Transportation industry confidence and being new to transportation is almost an oxymoron at first. Two months ago I had gone from being an Assistant Athletic Director/Strength Coach to a sales rep in the transportation world. For those of you who are just starting out in transportation or for those who remember, this industry can be very overwhelming. It takes time to understand how the transportation regulations we have today came about. It gets even harder when you are on the phone talking to people who have been in the industry for 15+ years.
I started out constantly trying to find the right thing to say and how to respond to questions I had no answers to. But then I decided I was going to learn as much as I could on transportation to feel more confident in my position. Two months later, I am no expert, but I feel much more confident and can answer around 80% of the questions asked. There are certain sources you need to take full advantage of in order to find the confidence needed. Some of these areas are out of peoples comfort zones but once you break out, it is well worth it.
Here is your guide to building confidence in 2 months:
- Join LinkedIn and become a member of some of the major transportation discussion groups.
- Transportation and Freight USA Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=69482&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr
- Transportation and Logistics Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1773741&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr
- Participate in the discussion groups by actually commenting. Even if you are wrong and people tear apart what you say, take it as constructive criticism to learn. Transportation is a giant world and any help is good help.
- Change your settings to allow your favorite groups to send you daily updates on discussions. This way you can stay informed on how people respond to your comments.
- Don’t try to master one subject of transportation. If full truckload is your focus, still learn about LTL, Hazmat, rail, air, and water freight. It may not be your focus but it will provide value.
- Attend as many webinars as you can, pertaining to transportation. Through LinkedIn groups they will email you webinar opportunities that you can register for. This is a great source of information.
- Search the web to find out all that you can on your focus. Learn the important names that people are talking about and try to contact them. Do anything and everything you can to learn.
Remember that knowledge is king here. In the beginning you can pass off knowledge for being new but eventually there is no excuse for the lack of it. The last piece of advice I have and probably the most important is, don’t be afraid of being new in the industry. Don’t let this be a crutch but use it to your advantage. If they ask you a question you don’t know, tell them you are new and ask if they could help you understand. People want to help people, as much as TV says otherwise. Knowledge is the greatest and easiest thing to pass on to one another. When given the chance most people will take time to help someone understand something new. These are just my suggestions and what I did to help myself learn. I hope this works for you but I would love to hear if you did anything different.
Everyone was new at some point so what did you do to help build your confidence in the transportation industry?
About the Author, Tony Ferreira
Tony Ferreira is the Shipper Sales Represenative at Matchmaker Logistics in Wilmington, NC. Tony specializes in Supply Chain analysis, Freight management, and Logistics improvements. He has written for online leadership publications and spoken for motivational venues both social and industrial. Tony is certified in Value Based Selling and working on his C.T.B certification. Feel free to contact him at: