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nklingensmith

Plague of the Millennials

I just finished reading “Millennials Incorporated” by Lisa Orrell, a book dedicated to the newest and most misunderstood generation: the Millennials (also known as Gen Y). As someone responsible for the recruiting, hiring, developing and managing of the most sought after generation of workers, this book was helpful to me in understanding that I am not alone – the issues I face daily are not unique to our business, industry, or positions. The Millennials Incorporated, by Lisa OrrellMillennial Professionals are the generation of people born after 1982, graduated after 2000, and are most recently invading your organizations as we speak. We, as employers, trainers and managers, can foster and develop this invading force of workers, or we can choose to ignore the problems we are facing and allow them to infect our livelihoods. “Millennials Incorporated” puts a ton of emphasis on companies investing time to understand this generation and how best to motivate and develop them as the future leaders of our organizations. The one problem I have with this book is that a number of its suggestions border on coddling and pandering the generation who is already commonly perceived as spoiled, entitled and whiny. Yes, it is the role of a successful leader to inspire the best out of people, but it’s important for you (Millennials) to understand – it’s still the BOOMERS and GEN X’s running the companies and making the decisions that will affect your future. You must also understand the climate and take ownership of your future.

Let’s first understand the background. This generation was raised to feel special. They were the first generation required to wear bike helmets! They were the first generation to have parental controls on their TV’s. The punishments they are dealt in school are so PC that I am not certain if a “stern talking to” is allowed anymore without parental consent and a guidance counselor present. They were raised with more rules and laws than any generation before. They were raised to feel special, protected, and valued. They grow up with social media and know that their voices ring around the world without constraint and they have unfettered access to all of the information that they want. They were raised to have a voice in their family dynamic and led to believe that they really can accomplish anything.

Millennials – you are perceived by the world as spoiled, entitled, lazy, cocky, disloyal, arrogant and deserving. It seems this generation grew up watching too many movies where all the 20-something employees sit in internet think tanks and sip espresso while sitting on bean bags and whining about their personal lives. It is up to you to confound these perceptions. You ask “WHY” a lot. “Why?” is a valuable question but can often be perceived as WHINING. Toe that line carefully. The flip side of this coin that Millennials are confident, achieving, they mature faster and have been raised with a strong sense of community. Which of these two do you think will be your company’s future leaders?

Some paradoxical truths of Millennials:

  • They expect to be treated with respect, yet they feel they are endowed and do not have to earn it.
  • They need to be active. If their task is to press a button all day, they’ll grow bored and seek other means of entertainment.
  • They’re fast thinkers! They grew up with the internet and the world at their finger tips. Everything is faster to this generation. The problem being that they expect their career path to evolve as fast as high speed data.
  • They’re “pack animals.” They are team-orientated and seek to include others. The downside is that they also seek to be included and feel entitled to be so without earning it. Millennials want a seat at the table and feel disenfranchised when they don’t have it.
  • They like “balance.” This really translates that they don’t want to work long hours. The best way to compromise here is for the Millennials to give 130% while at work and for the employer to help create an environment where they can leave work at the door.
  • They are expressive but are new to “consequences” for failing to filter their thoughts when necessary.
  • They want autonomy without having earned it, and are quick to blame lack of supervision for their failures. If you want it, OWN IT!
  • They are goal driven and need to be challenged quickly.
  • They are motivated by advancement and growth. But remember, everything is faster! They expect the promotions in 2 years that took other generations 20. Adapt with new milestones for growth.
  • Praise and praise often. Praise like you’re training a new puppy. But, Millennials, is this really what you want to be equated with? Don’t seek praise without earning it!
  • Millennials do not handle conflict and criticism well. They respond well to positive reinforcement (again with the puppy reference).
  • Abandon old methods of leading with harsh and abrupt communication, negativity, threats and fear. The only numbers this will increase is your turnover!

The most positive thing for all three generations to understand about the Millennials: we ALL want them to be our next leaders. Coach them as such. Reward them with responsibility. Set clear objectives and get to know them personally. Millennials, understand that you must also rise to the occasion. No company wants turnover but there comes a point when you’re resume has more jobs than years on it – you’re stock goes way down! Align our goals and objectives. The #1 thing Millennials look for is a leader that they can learn from!

“The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation.” – Pearl S. Black

– Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales and Personnel Development
Twitter: @theBGExperience

Wicked Awesomeness

As the book is about to close on 2011, I took a few minutes to reflect on the events of the past year. Facts and figures are fine, but to truly capture the sentiment of the time, I thought it best to read my own words as the year progressed. I began the year returning from Vegas with the Executive Team at BlueGrace Logistics after having just toured the Zappos.com corporate offices. The epiphany I felt at that moment on the plane was unimaginable. I was inspired. I quickly wrote out a BLOG called “Awesomeness,” detailing the many reasons why, both personal and professional, I was proud to be part of the greatest company on the planet. Our goal at BlueGrace is global domination. Thought some people more mature than I might deem that a silly goal, I know that we’re just getting warmed up!

Now, as I reflect on achieving “awesomeness,” I realize that for 2012 we must set the even bar higher – “Wicked Awesomeness.” Let’s let the other guys compete for 2nd place while we continue to lap them in innovation, progressive leadership, and wicked awesome customer loyalty. The fact is that BlueGrace Logistics is the best thing to happen to transportation since the wheel! We are the game changer because we are literally putting the sport into transportation logistics. Excuses are for other people. Losing is for other people. The sentiments of August, 2010 (You play to win the game) haven’t changed. In fact, we’re just better at it. Because if you’re not playing to win, you might as well just give it to a kid who will use it.

So what makes us wicked awesome?

  • Our innovation is one step ahead of the evolving needs of our customers. We adapt to the changes in the industry but don’t abandon the principles that got us here (Not to mention any names, Gitomer). “Top 10.5 Reasons why Jeffrey Gitomer is a Sales Sellout
  • We understand that our clients single greatest need is to focus on their core competencies. We provide value and solutions to their business needs, allowing them to spend their “15 minutes” the way they most effective for them.
  • We believe in hiring “People, not resumes.” The future of our company lies in the potential of our single greatest asset, our employees. Each person comprises the very foundation of our organization.
  • We understand that customer loyalty is based on how well you serve your customers, and that the customer experience happens long before the first time the phone rings. We want to provide OMG service on every call and will never “Adding insult to injury.”
  • We strive to be the best partner in the business, and provide as much value for our carrier partners as we do our customer. See my “Response to a fool” who feels logistics is still about selling the cheapest price.

