Saturday, February 1, 2020
By Tommy Key
Driving a truck is tough
. With long hours spent away from family while on the road and exhausting drive times, truck drivers have to balance the unavoidable pressure of delivering loads on time with their responsibility for safety — of themselves, other drivers and the products they are shipping. As freight brokers, we rely on truck drivers to deliver across all those points. That’s why it’s so important to put in the work to build meaningful relationships with the truckers we trust to deliver our customers’ products.
There is often a disconnect between what a freight broker agent sees of a trucker’s day-to-day life and the challenges that truckers face on the road. While brokers do get very busy, at the end of the day, we get to come home to a family meal or hang out with friends.
Truckers work 14-hour days with almost 11 of those hours on the road. They aren’t available to coach their kids’ sports teams or show up for school concerts — they are on the road earning for their family, managing the pressure they’re under from brokers and dispatchers to provide ETAs and meet them. And even more, trucking is a lonely job that requires driving in unfamiliar territories and responding to orders from every person connected to the haul.
Experienced brokers know that if you want to learn how to be a successful freight broker agent you need to understand that you are only as good as the trucks you contract and the drivers in charge of your loads. The reality of our industry today is that if you don’t prioritize your relationships with drivers, Uber and Convoy will continue to grow
and eventually your role will be obsolete. A little bit of relationship building with your drivers can go a long way to ensuring you have a future in the field. Here’s how we suggest you get started.
Master the small talk
Your job is done mostly on the phone, which sometimes makes conversation awkward or rushed, but small gestures can earn you the trust and respect of the drivers you work with. Come up with a set of go-to questions, like how long they've been on the road or what they did on their last stop at home.
Find opportunities to treat
Everyone remembers a gesture of goodwill. If a driver is stuck waiting on a backup at the receiver, use Comcheck Mobile and gift the driver $20 to cover a drink or snack while they wait. They'll remember you as a broker who understands even the small challenges of their job.
Track the relationship
Keep a spreadsheet. At the end of runs, ask drivers how often they get to that pickup area. Track this info and it will accumulate so they don't have to keep posting loads. When you get enough to reload multiple carriers, they'll stop posting their trucks in other areas and you'll get ahead of the competition.
No one wants to be yelled at and constantly criticized on the job, but in such a fast-pace industry it can be easy for impatience to get the best of us. Help your drivers build their confidence in their jobs by making sure your interactions with them are routine and friendly. Let your driver drive and demonstrate your support for their work doing a job that few people want to do.
Imagine a future where you don't have to post loads. Where you can call drivers you know and trust them with your customers' requests. By taking the time to build solid relationships with truckers from the get-go, you'll find yourself on the way to building a fleet of your own. Those drivers will become familiar and friendly with the people loading and unloading their trucks, which can eventually lead to customers giving you more and better freight.
At Nationwide Logistics, we can help with many of the time-consuming administrative tasks that get in the way of keeping your focus on important business strategies like relationship building. Find out how we can support your work at nationwidelogistics.net