3PL Sales: Hunting vs. Farming

3pl sales

Most logistics and transportation salesmen are hunters. By hunters, I mean they go hunting for customers every day. They are just like any other hunter, sometimes they make a kill and other days they go home empty handed.

The hunter’s main weapon of choice is the cold call. The skilled hunter gets a phone number from a list they bought or from Google. If they are lucky, the shipper will actually answer the phone. Then the hunter launches into action!

Quickly, but without panic, the hunter engages their wary prey. The hunter explains that by switching to their company, the shipper can save money and get better service. The really clever hunters might even mention a TMS or discounts with transportation companies.

The hunter’s job is tough. Every good cold caller knows you only get 20-30 seconds to gain favorable attention and to establish your credibility or the prey is gone.

The hunter is good because they hunt every day. The prey is even better because they are hunted every day. Your clever message or humorous quip is nothing new to them.

Most Hunters Hate Hunting

The hunter’s job has gotten harder in recent years, because the prey (or shippers) have gone mobile and mobile phone numbers are hard to come by. Let’s face it everybody is busy and a phone call from stranger is seldom welcomed. Also, many of us, don’t answer the phone if we don’t recognize the number. Hiding has gotten a lot easier.

Unlike the real hunter, the 3PL salesman doesn’t enjoy hunting. She knows she hates when salespeople cold call her, yet she does it to her prospects every day. This conflict with the golden rule along with long days of talking to answering machines leads to job dissatisfaction.

3PL sales managers that employ hunters encourage them to “make it a game” or “learn ways to engage shippers.” It doesn’t work. Mostly, hunters quit when they find a better job.

Hunting is Not the Only Way

Hunting is not the only way to put food on the table or sales on your bottom line. Many 3PLs dissatisfied with the spotty results and high turnover caused by the hunting method are trying their hand at farming.

Farmers have a completely different way of connecting with prospective customers.

The real farmer plants lots of seeds, cultivates, fertilizes, and weeds his fields and after a few months, he harvests his crop.

The 3PL sales gal who uses the farming approach, plants the seeds of future sales, by generously sharing her knowledge with the logistics community. By sharing her expertise, she will gain the favorable attention and credibility with shippers that most hunters never get. Through this sharing, she will be able to engage with shippers. They won’t be hiding from her, they are willingly connecting with her.

Farming is Not That Easy

Just like real farming is a lot harder than planting, watering and weeding, the 3PL farming method takes some know-how and plenty of persistence.

To make the farming method work in 3PL sales, the 3PL will need to determine what makes them different and better than their competition. You will need to pick a niche. Nobody believes you are better than the rest of the 3PLs at everything.

Embrace the things that make your company different.

If you have lots of customers in the food and beverage industry develop that niche. Create content (articles, videos, webinars, etc.) about the best way to transport food and get the most from the reefer companies.

If you have multiple areas of expertise, develop content for each niche.

Done right, the 3PL sales farmer will be able to develop a tribe of prospective customers who feel connected to her. Just like real farming, this will take some time, but you definitely want to be around at harvest time.

I Can Teach You to Farm

I was a hunter, but I taught myself to farm. Farming is not all wine and roses, but it is waaay better than hunting.

Through my website, webinars, e-books, articles, blog posts, speaking engagements, etc. I connect with a ton of shippers. Sales is much easier when you have great leads.

I can teach you and your company to farm. It’s lots of work, but a much better way to grow your 3PL sales. Grab a shovel!

If you are interested in knowing more please contact me at joe@thelogisticsoflogistics.com or 517.375.0631 mobile.