The fact is we are the best at everything we do because we say we are. If we didn’t believe we were going to be the best, then we should be in a different business. We aren’t worried about competition because our sole purpose is finding better ways to serve our customers, employees and partners. With that end in mind, we feel that we have been, are now, and always will continue to be the epitome of #wickedawesomeness.

So is there a purpose to my self-aggrandizing, sophomoric rant? Of course there is. I am proud of the accomplishments of my peers this past year. I am more so excited about what we will accomplish this coming year. I never agreed that BLOGS shouldn’t be self-promoting. Our successes will never make the news so I find comfort in the ability to brag about the successes of the hard work of so many. So while you’re trying to balance awesomeness without offending anyone – we’ve moved onto wicked awesomeness! If you aren’t blogging about your awesomeness, maybe your title should be “happy with just good enough.”

-Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales and Personnel Development
Twitter: TheBGexperience

Response to a Fool

A recent discussion on Linkedin regarding 3PL’s in the transportation market included a number of foolish comments made by a clearly disgruntled freight carrier sales rep. Below are the highlights from his misinformed, one dimensional, price hoarding rant, followed by my b*#[email protected] slap…

  • “Most shippers of any regular frequency have become fairly saavy during the “great recession”. Most accounts I call on are turning away 3PLs because they don’t provide a value added. Even in the case of a small shipper (5-10 LTL shipments per month), I regularly see the difference in the 3PL price and the direct-to-carrier price to be under $10.00 on an average pallet sized shipment…”
  • “A few 3PLs are great partners for both the customer and the carrier. Most are not. They regularly call the carrier with no idea of what is going on with a shipment THEY scheduled or the customer cannot get an answer on a shipment, claim, pickup, etc…”
  • “I have worked in one of the largest markets in the country and in one of the smallest and the song remains the same, an 800 number, a computer and assorted tariffs from multiple carriers do not a logistics provider make.”
  • “…what I do know about most 3PLs is: 1) They depress freight rates which directly impacts the livelihood and opportunity of carrier associates. 3PLs don’t create freight, they create lower profitability on the freight that exists. 2) They will undercut their carrier “partners” without hesitation yet howl in indignation if a carrier dare “back solicit” a customer. 3) Frequently mislead or directly lie to a customer about how the customer-3PL-customer relationship is defined from a legal perspective. 4) No carrier does business with a 3PL because they want to. Why would they? It invariably results in the carrier moving the same freight at a decreased O/R.”

I’m also going to disagree with you on a number of fronts. There may be a number of 3PL’s who operate as such but you clearly underestimate the value in which a 3PL brings to a carrier. It’s obvious as to why you would have such bias. A good 3PL partnership does not hurt the carrier, it hurts the rep. The historic mentality of a carrier rep is to sell on price, price, price.

Of course, a carrier will make less direct profit on a shipment when the revenue is less. What you are overlooking is that the carrier has significantly less overhead on that shipment. The revenue may be less, but the profit % will be higher. The carrier is not paying a sales rep salary, car, commission, expenses, insurance, cell phone, etc. on that shipment. They are not paying the rent, electric bill, office supplies, phone service, etc. for sales to secure that shipment. With a 3PL using EDI and TMS, the carrier is not paying the administrative expense of tracking, uploading W&I or POD’s or communicating this with customers via phone or email. I could go on and on. This is a statistical reality and of course I would expect this to be overlooked by a sales rep losing out on commissions and thinking this is just a matter or price v. price.

Also way understated is the value of the 3PL. You are right that a carrier would not deal with a 3PL if it didn’t have to. But they have to – because a good 3PL can and does provide value that the carrier cannot. The carrier cannot provide a single source for data management, data warehousing, a single source for tracking, shipping documents, addresses, product information, carrier procurement and rate negotiating, unbiased carrier scorecards, etc. some of the best carriers, partners like SEFL or Con-way, can only provide the services that SEFL or Con-Way provide. Even YRC, who has some of the better technology, is leagues behind what a good 3PL can do. Customers cannot pay the hundreds of thousands of $ to purchase a TMS and even if they did and attempt to manage their own transportation, they are doing so at the expense of their core competencies.

A carrier and especially a carrier rep can only provide “Freight” Services, and as we all can see, this discussion group is for freight as well as LOGISTICS and SUPPLY CHAIN – two things which go way beyond the scope of what any one direct carrier can offer.

-Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales and Personnel Development
Twitter: TheBGexperience

Top 10.5 Reasons Why Jeffrey Gitomer is a Sales Sellout

As a Sales Trainer, Sales Manager and successful Career Sales Professional, I have always been a fan of Jeffrey Gitomer. Although a little goofy at times, I have always subscribed to and practiced his sales strategies and found sales to be fun. I do respect anyone who can understand and adapt to a change in the landscape, but I just cannot get on board with a complete 180 of someone’s principles. I have tweeted, “If you are using social media instead of cold calling, you’re lazy. If you’re not using social media as well as cold calling, you’re stupid.” But it’s not like he said that he understands the new paradigm and that we must adapt to succeed – no, he completely abandoned everything he’s been writing about for years! Will I get a refund for those books? No – he wants us to buy the new ones he wrote after he woke up one day and realized the internet isn’t going anywhere. So, here are:

Top 10.5 Reasons Why Jeffrey Gitomer is a Sales Sellout

1. His new book, “Social BOOM!” reads a little like Homer Simpson claiming he was the King of the Internet, yet didn’t own a computer… or like Al Gore claiming he invented the internet. He is late to the party and trying to make us think he’s throwing it!

2. His Twitter feed reads like the used book list on Amazon.com.

3. His Twitter feed looks like the revolving advertising panel during a Major League Baseball game – only it’s always advertising him!

4. If you “Tweet, therefore you are,” than you may not be much… 795 (as of 9/28/11) self-promoting tweets and none of them directly reaching out to your followers.

5. “Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Lead the way! #JGWebinar ” (Gitomer) A little late, Jeff.


6. At a “Leadership Event” hosted by Jeffrey Gitomer (author of “The Sales Bible”), Gitomer stood in the crowd and said, “Cold Calling is a waste of time,” yet his CD on “Cold Calling” sits for sale in the back of the room… and it’s not even discounted. I am anxious to read his book on “egregious flip-flopping.”

7. Section 3.2 (about 17 pgs) of the “Sales Bible” are dedicated to cold calling in sales referring to them as “popular,” “important,” and “fun.” Where is the section on pandering?

8. He says that “salespeople from legitimate businesses believe that the ‘No soliciting’ sign is not aimed at them…” Does that mean your business is no longer legitimate?

