Choosing the Best Freight Forwarder Network

Choosing the Best Freight Forwarder Network

There’s a great opportunity out there, and many forwarders are missing the boat, or in many cases significantly underutilizing what they already have.  

What if you could multiply the number of salespeople working for your company from a few, to a few hundred?

And what if you could do that for a small fraction of what one salesperson costs you now?

Would you like to expand your marketing sales efforts way beyond your local market?

Are you open to expanding into new market niches, new trade lanes and new clients?

There’s a proven way to get all this and more: WORLDWIDE AGENCY SALES.

It’s time for you to review your efforts in maximizing this.  In the past, it often was not that attractive of a strategy because it was high risk, with uncertain service levels and often slow pay from unknown or unseen partner agents.   Nobody needs those kinds of headaches.

But, unlike other lines of business, it’s now possible to get great results here with a minimal investment by joining an independent forwarders network.   Please don’t stop reading, we know you have heard this before…

You are probably sick of sales solicitations from forwarder networks, but the fact that so many of your colleagues are already in these networks makes it worth taking a closer look.  Is it that forwarding networks don't work, or is that forwarders aren't working the network?

In recent years, the number of forwarder networks has exploded, and not all of them can be that good (despite their claims).  I invite you to use common sense when investigating various networks, and I would like to offer you a few key points to keep in mind in for your evaluations.   

The least helpful metric to base your decision on is price.  Do you buy all your clothing second hand because you can get a cheaper price?  In a race to commoditize the network space, gangs of newer networks are trying to race each other to the lowest price.   A network can (and should) make a significant impact on your sales efforts with added support, communication, leverage, and assistance.   With that in mind, you then must ask yourself how a network makes this happen when there isn’t much revenue coming in?   Common sense, right?  The marginal differences in price versus the upside of partnering with a quality network is not worth the difference in price, which is minimal when put into perspective (about the price of lunch once a week).

Joining a network is a business investment.  Wouldn’t you think your network should tell or show you how you will get a return on that investment?  Most don’t.  This is kind of important, don’t you think?   Saying you have lots of members, and coverage everywhere is not a strategy for getting a return.   If they’re not clear on this point, then where does that leave you?   Just ask yourself: Have they told me how I get a return here?

Then evaluate their business model.  Do they allow one member per country?  Do they allow as many members as possible?   Do they tell you why?   Does this at all relate to how you get a return? 

If they don’t have a good reason behind their model, common sense suggests that this is a red flag.   For instance, if they allow only one member per country, as some think is preferable, then how do they address the negative aspects of entitlement?  In an exclusive network, a member buys an entire country and then decides they have all the business for that country locked up regardless of their own efforts to develop new business or provide competitive rates.   We call this the “disease of entitlement.”

Even an exclusive network cannot guarantee that you will receive all the business for your market slot.  We have found it far more productive to consider a network’s highest and best use as a sales tool. Using a network as a sales tool means your active participation, not being passive, as is the case with any sales.  Of course, sometimes bookings will come to you as a result of being in a network’s directory, and that's great. However, this is not a sufficient sales strategy, and it's not the right reason for joining any network. This is why we say waiting and hoping for new business is not a sound strategy.

In all the tools, features, or programs a network promotes, how do they then tie this into their key value proposition?  How do they help you get a return on your investment?   How do they relate to building your business?

Most networks have financial protections, which helps address the risks and concerns of the past.  But just remember, that a low-end network tends to have low end members.  In addition to being nickel and dimed on every rate, once a network partner screws up and loses one of your clients, the client is lost for life.  A one-time claim from a financial protection fund can never come close to compensating for the loss of a lifetime of business from a good client. If a network promotes how large their financial protection numbers is as a key benefit, does this suggest that the low quality of the members produces lots of claims? How does this help you?

There is a novel's worth of insights that could be addressed here, but whichever group sounds best, there is one principle that reigns supreme when it comes to growing new business.  It’s simple: Sales is Sales.  Remember, this is called Agency Sales, not Waiting and Hoping.  It is imperative that you bring the same kind of proactive effort and follow up with your network partners that you would otherwise bring in your local sales efforts.   No network can replace your sales efforts, and none do, because they can’t.  If you think that joining a network and paying a membership fee should entitle you to instant business, then you might as well also still believe in the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.

Pick the right group, bring a consistent sales effort and I assure you that joining a quality forwarding network will grow your Agency Business, with far more results, at less cost, and far less risk than you could in house.

We’ve been at this longer than most others, now at 18 years running.  I welcome any chance to explain why our networks, the GLOBALINK NETWORK, and the GLOBAL VALUE NETWORK, have proven to be the right choice for many companies like yours.  We’ve proven our model works time and time again.   We’d appreciate a chance to prove it to you. And, if you have any questions about a network you are thinking about joining, run them by us!  We are always glad to offer our perspective, and our partnership.

Happy hunting.