Experts will tell you that no matter what line of business you are in, it takes more than business sense to succeed. You need to develop certain soft skills that make the difference between one client picking you and them going with one of your competitors.
What are Soft Skills?
You may be under the impression that just because you own your own business that your days of doing job interviews are over. You are mistaken. Your objectives may be different but the skills needed are the same. Instead of competing for a job, you are competing for a client and their business.
What soft skills are we talking about? In a nutshell, we are talking about enhancing your personality by demonstrating a positive disposition. We are talking about making your objectives clear and clearly explaining why you are the best freight agent for the job.
Here are our top 5 tips for developing the soft skills that will help you win more business and get a leg up on your competition.
#1: Be Friendly
Of course, everyone knows that the last thing that you should do when trying to attract more business is to come off looking cold and unfriendly. Yet sometimes when you are too focused on making your pitch that’s exactly how you can come off.
You will have time to get down to the nitty-gritty but try starting out the conversation with a little lighthearted banter. First it will loosen you up as well as those you are meeting with. Secondly it will get you all talking on a more familiar basis, giving you a chance to build liking right off the bat.
#2: Say What You Mean
Sometimes when you are given a chance to pitch yourself to a potential client, you may get so lost in selling your services that you get too far into the weeds. Worse you could get so anxious that you inadvertently promise the moon and stars only to realize later that you overdid it.
Make it a rule to mean what you say and to say what you mean. Practice your pitch in a mirror until you get it down. Write down your main selling points and be careful not to get carried away and overpromise things.
#3: Promote Unique Strengths
Every freight agent your prospective client talks to will tell them that they have a great track record. They will say that they offer competitive rates. Some will even say that they are the best in the area whether they are or not.
What sets you apart? Think about unique strengths that are relevant to your job as a freight agent then promote those strengths. Are you a puzzler? Do you spend Sunday afternoons working the New York Times Sunday Crossword puzzle?
Being able to solve problems is a big part of your job as a freight agent. Play that up and tie it into how you approach doing your job in order to stand out.
#4: Convince without being Overconfident
It is a fine art balancing the goal of convincing a potential client that you are the best while trying not to be overconfident. However, if you want to win more business as a freight agent, with all of the competition out there, you are going to have to get good at convincing prospects of your excellence without sounding like you’re bragging.
There are many ways to convince without being overconfident. Here are a few:
Use Data to Back Up Claims – If you say that you have the most sales or the best on time record, prove it. That way the information is persuasive, not arrogant.
Relate to Your Prospects – You’re in the business. You know what obstacles your prospects are facing. Identifying their problem for them and then telling them how you can solve it shows off your expertise.
Don’t Be Too Pushy – They know that you want their business. You know that you want their business so don’t be too pushy. Just lay out the facts and let your record speak for itself.
#5: Dress According to Your Audience
As a freight agent, you may work from home in your pajamas most days. You may even find most of your clients online through CRM programs or freight agent programs like ours at GlobalTranz. However when you are pitching your business to prospective clients you want to dress according to your audience.
For formal meetings with potential clients spruce it up. Feel good about yourself. It will show through your voice over the phone and on Skype. You always want to show them that you are a professional.
You want a friendly, easy relationship with your potential client but you also want to be sure that they know after speaking with you that their freight is in good hands. Always dress accordingly.
Now that You have Refined your Soft Skills, What’s Next?
If you’re ready to start your career as a Freight Agent then connect with our team today to learn more about your options.