9. If “every NO gets you closer to a YES,” how many ignored Direct Messages do you need to get a YES?

10. He claims you will get 100% of your calls returned if, “You call them up on the phone. Leave half a message, pretend like you have been cut off and hang up.” He goes on to give the call script, “Hello this is Jeffrey. 704-333-eleven-twelve. I was speaking with a couple of your biggest competitors yesterday. They were talking about you, and they said … and you hang up.” Supposedly the prospect will be so curious to hear the rest of your message that he will call back. Does that mean you just trail off your message on twitter or lin……..

10.5 7.5 rules to follow on a cold call include “smile when you talk” and to “…get an appointment…persist until you get it.” Which emoticons do you use in twitter to show your smile? :)

Care to share your comments? Leave a reply below or find me on Twitter!

-Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales and Personnel Development
  Twitter: TheBGexperience

15 Minutes

About a week ago I was outside trying to replace the handle to the door to my Lanai. It had been broken for several weeks and should have been a 15 minute job. It took me the better part of two weeks. I had to go to Home Depot and buy a new one. I had to remove the old one which took tools that I did not have. I had to find a way to break off a centimeter’s worth of metal, again, without the right tools. It was 96 degrees and the mosquitoes which have taken up residence were laying siege. Nearing the end of this project, and after working out in the bug infested heat for the better part of an hour while my dog and cat looked on in amusement, I thought about all of the other house projects that I have as a single home owner.  I thought about the broken handle to the patio door, the lights that needed changing in my 12 foot high ceilings, the screens that needed replacing, the broken garbage disposal – and all of the fun stuff I was going to have to put on hold while I became Mr. Fix-It. Wiping the sweat from my brow I said to myself, “Damn, I have GOT to get better at this stuff.”

Then I said, “No I don’t. I need to get better at MY job.” I am the Director of Sales & Personnel Development at BlueGrace Logistics. I oversee the Hiring & Recruiting, the Training & Development, and the National Sales Departments. I wear many other hats but at the end of the day, it’s my job to increase profits for the company and further the development of our employees. I need to get better at that job so that I can simply pay someone else to help with those items around the house.

The 15 minutes I spend doing my job are exponentially more valuable than the 15 minutes I spend screwing something up around the house. I need to focus on my core competency so that I can be successful in all aspects of my life. Focusing on my core competencies allows me to impact the careers and lives of our 90+ employees, our hundreds of vendors and our countless customers. Focusing on my core competencies will allow me the means to have the work around my house performed professionally instead of the shoddy band-aids I am going to put on it. This will allow me to spend my down time reenergizing and enjoying my personal interests. To make all this happen, I only have to do what it is that I do and do it well.

Why would a manufacturer of medical devices not outsource their transportation so that they can focus on their core competency? Wouldn’t a manufacturer of network equipment rather be #1 in network equipment than in shipping? Why would a distributor of PVC piping spend tens of thousands on an order management system when they could simply use our state-of-the-art Transportation Management System (TMS) at no cost?

The truth that I have found is that companies either are ignoring shipping as a necessary evil of what they do and are allowing a minimum wage employee to make million dollar decisions, daily; or are foolishly investing boat loads of money to have people handle their freight internally when they should really be investing their time, money and expertise into what it is that they are already great at. Allow a 3PL to handle your logistics simply because I am going to do it better than you are and significantly less expensive than it will cost you directly both in rates and soft costs. You spend your 15 minutes doing what it is that you do best.

– Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales & Personnel Development

Follow me on Twitter: @theBGExperience

21 Awesome Interview Tips, Stupid

  1. If your resume is more than 2 pages long, it better be in hard cover and authored by Dan Brown or James Patterson!
  2. Please don’t fill your resume with fluffy sales revenue numbers. If I don’t know your industry, I don’t care. If I know your industry, then I’m not impressed.
  3. Writing a paragraph about your “qualifications” that aren’t licenses or certifications is the same as using 26 font and a half page title when you wrote papers in 11th grade English class… and it reads the same way!
  4. Adjectives are not Key Words.
  5. When you tell me you are a “relationship builder,” you are really telling me that you don’t like to prospect.
  6. When you tell me how much of a “closer” you are, you are really telling me that you don’t like to prospect.
  7. If you use Social Media as a replacement to cold calling, you are lazy. If you don’t use Social Media as a supplement to cold calling, you are stupid.
  8. If you no-call, no-show for an interview, you are not only wasting my time but you are taking someone else’s opportunity from them. Karma’s a b***h. Just sayin’.  
  9. If you are going to be late to an interview, just keep driving and be really early for your next one because you aren’t getting this job!
  10. Your boy band called, they want their 5 o’clock shadow back. Shave for an interview!
  11. If I’m not important enough to bring your resume to a job interview, then you are not important enough for me to care what’s on it.
  12. If you don’t bring your resume to a job interview, I am just going to make stuff up.
  13. Unless that phone call is the job offer you really wanted, then leave your phone in the car because you won’t be getting this job!
  14. If you put your phone or car keys on my desk I am just going to assume they are mine and begin to thumb through your photos.
  15. Name dropping on an interview is a great way to help me remember later that I didn’t like you.
  16. If you don’t wear a tie to a job interview I am just going to assume that’s a noose around your neck because you just hung yourself.
  17. When asked what you are looking for, let’s just assume that I know you want a “Stable company with growth opportunity.” It pretty much goes without saying that you don’t want a big glass ceiling at a company that will probably go out of business and fail to pay you commissions.
  18. We don’t hire managers. We promote them.
  19. Ladies, I’ll never assume to know how to tell a woman to dress but if you wear it to a club, don’t wear it to an interview.
  20. If more than 3 girls in the office will stare daggers at you when you walk in, don’t wear it to an interview.
  21. If your first question to me is “What is the salary?” then the answer will be NOTHING because you aren’t getting hired.  

– Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales & Personnel Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

Click Here for more information on Careers with BlueGrace Logistics.

Adding Insult to Injury

customer service | customer loyalty | customer relationsEarlier today I spent about 20 minutes on hold while trying to schedule an appointment with a doctor. By the time my call was received, the person on the other end of the line was so anxious to get me off of the phone that she would cut me off mid sentence. She would ask me questions that I sometimes was unsure of the answer to, and then interrupt me while I searched for the answer. This is a person whose job it is to welcome patients into a medical practice. It is this persons job to schedule appointments for them for procedures, some of which are invasive and even scary. Today I was only scheduling an X-Ray and CT scan of my knee. Not life threatening. Not invasive. Not scary. Just painful and painfully annoying.

