Growing your sales is where the rubber meets the road to success in the trucking industry. In this article, we’re going to take you on a deep dive into the practice of client prospecting for trucking business needs.
It’s important to remember that the trucking industry is a purely competitive environment. It is not the type of business where the customer will reliably come to you. Instead, It’s a daily race between you and your competitors for that next big contract.
To maximize your sales, boost your revenue, and increase your profitability, you need an edge, and in this business, that edge is client prospecting.
What Is Client Prospecting?
Client/customer prospecting is the process of actively creating sales opportunities. Prospecting involves identifying, knowing, and getting closer to your target customer through industry studies and market surveys.
Your goal as a trucking company is to develop a solid base of leads who are interested in your transportation services. That is why customer prospecting is one of the most powerful tools in your sales strategy toolkit.
In fact, customer prospecting provides a strong foundation for any sales strategy. Once you’ve nailed down your target audience, it's easier to roll out the other elements of your sales plan.
It’s economical for you as well, since you will minimize the time and money spent chasing dead-end leads. That translates to a tighter focus on the customers most likely to employ your services and improve your odds of making sales.
The long-range benefits of a sustained prospecting campaign are numerous. For example, prospecting is an essential and effective way of creating a steady stream of new customers.
Again, the key to unlocking the power of prospecting and sales strength is to identify potential customers who fit the profile of your buyer persona. These customers will help you achieve a high rate of success.
Why Is It Important?
To reiterate the importance of customer prospecting, and to demonstrate some strategic approaches, consider the following:
- The average seller loses about 15-20 percent of their customer base each year due to churn. Without prospects, there is no one left to fill the gaps generated by the churn. An effective counter to churn is a prospecting strategy where you develop a deep reserve of customers in waiting to protect yourself against sales losses.
- An increase in customers means an increase in sales. It is important to always be proactive. A static or passive approach will not work in the highly competitive trucking industry. Any trucking company that waits for customers to come to it, is a trucking company doomed to fail. Because if you don’t out and aggressively seek out customers, your competitors will.
- Prospecting provides trucking companies with the opportunity to better understand and thus meet their customer’s needs. Identifying the best potential customers creates a more efficient sales system and ultimately improves the overall sales process for your trucking company.
- Prospecting won’t always lead to immediate sales. It’s a numbers game, but you sway those numbers in your favor by getting out there and digging for those sales leads. And when it comes to keeping an eye on shifting trends in the industry, prospecting becomes an invaluable source of information for market research purposes.
Why Client Prospecting Fails Sometimes
Uncertainty is an unfortunate fact of life in any business, and this uncertainty can, on occasion, rear its ugly head in regard to client prospecting. Therefore, it is important to pay close attention to the effectiveness of your prospecting campaigns.
Negative trends can arise at any time. Stay on the lookout for activities and behaviors within your company’s sales team that may compromise your prospecting capabilities. Here are a few examples of what to watch for:
Sales reps do not spend time prospecting
In order to obtain results in this process, it is necessary to schedule regular segments of time for contacting new clients. The prospecting process cannot be an afterthought, attended to only when we have time left after sales meetings, accommodating current clients, collecting information, or answering emails and text messages.
Salespeople do not know how to select their prospects and they lack focus
Targeting everything is not effective when it comes to prospecting. Not all potential customers conform to your targeted sales profile. Ineffective salespeople are characterized by a lack of discipline and focus.
The best counter to this particular pitfall is to regularly train your sales team. First and foremost, make sure they clearly understand the goals of your sales strategy. Establish a list of prospect criteria, and develop boundaries for your team’s prospecting efforts. Then follow through by monitoring how effectively they are targeting customers that meet your criteria.
Sales personnel back off in their prospecting efforts due to current success
This is one you want to catch early. The sooner you reverse this trend the better because if it’s overlooked, by the time it becomes a problem it’s too late. It occurs when salespeople stop prospecting because they have some prospects that are very good.
To prevent this from happening, make a guiding principle for your sales team that says: no matter how many prospects we have, they are never enough. To effectively grow your company, the sales funnel has to be constantly fed. You cannot afford to wait for a deal to come out and neither should your sales team.
How to Prospect Customers for Your Trucking Business
The sooner you start prospecting for customers, the better. To start your efforts off on the right foot here are some tips:
Define your target audience
An excellent prospecting strategy is to develop a customer persona profile of your ideal client. Once you’ve developed the profile, focus your efforts on attracting potential clients with similar characteristics. By doing so, you will identify the customers who are most likely to benefit from the solutions and services your company offers.
Define your value proposition
The value proposition is the combined benefits your product or service offers to consumers. It is often presented to your customers upon their first contact with your brand. Another way to think of it is a way to demonstrate your company’s full range of capabilities and services. In terms of trucking companies, your value proposition should be centered on demonstrating your company’s ability to:
- Deliver on time, all the time
- Transport cargo safely without failure
- Maintain sufficient capacity to meet their demands
In trucking, the customer value proposition is not about the story of your product or service. Instead, it's about your capability to meet their needs 24/7/365.
Keep in mind that to be effective in prospecting, you must understand your value proposition and be ready to adapt it to your target audience.
Spend time prospecting
A good practice is to allocate 30 minutes to an hour per day to prospecting. Additionally:
- Clearly define the time designated for developing new business prospects
- Set a goal or quota for prospecting calls per week.
- Developing a firm schedule and goals will ensure that the sales team falls into a prospecting routine and remains focused on delivering results.
Use tools that help prospect customers
Some sales CRM software has features that help with sales prospecting. Leveraging technology is a key element of any modern business. By using software designed with prospecting and sales in mind, your sales team can maximize their efficiency, discover new opportunities, and boost your trucking company’s conversion rate.
In the highly competitive trucking industry, customer/client prospecting can smooth the road ahead and improve your company’s success. The positive effects of a well-planned, and well-executed prospecting strategy are many. The only drawback is the absence of a prospecting effort. Even a poorly executed prospecting strategy will outperform any company that doesn’t prospect at all.