BUILDING GOOD RELATIONSHIPS
What is the most effective way to build good relationships?
Well, one thing is for sure: there is no shortage of forwarding agents on the internet that you can discover with a quick Google search. But, how do you differentiate between the good and the bad? How much risk are you willing to subject your business (your clients) to along the way? Not to mention the risk of not getting paid. This is hardly efficient.
You might consider joining a freight forwarding network. When we started our network, there may have been a dozen or so networks operating. Over the last 5 or 6 years, that number has swelled to over a hundred. What does that tell you?
The good news is that this explosive growth of networks indicates that the concept has validity. On the other hand, in any industry segment that goes through this kind of expansion, you get commoditization. Many independent forwarders also suffer from commoditization, as shippers just request quotes from as many forwarders as possible, and pick the lowest price. Rather than looking for ways to differentiate themselves, many forwarders are hardly more than a pricing service, and therefore doomed to somehow survive in the uncertain world of low profit quoting.
In the network segment, we have seen the same. Many of the newer networks offer free memberships to build up their directories. This approach broadcasts that price is their only differentiator. We all know building relationships with good companies takes time. If there is little or no revenue coming in for the network, this begs the question: What is their capacity to bring any value to their members? And, how long can they sustain? To build good relationships, both parties must bring a certain level of commitment to the effort.
If you are thinking of joining a network that is full of members who don’t pay for membership, you may want to stop and consider the quality of these companies, as well as what kind of level of commitment they would bring to developing relationships to other members. It is often true what they say, ‘You get what you pay for…’
One of the biggest mistakes a forwarder can make when joining a network is what we call a “something for nothing” approach. There is no shortage of forwarders who think that joining a network should guarantee them new business, just because they join. They tend to do little or nothing in terms of reaching out or building relationships with other network members, then complain that the network is no good, just because new business didn’t fall out of the sky into their lap.
This is a lot like the natives in Papua, New Guinea, who came to be know as the “Cargo Cult.” They waited for supplies to come their way from the “silver birds” that would fly overhead, trying to resupply troops.
Sales is always sales. The same principles always apply. Think of your own local market. If you sit back, stay in your office, and wait for clients to find you and book business with you, you are in for a rude awakening. Building relationships takes proactive and consistent effort to succeed.
How can our network help you with this compared to others? We recommend you contact us for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our blog post, What is your network’s strategy for ROI?