perspectives in getting high evaluation, promotion or other benefits from the chief you are stimulating to action and achieving the goals. Suggest your help by saying: “I know how to help you achieve that” and the person is unlikely to deny that. He would rather answer: “Mm-hmm, I’m for it. Tell me what you can do for me”. Now he is open to liaison with you and you are in a position to set collaboration.
I would bet that brokers rarely ask questions of this kind.
№ 6 Question: What are your three main indicators for estimating the effectiveness of our cooperation?
You are enquiring into the performance metrics your vendors stick to and understand how they could estimate your progress with them as a freight broker provider. Today we have a wide variety of existing KPIs measured towards cargo pickup, delivery, number of claims, percent of accepted tenders, degree of load, price variation and many other things. Shippers may use any rating type for their vendors so your task is to get to know the key of them.
№ 7 Question: A lot of our clients complain about X. How do you feel about them?
Some of the topics you might touch on are truck carrier capacity, prices, and timely pickup, increased additional expenses, claims for damages. Why not say, for example, “Hi, Dan, lots of our customers share with us that Covid-19 pandemic has left them without their forwarders. How did you get through this period? Did you have struggles too?”
№ 8 Question: How long does it take weekly to solve problems with your current partners?
This smart sales question, though not pleasant, but rather result-yielding in a sense it gets your clients pause a bit and remember the occasions when they were put in an uncomfortable position or upset by their current partner mistaking or messing up. Touching the wounds and reviving in their memory again when they were scrambling trying to fix the mistakes of their previous freight broker providers you take over an advantage to promote yourself. All the cards are in your hands now. It will most likely end up with them saying: “Look, I have just had a conversation with one lad; it seems to me that my present brokers are failing their job and what if I changed them for others?”
In this respect the eight smart questions are extremely powerful. Knowing their importance I laid down them all above on just the “take and use” principle. That doesn’t mean you will need the entire list any time, but implementing top one or two in another dialogue with your prospect client – that will do.