A little more than three years ago however, I was diagnosed for the second time with cancer. It was a little more than a month before my wedding. It was right in the middle of summer time and beach volleyball season. I was working diligently to become a successful sales manager of a growing logistics company. Then, I may or may not have been scared, but I was injured. Every ticking second on hold on the phone only grew my frustration levels. This time only allows someone to worry or become agitated, but I can understand that I am not the only patient in the world. I am just a guy who tries to get things done. What’s worse however, is how traumatically rude and condescending the person on the other end of the phone was. I say traumatic because yes, it was a traumatizing experience to me. I was dying. I was racing the clock. I didn’t know if I was going to be alive for my wedding. And then I spent 45 minutes on hold and was finally received by someone whom I was asking for help from, and it was abundantly clear to me that they didn’t care if I lived or died. They just wanted to clear the call.

With less than 24 hours before my surgery, I fired my surgeon. I couldn’t cure cancer and neither could my doctor. But they can impact the way in which a person gets treated during a trying time. They can make someone feel comfortable through this experience. I was up against something, but it was more important to me to not let the things that I could control add more insult to injury.

Think about this if you are involved in a customer service role. In transportation, remember that your customer’s experience begins long before you answer their call. They had put their trust in you, your company, your rates, your transportation management system, your customer service. Their business depends on being able to effectively ship their product to their customers. People’s jobs may lie in the balance. If they are calling it is because they have a need. They have things to worry about. They have tasks to complete. If something has gone awry, they are injured. They may have to wait on hold in order to receive OMG customer service, but it is worth waiting a few extra minutes to be sure that the person who takes that call gives them all of the respect and attention that they deserve. Remember that the implications of a late shipment could mean jobs lost, the success or failure of a person’s business, the rise and fall of profits, and at the very least this person had to spend precious time out of an already busy and hectic day to ask you for your help. Be sure to give your absolute best when given the opportunity to prove yourself.

My old boss once said to me, “it’s not whether something will or won’t go wrong: it will. It’s what happens when it does that you prove who you are.”

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development

The BG Experience: Hire People, Not Resumes

I read several hundred resumes per week and effectively get my fiction fix from there. Well, science fiction, really. Resumes, especially sales resumes are portraits of creative writing containing lots of unverifiable accomplishments and vast numbers that are not really quantifiable or relevant to anything. Resumes should really be nothing more than talking points for interviews. They tell you little about a person’s work history and even less about them as a person. What has allowed us to be successful in our hiring practices and building the exciting, fun, and largely successful organization that we have is by hiring people, not resumes. Find the right person and then train them how to do the job.

In my recent Blogs, Awesomeness and , I discuss the types of individuals we look to drive and promote our culture. We hire who we want to be. We use multiple people to interview or interact with candidates and are looking for people with the following personal characteristics:

  • Caring
  • Smart
  • bluegrace employees | hiring tips | interview tipsFun
  • Internal Locus
  • Humble
  • Confident
  • Passionate
  • Competitive
  • Not Afraid
  • Growth Driven
  • Tad Bit Odd
  • Pack minded
  • Communicates Well
  • Tolerant

So how can you identify these qualities in a person? Ask us for “theBGexperience&rdquo interview questions & techniques. Decide upon your mission, your vision, your values and the company culture you want. Then look for the individuals to help you accomplish this end. We strive for things such as innovation and speed to market. We strive to offer OMG Customer Service. We want to make money. We want to dominate the globe. While of course we operate with the end in mind, we hire people at the core for who they are and treat them as the very foundation of everything we want to be. You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.

– Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development

Choosing the Candidate that Best Fits Your Company

Filling an open position in a company is not simply a matter of identifying someone with the right educational degree or technical ability.  Less obvious are things like social skills, workplace demeanor and communication style.  In the long run, character and chemistry are just as important as capability in building a successful team.  The bottom line is finding the right combination of skills and sensibility to deliver results while collaborating on larger collective challenges

-Jerry Morris, Human Resources 

choosing candidates | hiring tips | human resources

Awesomeness

awesomeness | corporate cultureI’ve been told you’re not supposed to promote or brag about your company. Blogs aren’t supposed to be about you. Why not? Will people really look down on us because I brag about how much I love my job? You spend over a third of your life at work. I truly hope if given the opportunity to voice your opinion about your company that you would scream from the rooftops how you think the place you spend over a third of your life at and the people you spend over a third of your life with are the very definition of “awesomeness.”

Work life balance is a myth. My father once asked me if my decision to remain in Florida at a critical point in my life was because of my job or my life. I told him that I don’t distinguish between the two. I choose to work on my own time because I share a common vision with those that I spend more time with than any other person in my sphere. I choose to spend time outside of the office with those I work with because we all have a very strong common interest that creates an impenetrable bond- we all work towards the success of our organization. Here at BlueGrace, we define success as not only global domination, but also enriching the lives of our employees, customers and vendors.

Bobby Harris is never done discovering ways to develop our culture. He reads books and friends CEO’s from all types of industries. He visits corporate offices in efforts to understand successful people-centered cultures. I’ve heard him say countless times that he would rather enjoy coming into work than to make a lot of money. I don’t see why we can’t do both. Our culture and our desire for awesomeness make it easy to have unparalleled work ethic through all levels of the company. We work long. We work hard. We work well. We have defined and redefined our customer loyalty department because we will never be satisfied providing anything less than the greatest possible customer experience in not just the logistics industry.

Our technology is the most advanced, capable and innovative in the logistics industry. Our competitors have access to the very same transportation management system backbone, so why shouldn’t I brag that we are constantly sharpening our pencil to customize BlueShip™ so that our customers can become more efficient and stay ahead of the technology curve. I was instrumental in the creation of our inside sales team. This is my single greatest professional accomplishment. How can I not blog about how each person that joins that team feels a personal responsibility for each and every one of their customers’ shipments? I’d be remiss to not tell the world how they define our culture and it’s that very culture that allows us to serve our customers so well.

So blogs are not supposed to be self-promotional? I just don’t know how else I can talk about transportation without it. Perhaps, if you aren’t promoting your organization in your blogs, then maybe your organization just isn’t awesome enough.

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development

The 12 Days of Christmas

  •  On the 1st day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, a full list of each commodity:

Capacity in freight shipping has increased dramatically in a short amount of time and the holiday season will be no different. Shippers, consignees, and freight carriers are all running skeleton crews especially as Christmas approaches. Take the time to plan ahead! Minimize mistakes by being thorough in your packing lists and especially in listing the contents of your shipments on your BOL (Description, Dimensions, Quantity, Packaging, NMFC and Class).

