As I mentioned in my Introductory Blog, when we bought the assets of a trucking company, there were many areas where I had to educate myself, and sales was one of them. Even though I had been out on sales calls during my consumer packaged goods marketing days, I had never had any formal sales training. A friend from my Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) group recommended a book entitled Neuromarketing Understanding the “Buy Buttons” in Your Customer’s Brain by Patrick Renvoisé and Christophe Morin* that I found very helpful in approaching sales prospects. I think freight agents need to change up their sales pitches every so often and try new things, so I hope that you find these ideas helpful.

The most helpful nugget of information I took away from this book was that we should focus on the prospect’s pain points as the first part of the sales dialogue. Many agents start their sales pitch with the features and benefits of the service they offer. This makes the prospect turn off, thinking, “Here we go again, another sales pitch…” The prospect will often put you off by asking you to send more info about your company, which will go into the virtual circular file (now that we email and don’t use trash cans anymore) and your opportunity is gone. Instead, Renvoisé and Morin advocate asking the right questions so that the prospect’s pain will be revealed, because people act to alleviate pain. It has to do with the evolution of the brain, and that the old brain (or reptilian brain) was responsible for survival and the “fight or flight” response. Recognizing and eliminating threats and pain is key to survival for all species, and our brains still make decisions that way.

So after making sure the company actually used freight brokers and not just carriers, I used some of the following questions or openings to establish a warm rapport with my prospects and get them talking about what really concerned them, to establish my expertise by asking the right questions, and to establish trust:

  • How do you currently handle the shipment of your goods to your customers?
  • What is the level of customer satisfaction with the way you deliver the products they need? Probe why
  • What are management’s greatest concerns regarding how your company currently gets your products to your customers?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • So it sounds like you are frustrated because…
  • You seem to be fed up with…
  • So, from what you are telling me, you’re tired of…

Measuring the intensity and urgency of the pain is also important, as you decide where to focus. Then, as a good “Neuromarketer”, you have to differentiate your claim so that you become the only transportation provider who can alleviate their strongest, most intense pain. What is unique about the way your transportation brokerage helps your shippers? Be ready with your freight brokerage’s unique sales proposition.

Renvoisé and Morin then say you have to demonstrate the gain of using your services as well. You can achieve this by offering proof of what the shipper will gain by working with you, so you conquer any doubts he or she might have about your claims being true. Case studies, examples, and testimonials of how you have solved similar pains can help here. This is the moment to actually sell. Check out their book to learn more details about claim and gain.

In my next blog, I will highlight some of the ideas Renvoisé and Morin offer in how to talk to the old brain, the decisionmaker in this framework.

– By Cheryl Biron, President

*Click through for full references on books that inspired us: