Helping to construct the Agent network at GlobalTranz has been quite an experience. Starting at zero agents, and growing it to upwards of 350 agents, has given me a lot of insight as to how to properly build a business within this industry. I have seen many agents come on board, a lot of them becoming extremely successful, and all putting their own personal touch on the foundation of successfully building an agency. The foundation is important and I will touch on the basics of building your business, but the personal touch from a few of our top agent’s cannot be overlooked, when the discussion of building your business arises.
First, you have to take an organized approach to tackling your agency. You need to consistently put this opportunity in front of the right individuals. If you do not have a logical method to your madness you are less likely to have the follow up necessary for success. I have seen Agencies purchase CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools such as Salesforce.com, ZoHo and other off the shelf. Some more tech savvy agents have created their own databases in Microsoft Access and have also seen agents be successful by simply using their e-mail calendar in Outlook or Gmail to manage their day to day, and contact management. One of the more unique tactics I have seen is from Joe Buringrud, a top 10 owner out of Cincinnati, using a series of shoeboxes with business cards in them as his process for managing prospects! Whatever works for you. The digital world has created a lot of tools for you to utilize to remain productive. Take advantage of them and organize your sales efforts daily.
The most successful business owners within the GlobalTranz network seem to have a relentless attitude when it comes to customer satisfaction. There are quite a bit of tasks that arise when managing your customer’s freight. That’s the reason why our customers pay us to handle their transportation, right? If it were easy, they would manage their freight on their own and there would not be a necessity for 3pl’s in the US. Every issue that arises is another opportunity for you to shine in front of your customer and to remind them as to why they chose you to manage their transportation. When a sales representative in this industry goes “ghost” on a customer because they are dodging an issue, that’s the time when we can usually swoop in and take the account. Don Piper, with Global Source, a top 5 Agency in Los Angeles, had a quote on his instant messenger status that said “If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will.” Such a true statement, so follow through not matter what. Honesty and the ability to resolve problems in a timely manner go a long way in the customer retention game.
Yes, in my opinion, is THE key to success in this industry. I remember back when I was working for my father’s freight forwarding business, in the late 90’s early 2000’s, if you can control the relationship, everything comes easier. I believe that if you look at the Agents that have come from the freight forwarding side of the business, they are masters at controlling the relationship and, as a result, have seen extreme success. Jim Weatherly and Marc Collins with LTL Freight Source, our top Agency, in Milwaukee, understand what is necessary to provide the service and build the relationship necessary to control a customer’s freight spend from the ground up. David Dennison and Chuck Shipley with One Source Logistics, out of Louisville, a top 3 agency, have mastered this as well. Every holiday that passes, Dave and Chuck visit each and every customer and hand out goodies to every employee at the facility. They also know everyone at the facility and know what is going on in their lives. Sometimes knowing the forklift operator or billing clerk is the best alliance you can create. You never know who is going to be promoted within their organization or who they talk to daily. If another provider comes in, you find that multiple people around the company are asking questions like “Well, what about Dave and Chuck?” and that goes a long way. People like to do business with people that they like, so be likeable and manage the account properly to forge a lasting customer relationship.
I have found that you have to want to be successful and you have to visualize your success before you can reach your goals. Andrew Leto, my big brother and the CEO of GlobalTranz recommended some books for you to read that helped him (and I) visualize success. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill is one that he made me read a long time ago, and it speaks of the burning desire necessary to be successful. Every day the success and growth of this organization consumes the Executive Leadership team and that is the reason why you see jumps from $130MM to $186MM in a single year and also why we are projecting $500MM in total revenue in 2015. We want it every day, no exceptions. Take this approach to your business and you will see just how powerful you can be in determining your destiny. After a couple of years of heavy growth and success you can hire staff to make your life easier and to give you more free time to pick up your kids from school, golf, attend or even coach practices or whatever you want to do in your newfound free time. Visualization of these goals is important. Imagine yourself coaching your kid’s team, and still generating money while you do it. Put up a picture of a toy or car that you always wanted to buy and do not take it down until you see it sitting in your driveway, dock or whatever. These types of small gimmicks can help you in staying focused and getting you through the harder times and situations.
These are obviously just a couple of keys to success when you are forming your plan to grow your business. I assure you that if you follow these guidelines your chances for success are much greater.
Go out there and make a difference in your life so that you can touch the rest of the people that are close to you. It is up to you to make a difference and the time is now to turn your agency into a successful venture or to take it to the next level.
– Michael Leto | President Direct Sales