  • On the 2nd day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 2 Bills of Lading:

Keep accurate records of what you’re shipping! Keep this information indefinitely by utilizing a 3PL who offers a Transportation Management System (TMS) and store this information electronically.

  • On the 3rd day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 3 Competitive Quotes:

Quote with multiple carriers for not only cost, but also availability and transit time! There will be fewer drivers and less people on the docks of freight carriers as well as your consignee. Allow for extra transit time to ensure your products get to where they need to be. Save yourself the headache of comparing multiple direct carriers by working with a 3PL who can provide a TMS, which calculates multiple quotes and transit times from multiple common LTL carriers.

  • On the 4th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 4pm Pick-up:

Especially as Christmas approaches, there may be less drivers working and less ability to pick up freight. If you want to kick your warehouse guys early for the day, be sure to allow for a minimum 2 hour pick up window and perhaps more. If your warehouse usually closes at 5pm, schedule your pick up for an hour earlier but be prepared to wait! Delayed transit because of missed pick-ups during the holiday weeks are not abnormal!

  • On the 5th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 5-Day Guarantee!!!

Guarantee your shipments! It costs marginally more to guarantee your delivery, whether it is a one-day point, two, three, four or five, and avoiding late deliveries easily offsets that cost. Your consignee’s are closing early, letting their warehouse employees off on vacation, and you can seriously injure your supply chain by failing to have product arrive on time. Ask your sales rep for Guaranteed, Air Freight and Expedited options!

  • On the 6th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 6 days delayed invoicing:

Many people take vacation days this time of year, from the carriers, to your office, to your consignee. This can create for delayed invoicing and delayed payments. You don’t accept your customers A/P person being on vacation, as a reason for delayed payment, and neither does the carrier nor your 3PL. Stay ahead of the curve and don’t lose momentum in your cash flow. Use a 3PL who uploads images of shipping documents such as Proofs of Delivery (POD’s), Original BOL’s and Weight and Inspection Documents (W&I) so you can invoice faster! Ask to be invoiced electronically and pay via credit card or ACH. Expect the same from your customer!

  • On the 7th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 7 different packages:

Are you shipping mixed packages with multiple classes? Carriers will default shipments of mixed packages that are not itemized to the highest freight class. Save yourself some of that holiday bonus by using a 3PL whose technology allows you to itemize multiple class shipments. Be sure to provide packing, count, description and weight on the BOL.

  • On the 8th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 8 PCF:

Are you shipping density items? Save yourself from incurring re-classification charges and understand density! Understand that density is calculated “as packaged” so it does include the pallet, crate, corrugated box, etc. BlueGrace Logistics has participated in the NMFTA and is fully trained to consult in this area. Be sure your 3PL can advise you on proper packing, classing, density, etc. 

  • On the 9th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 9 POD’s:

Ensure proper delivery of your products by viewing the Proof of Delivery (POD) as soon as it is provided. The POD will indicate that the shipment has arrived in full and good order. Utilize a 3PL whose technology can provide digitally uploaded images of all of your shipping documents to provide complete accountability to your supply chain. 

  • On the 10th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 10 minutes to inspect your freight:

Be sure that both you and your consignees take the extra 10 minutes to inspect your freight. Increased capacity and less manpower can account for more damages. Never sign clear for a shipment without inspecting it. It is very difficult to get any transportation provider to honor a claim for freight that was signed clear, even for concealed damage.  Ask your logistics provider about minimum packaging requirements.

  • On the 11th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 11 liftgate deliveries:

Remember that liftgates, limited access, residential deliveries and other accessorial surcharges negate guarantees and can delay transit. Carriers, aside from R&L Carriers, do not all have liftgates on every truck, and may try to deliver without a liftgate if possible, even when a liftgate is requested. Remember that Notify and Appointment deliveries are not the same as guarantees and can delay transit. Speak to your consignee and know ahead of time if they require these services upon delivery.

  • On the 12th day of Shipping, my 3PL suggested to me, 12 days vacation!

Ok, not so much a suggestion as a reminder: your employees are taking vacation, so are your competitors, so are your customers, vendors, and LTL carriers. Docks are running skeleton crews this time of year. You have less people to ship your product, carriers have less people to sort it, load it, and deliver it, and your customers have less people to receive it. Be sure to communicate with your consignees about warehouse operations time and allow yourself plenty of time for delivery especially for your time-sensitive shipments!

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

5 Reasons Why Not to Write a Blog

1.  You don’t have time.

You spend your time in the whirlwind overrun by the non-urgent and unimportant. You are dealing with truckloads,quoting LTL shipments, and  putting out fires. You spend the moments in between complaining about how you don’t have time and have no outlet to vent your frustrations. Adding a routine task may even force you to prioritize your tasks and discipline your schedule. By all means, avoid this resource of publicizing your thoughts on how to improve one’s business, their life, or even your own.

2.  You don’t know what to write.

I can’t blame you. Challenging ones creativity is a scary thought. What if there’s nothing on the other side of that mirror? Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone is an activity that could help you grow as a person. It’s a daunting and continuous challenge to get my Account Managers to perceive their roles as logistics consultants rather than freight sales, yet it’s a daily challenge that I can’t duck even when I am not sure what to say. I would have failed  a long time ago if I let this excuse prevent me from doing my job. Success is overrated anyways.

3.  You don’t want to sound stupid.

I understand. In fact, putting forth extra effort and thinking outside the box would only make you a valuable asset to your company. Why be perceived as a problem solver in an industry where “expedited” means “yesterday” when you could simply skate by with the bare minimum of your job responsibilities. In my recent blog, Go Green or Go Home, I actually had to sit down and do research. I get it – no one wants to work like they’re in college again. God forbid we learn something new.

4.  You just don’t care.

Hey, you don’t care so why not let everyone know it by saying nothing. Sit back and keep thoughts to yourself about how you’re under appreciated and feel you deserve more in your company. Don’t dare take a chance to show how much you want a seat at the table by involving yourself. Apathy is a far more convenient approach. That way you can reserve your real comments for the water cooler.

5.  People may get to know your thoughts.

In a sales job, the LAST thing you want is for your customers, prospects, vendors and coworkers to get to know you personally. Or is it the opposite? If I’m consulting with a prospect and trying to get them to use our Transportation Management System (TMS), it might actually help my cause if they got to know that I had a good head on my shoulders. I’m sure no one wants the people they interact with to know that you could potentially be a creative writer and therefore, a creative thinker. By all means, while your competition takes your customers away, be sure to keep all of your thoughts to yourself.

