Once the engines of a business start, they scarcely can afford even the slightest stop. Just as a restaurateur does not take a day or two of at whim, so too a SME in the haulage industry cannot sit on its hands waiting for tomorrow’s client – indeed, even for any of the ones after that.
But, especially for those fresh in an industry dominated by heavyweights and the self-employed and all the masses of companies in between, confidence in your client list can wear thin. These days it seems there is so much technical knowledge and jargon involved in winning jobs away from your competition. Yet there are simple, effective, and very everyday things you can do to feel that more clients are within your grasp.
The role of connection in getting transport contracts is underestimated. Remember, all personal contacts – from business acquaintances to the clients at hand – offer leads for further clients. A firm handshake, warm smile and assured manner combine with taking time to build rapport with people on a human level. And rapport means people are more likely to sign with you, for the first time or as a repeat customer.
All transport contracts are signed and sealed partly due to the deal and partly due to the person offering it. This is why you must present well. Even if your prospective client knows you have great vehicles and has heard of your competitive rates, if your dress and comportment reek of unprofessionalism, he or she will be looking for a reason to pull out. How much more so does this apply to those swift meetings when you are hoping to impress new clients? A lot.
Some people are technocrats, but there is no denying the value of the personal touch when operating an SME in the hectic haulage environment. However, no transport contracts worth their salt were ever won by sheer charm alone. You need to do your homework. Every ounce of research that is done into the market, your client profiles, potential new niches and the future clients you wish to target will pay dividends.
Ultimately, transport contracts come down to words. Heavy, legally binding words, but speech and ink on paper or screen no less. This is why being well versed in spoken, written, and online communication is so vital. Since every chance you have to communicate with deliberately chosen or off-chance potentials is a golden opportunity that can turn on the quality and style of your communication; whether from your website or from your mouth, be prepared to be exceptional.
Marketing is a well-known must, but your future clients also rely on reputation. They are not the same thing. Word-of-mouth quickly spreads about your brand no matter how you sell it, so make sure it isn’t tainted by poor relationships with former clients and they check if are have trustworthy transportation.