6 Practical Tips to Build Carrier Relationships

In today’s market where truck capacity is tight and rates are volatile, never before has it been so critical for sales professionals in transportation to build and maintain strong, trusted relationships with your carrier partners. But as most of us know, relationships between brokers and carriers have a history of being strained. Some carriers maintain a belief that margins are much higher than they are, while brokers are working to fill a load as quickly as possible at the highest profit margin. 

It becomes easy for sales professionals to focus more on the relationships with shippers since that’s who’s actually paying the freight bill. But the cold, hard truth is that you have a job that can be only completed by the use of carrier partners – so do what you can to establish and maintain the best relationship with your carriers as possible. 

Here are 6 practical tips on how to accomplish just that:

Tip 1: Establish a Trusting Relationship. 

It’s human nature to turn to brands and companies they trust, and carriers are no different. Given so many carriers perceive brokers in a negative light, do what you can to build trust. Take the time to develop loyal relationships – which will maximize service levels and save you money in the long run. Treat them as partners by passing along shipper and receiver expectations and details before they ask for them. Consistently praise them and thank them when good service warrants. And when they do a good job, continue to reward them with more business. 

Tip 2: Be Transparent and Honor Commitments. 

Closely related to Tip 1, make sure treat them with respect and be transparent about needs and expectations. Be open about the load, the lane, and any expectations so they don’t experience any surprises. Keep them informed about any rate changes that can be driven by such factors as fuel costs. Promptly return phone calls as soon as possible and treat your carriers fairly as if they were your customer (they are)! When you keep your promises, good carrier partners are going to keep theirs and you’ll be motivated to work with them in the future.  

Tip 3: Be a Good Business Partner. 

When working with a carrier, ask them about their capabilities, which lanes they prefer to run, and gain an understanding of what they’re looking for to run a successful business. Make them want to do business with you. After your load is delivered, ask how everything went. Address any problems and note them for future deliveries to that receiver. In addition, be courteous and treat drivers like the professionals they are. Acknowledge time constraints, do what you can to help them get your freight to its destination, and respond quickly to inquiries or problems. 

Tip 4: Know Your Shippers and Receivers. 

The more you are aware of expectations and requirements of your customers, the better you will be able to plan for shipments and ensure execution happens smoothly without hiccups. Ask all necessary details from your customers and then communicate anything and everything you know about the load to the carrier – including date, time, shipping location, loading and unloading requirements, what they’ll be hauling, and any specific requirements. Also make sure you know your carrier partner, and any requirements they have of the shipper (your customer).

Tip 5: Pay Quickly. 

In the modern age of electronic funds transfer, there’s no reason not to offer quick pay options. You don’t want the burden of cash float, nor does your carrier partner. Paying quickly can simplify your payment processes and ultimately save you money. If a carrier has the ability to get paid more quickly and easily, they’re going to appreciate this.  

Tip 6: Make Sure to Express Your Appreciation. 

Lastly, don’t forget to say thanks. A quick text of thanks after a successful delivery will let them know you appreciate their work and value their relationship. If you experience exceptional service from a carrier who goes the extra mile, sent them a gift card via email for a lunch or something else of value. Don’t take it for granted that they went out of their way to ensure you looked good to your customer. 

This blog is sponsored by Landstar

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