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

Live Fast, Die Young

I recently read Live Fast, Die Young – The wild ride of making REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, by Lawrence Frascella and Al Weisel. The book tells the tales of Director Nick Ray, young actress Natalie Wood, newcomer Sal Mineo and real life rebel James Dean. The insight into the original juvenile delinquent was astounding and any fans of Rebel could see just how much James Dean’s real life experiences play a part in the role he played as confused, misunderstood and angry rebel, Jim Stark. Other than being a misguided youth, James Dean was best known for his reckless and hurried lifestyle that ultimately ended with his untimely and tragic death. Dean died in a car crash while driving his brand new Porsche. Despite his death being a shock that had a ripple effect through Hollywood and his fans across America, the cause of his death was not a surprise to anyone.

Dean had a reputation for living fast and living dangerously. He often rode his 1955 Triumph motorcycle throughout Hollywood. He missed the first three days of production of Rebel because he was racing his Porsche Speedster in the desert. He was routinely stopped for speeding in his Porsche on the set of Rebel. Dean certainly had a reputation for living fast. In fact, he went to great lengths to cultivate this reputation. The ironic thing surrounding Dean’s death was that while he indeed died in a terrible car crash, the police report said that Dean was not speeding and was not at fault in the accident. It was a young, local student who couldn’t negotiate a turn who ended up in the wrong lane. But Dean’s iconic reputation and legend lead people to believe that he indirectly killed himself.

Your reputation is important. The things that you do on a daily basis, regardless of how small, forever change the way in which you, your actions, and even your associates are perceived. Working in transportation, the reputation of our freight carriers is our reputation. The reputation of an individual franchise can effect an entire corporation. If you want to be perceived as the experts in expedited shipping, than every member of your organization from the Receptionist to the President, must be an expert in expedited shipping. To be known to have a state-of-the-art Transportation Management System (TMS) than you must employ people who can in fact make your TMS state-of-the-art.

We are all adults. We all understand that the logistics industry is not perfect. LTL shipments do in fact arrive late. Pick-ups are missed. Products get damaged. To make a reputation for yourself as the proven leader in transportation management, it is not about whether or not these mishaps will or will not occur. They will. To be the best, you must prove to be a leader in transportation management by minimizing the amount of mistakes that occur by focusing on the human error and process improvements. Be proactive. To be perceived as the best-in-class, focus on how you handle these issues as they arise. Cultivate your reputation, your legacy, by understanding what’s important to the people you serve. Perception is reality.

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

Prank Cold Calls

cold calls | phone salesIt’s commonly known that cold calls are the least favorite activity of both sales people and the people being sold. The reasons that cold calls get so much resistance isn’t because people are weary of pushy sales people, it’s because they are tired and aggravated with WEAK sales people! To a prospective client, to receive a cold call is no more than a nuisance unless they happen to be sitting there with their credit card handy pondering how they can purchase your service. Jeffrey Gitomer, who literally wrote the book on cold calling, says “It’s an interruption, it’s a fight, it’s often a lie, it’s maximum sales manipulation, and it’s a rare appointment and a rarer sale.” Of course cold calling is an interruption, but I still get to sit down. Of course it’s a fight, but I still get to win. Damn right it’s sales manipulation, but it doesn’t mean my TMS can’t be a solution to a prospect’s problem. It’s often a lie? Only if you are trying to hide the purpose of your call.

One of the biggest and most common missteps that give cold calling a bad rap is when weak sales people go to great lengths to hide the purpose of their call. How many times has someone received a call for a free magazine subscription, or a set of golf clubs or $20 from their credit card company for a “free trial” of their credit protector program? None of these things are free and it’s insulting to me as a consumer and a sales person that the person trying to sell me won’t just own up to it. What are they afraid of?

It’s a vicious cycle. Gatekeepers keep up resistance so sales people tend to cower and con their way in. Their transparent efforts become more obnoxious and insulting to a business owner so they tend to fail, forcing the gatekeepers to protect that battleground even more. Don’t  hide what you do! The first thing you should do on a cold call is announce who you are, why you’re calling, and what you want. When you’re speaking with the business owner, inform them of who you are, why you’re calling, what you want, and most importantly, what can you do for them! People ignore you or procrastinate on making decisions because they feel you have nothing of value and talking to you is a waste of time. When you tip toe around why you’re calling, it only exasperates this feeling.

I announce from the roof tops that I’m in transportation. Our state-of-the-art Transportation Management System (TMS) is the platform in which our business provides process improvements and increased profitability, and I can’t get that message across if I try to con my way through the door with some vague pitch about my purpose. I feel it’s tacky and inexperience to make freight rates the focus of your opening pitch, but it’s still better than some jargon about “our brand new program in your area” or how I’ll give this business a free consultation. Do you want an audience? Then give them what they want. WIIFM. Then they may take the call and listen with eager interest. Otherwise, you’re better off making prank calls.

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

You Play to Win the Game

Not too long ago, a disgruntled job candidate sent me an antagonizing email upon learning he would not be offered a position. He closed by saying “…did you really say kickball during our interview?!  Was that part of the “process” – to see if the candidate can keep from laughing at you?  (Make sure you have all of the parental consent forms signed before your next game.)” Now the “parental consent forms” part was a little funny, but the rest clearly showed me that I was right in assessing this person could not fit into our corporate culture. Yes, we have a company Kickball team. In fact, our first season was so successful, that this season we will have two teams. Yes, we competed in America II’s Corporate Sportsfest. Yes, we are having a company Cornhole tournament on our operations floor with our BlueGrace branded Cornhole set. Yes, we competed in Tampa Bay Club Sports Mud Wars. Yes, we even had an exhibition game versus the nationally ranked Tampa Rays wheelchair softball team – and lost horrendously. We play together, we celebrate together, we workout together, travel together, enjoy each other’s families together. Our victories are sweeter and defeats softened because we did them together. Most of all, we work together.

Our kickball season was not successful because of our finish. We took second place only to lose in the first round of the playoffs. What you did get was customer service and sales cheering each other on; executive assistant’s ordering VP’s into their fielding positions; a competitive spirit many people didn’t know they had. My only regret was that we failed to come up with a team name more creative than BlueGrace Logistics. Being in transportation, perhaps the “mudder truckers” would have turned more heads.

