Ways to Best Get and Keep Attention of Logistics Buyers

By Jim Bierfeldt, President, Logistics Marketing Advisors

A buyer of logistics services once told me “I get so many solicitations from logistics providers that I could spend half my time just responding to these inquiries.”

For folks like us, who make a living trying to earn the attention of these executives, it’s a worrying comment. So I recently surveyed 100 director and VP-level logistics executives to learn how we can do a better job. You can download this survey report here.

The most useful insights came from the question “What frank advice would you have for logistics businesses who want to build a relationship with you in the hope of gaining future business?” Here’s a summary of their advice, in priority order.

1) Know My Business. Buyers hate generic sales pitches from companies that have made no attempt to understand their business or products. Typical comments:
• “Learn about our business and determine specifically how you think you can help before contacting us at any level.”
• “I’m not going to supply you with information at the drop of a hat. Learn my needs and decide if you can add value. If you can’t, don’t create dialogue for the sake of dialogue.”

I spoke to a large shipper recently who said a carrier recently called and knew of his need for vented vans. He said, “I have no idea how the carrier learned this, but I gave him 15 minutes and we’ll probably do business.”

2) Be Honest and Don't Overpromise. Overselling is alive and well in logistics, according to this survey sample. These were senior level people who’ve clearly been victims of broken promises and don’t have the time or stomach to listen to providers talk about how great they are.
• “Give me straight talk. No B.S.”
• “Don’t overpromise and under-deliver. Listen to what my business has to offer, warts and all, and respond with a rate and service proposal that meets my needs.”

More than anything, shippers need partners they can trust. When you oversell, you erode that trust.

3) E-mail With A Specific Value Proposition. Buyers prefer to be approached first via email before a phone call. They will pay more attention to emails that communicate a value prop this is unique to the company, not generic.
• “Provide real, tangible information in your initial email with documentation that illustrates the success of your product or service.”
• “Demonstrate where and how you can improve our supply chain, with examples.”

Logistics buyers recognize the vital role that providers play. But there are a lot of us out here, all vying for a piece of that buyer’s attention. To get it, follow the advice of your future customers:
• Do your homework before reaching out
• Come with a specific idea to address a real challenge
• Don’t promise more than you can deliver

> Read the full research report here


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