Corporate culture can define an organization. In transportation and logistics, you live your life dealing with the intangibles. Some cultures may consider all of the things we do as distractions. I find each and every day that the productivity you get from loyal people who truly believe what you believe will always outperform any environment focused strictly on the numbers and daily tasks. Every late LTL shipment is an emergency! Every truckload quote has to be the lowest! Every customer service call needs to be handled as the most important, and yesterday! New customers need to begin shipping freight today! Under the wrong setting, these conditions could create a very stressful and counterproductive environment. I’ve always understood “logistics” to mean a process. The logistics of our organization, on our worst days, are fluid and efficient because we play together. In this culture everyone can share the same vision. Everyone acts to accomplish the same mission. Disputes are resolved quicker. Negative attitudes are left at the door and the competitive drive to WIN takes over. Everyone is built to serve each other.

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow us @theBGexperience

Go Green or Go Home!

green company | green initiativesAs we wade through the aftermath of the disaster in the Gulf, there is resurgence in discussions about how to protect the environment and whose responsibility it is to do so. Big businesses, once regarded as corporate giants with no identities, have long since taken on personas and play an integral role in our daily lives. Companies like McDonald’s, GE and FedEx spend a great deal of time, energy and money on how their image is perceived. People expect businesses to act as socially and environmentally responsible citizens. Going green sets a positive example for employees and prospective customers, and increases morale with a cleaner and healthier work environment. Leaders are coming to understand that being good to the environment can be good for the bottom line.

Many large corporations are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint:

  • GE and Wal-Mart understand that people want more efficient, cleaner products.
  • FedEx Airport Operations in Oakland, California is almost entirely supported by solar power.
  • Bank of America is developing green technology (such as an eco-friendly credit card) and electronic banking
  • Other green companies include McDonald’s, Anheuser-Busch, Continental Airlines and DuPont.

The supply chain, an integral part of most businesses, is where going green can offer the most long-term benefits. By cutting down on consumption, going green allows increased efficiency, improved service, and lower operating costs. Businesses can cut down on packaging materials and condense their orders to have more concentrated shipments. The greatest impact going green in one’s supply chain will have is the overall reduction in waste.

A business who manufacturers and distributes goods could use 9 or more pieces of paper per order:

  • The purchase order
  • 3 printed copies of competitive quotes from freight carriers
  • 2 printed copies of the Bill of Lading (BOL)
  • Proof of Delivery (POD)
  • The customer invoice
  • The invoice from the freight carrier
  • A daily log of all outbound shipments

This list can get longer if they report inbound or third party “drop shipments” or if management requires other reporting or visibility. A recent article from Information Week discusses how although the financial outlay of a more efficient data system can be overwhelming to small business, there are a number of ways to green a company’s data center easily and cheaply, and the financial rewards can be significant.

By utilizing a non-asset based 3PL such as BlueGrace Logistics, a company can reap the benefits of a Transportation Management System (TMS) without any significant upfront cost. A leading edge TMS can be an effective data warehousing system and significantly reduce a company’s output of waste.

 A TMS can:

  • Produce and store quotes from multiple freight carriers
  • Produce and store copies of BOL’s
  • Store electronically uploaded POD’s
  • Store addresses and product information
  • Produce a daily log or other required reports.

In addition to a far cleaner, far greener, and far more efficient order management process, housing your shipping data can save your business a TON of money!

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

The Fish was THIS Big

There’s only one thing worse than a big fish story, and that’s a story about how big a fish is that you’re going to catch! Potential is a dangerous thing. Potential is a lie that we tell ourselves when we aren’t working hard enough or are afraid of making the tough decisions. The world is comprised of talented failures that are full of potential. Even years back when I was selling telecommunications solutions in New England, I was weary of businesses that had plans to get big. A two phone line account was a two phone line account and that was it. Hardly ever would I lie to convince myself that this small business was going to go through some momentous transition that would require them to have so many services it would be like landing a monster deal without having to do the work. I may have just as well played the lottery.

This pitfall is far more dangerous in the transportation industry. In such a volatile economy with accordion-like freight capacity and ever changing shipping rates, it would seem easy to believe a business is about to get big or that their volume is going to really pick up soon. In the telecom and logistics industries, sales reps both new and veteran alike, would fall for this seduction time after time again. “When they land that deal” or “come out with that new product line” or “when the seasons starts” their volume is going to really get huge. I don’t even like chasing big deals because falling for this seduction can cause you to fail when you feel you are about to succeed. A fish on the hook is still just a fish in the water.

I know I’m struggling now, but when I land that deal I’m about to blow up

This deception disseminates beyond just a sales reps perception of their own sales funnel or career path. Sales managers become too enticed with the potential of their sales reps to recognize when they are not working, failing, or have no chance of succeeding. This potential is just an excuse to avoid making a tough or unpopular decision.

I know they’re struggling now, but when they land that deal they’re about to blow up.

Falling for the deception of potential prevents you from capitalizing on actual opportunities. When you convince yourself that a bad deal is a good deal, your competitor is already selling the next truckload or expedited shipment. When a sales manager is hanging onto every phone call their inadequate rep is making, their competitor has just hired the market’s newest logistics sales superstar.

Strong prospect management involves understanding the specifics of your prospects. How many LTL shipments do they currently do?  How much revenue does the sales reps currently project in their funnel?

The biggest crime of all is that by setting this false potential, we will never live up to our true potential. With that said, should we continue upon this dangerous course, we are all destined to be failures. Focus upon the opportunities in front of you and save the fish stories for another day.

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

Coffee is for Openers

If you or your sales people are not absolutely addicted to coffee or some other type of over the counter caffeine equivalent, then you just simply aren’t trying hard enough. It’s a big country and a short day and you should be playing with live ammo at all times. As someone who reads hundreds if not thousands of resumes each month, I will tell you that the most overrated “skill” on a sales person’s resume is their ability to close. Closing is a myth. Closing is the simplest task of a sale. Closing is simply asking for the order or some other type of call to action, typically to schedule a next step to move forward with the sale. Coffee shouldn’t be the reward for doing the easy part of the job, yet, let’s makes it be the catalyst for the most important part of the sale – opening the sale.

The task of opening the sale needs to be met with the utmost enthusiasm. If you are fortunate enough to be selling LTL or other freight services in this volatile transportation market, especially with a technology platform such as a TMS, this is your market to own! Businesses need you now! Manufacturers need to reduce costs on shipping! CFO’s need more visibility and control! Warehouse managers need to reduce time wasted on manual tasks that could be automated! Customers need to know they have LTL, Truckload, and even Expedited options. You have a value and a service to provide, Caffeine Up! And get it out there! The fact is, most sales people are just plain bad at opening the sale. They wait for the very end of the call to show any swagger or confidence, and its feigned confidence at best. How can you close if you can’t open? Too many freight or logistics sales people are too timid on the call. They don’t share confidence in their product or service, and allow themselves to be handcuffed into dealing with contacts who don’t have the authority to buy because:

  1. They don’t believe enough in the value of their own product or service.
  2. They don’t value themselves enough to attempt to reach the business or other C level executive.

Several years ago, while out cold calling to hawk my logistics services, I came across a “No Soliciting” sign. These are, of course everywhere, and useless. But when I looked closer, I saw that it said, “No BAD soliciting.” I laughed out loud. The door belonged to a Sandler Sales Training Institute. Although I knew they didn’t ship freight, it was worth a cold call anyways to test my chops. I got directly to the business owner and he immediately granted me a sit down. I spent about 20 minutes in his office just discussing sales and sales processes. It was an interesting conversation and affirmed what I already knew: Be cocky. Be arrogant. Be confident. But be right. KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER BEFORE YOU OFFER IT. If you have a valuable product or service that can indeed benefit a way that a business operates, it should be your mission, your moral imperative and even your right to get that information out there.

This morning I listened to a sales call that made the hairs on my arms stand up. The sales rep, while attempting to open a sales call, said the following three things in less than a minute:

  • “We have a similar system…”
  • “…Pretty much the same as Freightquote…”
  • “…Very similar as…”

All this says to the business owner is that if your system is so similar to my system, what’s the purpose in continuing this call? What he should have opened with:

  • “Our TMS is leading edge and leagues ahead of our competition…”
  • “Our rates are not only very aggressive, but I can study your lanes and distribution habits to optimize your pricing…”
  • “We have a largely robust and constantly increasing carrier base…”

Each one of these followed by a question about the prospects own current processes, needs or problems.

So, Caffeine Up! Get on the phone! And open some sales calls!

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

Old School Style

With a certain ring of Ma Bell, or Grandpa telling you how back in his day things were made with the quality of blood, sweat, and tears, Old Dominion Freight Lines has been spotlighted numerous times for “Holding the line” on pricing, and relying on their quality of service. While rumors circulated of a domestic economic downturn, coupled with accordion like freight capacity, Old Dominion chose to focus on outperforming their competitors in service quality, rather than cost aggressiveness. “By maintaining price discipline and focusing on a best in class service, which saw 99.6% of shipments arrived undamaged, Old Dominion has maintained margins at a level that continues to outperform its peers.” (Transport Thoughts)

Markets shift. Capacity tightens and expands.  Profits rise and fall. Companies who separate themselves by providing best-in-class service during good economic times should trust that those same service levels will continue to allow them succeed. Filtering vendors by price is a simple and convenient decision-making strategy, but far too often businesses cut prices to remain competitive and at what cost to their quality of service? The real question that no one is asking is what is the greater impact of these cost reductions to the end user?

A reduced LTL or truckload price may help a struggling manufacturer in the interim, but what is the financial impact of that increased transit time? Or increased claim ratio? What is the impact to the integrity of that customer when their LTL carrier’s customer service is now failing them? As tides rise and fall, it’s imperative that any business who provides a superior service continue to provide that service without sacrificing margins, market share, or most importantly, quality.

This is a sales issue. A good transportation provider focuses on providing a myriad of services designed to help companies make more profit, rather than simply cut cost. A 3PL can offer what any one freight carrier cannot. For example, BlueGrace provides access to a free state-of-the-art Transportation Management System (TMS); specializes in LTL and can also provide Air Freight and Expedited Services when the need outweighs the cost. Does your low cost shipping company provide you with a free App for the iPhone so that you can run your quotes on the go? A good logistics provider analyzes customer needs and provides services to help them streamline their current processes. The ripple effect of such process improvements is exponential for a business. While everyone strives to provide the most cost aggressive rates, I’d rather be known as the most cost effective rather than the cheapest.

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

Best 5 Bullets in your Gun

Top 5 ways to best position your freight, logistics and transportation services:

1) Sell to the business owner:

If you are simply selling cost competitive freight, LTL, or other price-based transactional services, then by all means sell to the shipping manager. The fact is a good 3PL can offer so much more to a business that only the owner or chief executive will care about. You can provide technology solutions that enable for better-streamlined process and information flow throughout an organization. Focus on the soft costs and enhanced productivity that will allow for the owner to focus on their core competencies and realize greater savings. Sell business solutions that will otherwise be lost at the shipping manager level.

2) Sell to higher volume customers:

The old adage of “small and medium sized” business is not true for all markets. In fact, if you provide comprehensive transportation management services:  the more detailed and complex, the better. It’s true that you can still make a significant financial impact to a small business, but the higher the daily shipment volume and the more moving pieces, there is more for you to offer in the way of a solution. Create prosperity by simplifying the complex!

3) Sell to your strength:

If you’re strength is in LTL, Truckload, or even Transportation Management Services, then sell to your niche. There is no true advantage by being a “one stop shop” and offering a myriad of services in which you are weak in all. A logistics provider with a web-based technology as their platform will not benefit their customer by promoting services such as Ocean Freight that is not their strength. You can sometimes provide a greater benefit to your customer by truly acting as a business consultant and even referring them to someone who specializes in that type of service. This allows you to focus on your core competency and therefore provide superior service.

4) Sell business solutions, not price:

Customers who are only loyal to price will not be loyal to you. You always want your services to be as cost competitive as possible, but that is not what will ultimately separate you from your competitors. Engage your customer and understand their current business processes. Understand how their current freight shipping program affects their business and further determine how your logistics services will improve upon what they are currently doing. When you are able to communicate to a customer how your service offerings will help their business be more competitive, you are far more liable to earn a loyal customer.

5) Ask for comprehensive data:

These days customers are reluctant to provide invoices or data for fear sales reps are looking to undercut their current rates by a mere few percentage points. If this is you, then this Blog is not for you. If you are a sales rep who prefers to compete for business on a quote-by-quote basis, then this Blog is not for you. The fact is, as a transportation, logistics and technology provider, it is imperative that you collect as much data as possible in order to provide a comprehensive solution. You need a clear snapshot – a week or even a month’s worth of invoices – so that you can determine the true volume, analyze all of the different weights, lanes, and classes, and identify any commonly used accessorial charges that the customer incurs. Only then can you provide a true cost solution to the customer in which they will realize a greater savings.

Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales Development
Follow me @theBGexperience

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