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Intermodal 101: Spot Market Rates

4 days ago 0

Intermodal 101: Spot Market Rates Once the railroads established the door to door service offering, it became incumbent on the IMC community to determine the most advantageous way to take advantage of the offering. As the shipper, the IMC can take advantage of a price drop based on excess capacity.  What cost $1000 yesterday, may only cost $950 today and maybe even $900 tomorrow!  Rails will consider the incoming volume of freight to an area based on in-transit loads, and can look out up to a week to put together this spot market pricing.  This allows them to maximize their assets in a way not known before this advent. The key words above were “spot market”.  Utilizing this door to door offering with its flexible cost structure works well for converting freight from over-the-road into intermodal on an “as available” basis.  If the shipper is accustomed to a fluctuating pricing

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Training Tuesday: Maintaining Relevance with a Prospect

5 days ago 0

Training Tuesday: Maintaining Relevance with a Prospect For some reason you’re not having success on a sales call. So, because you think there’s nothing left to do, or because you want to get off the call quickly and painlessly, you simply blurt out: “Well, please keep us in mind if you ever need any help.” “Here’s my number, just in case.” “How about I give you a call in a couple of months to see if anything has changed?” When I’m the customer, I typically say, “Sure, I’ll keep you in mind.” I then hang up, and immediately forget that the call ever took place. The truth is, that customer has no intention of “keeping you in mind,” or “giving you a call if something changes.” When these ‘bad calls’ happen, there are better ways to wrap them up. The following are some tips on salvaging this type of sales

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LTL 101: Commodities Restrictions

1 week ago 0

LTL 101: Commodities Restrictions Did you know that certain types of commodities cannot be shipped via LTL carriers due to governmental regulations and that LTL carriers can refuse to accept certain items as a matter of company policy? In many cases, the root issue is liability — certain items are too valuable and/or high target items for theft to make them worth the risk to handle and transport. Items of Extraordinary Value: Carriers have different policies regarding these items and they may be willing to accept certain items if they have the appropriate insurance coverage and specialize in the transport of valuable merchandise. Restricted or Prohibited Items: Another group of items that LTL carriers may refuse to transport are those excluded by government regulations or due to being extremely hazardous in nature. In addition, carriers that lack the proper storage and stowage equipment to maintain the proper temperature will refuse

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Training Tuesday: Asking Questions

1 week ago 0

Training Tuesday: Asking Questions Asking good questions can make the difference between making a bad sales call and engaging the prospect in a worthwhile conversation. Here are some important tips to remember: Use ‘assumptive problem’ open-ended questions Instead of saying, “Do you have any problems with moving your product now?” say, “How are you handling problems that occur while transporting your product?” If you know your industry well enough, you’re aware of the problems that everyone seems to have. You are asking your prospects to quantify and explain the implications and consequences of those problems. Use ‘instructional statements’ Don’t ask for information; tell them to give it to you. Use phrases like, “Tell me a little about……….”; “Share with me……….”; “Give me some idea of……….”; “Detail the way………” and, “Let’s talk about how you……….” Ask yourself questions before you make the call Think about the call before you make it.

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Intermodal 101: Equipment Availability

2 weeks ago 0

Intermodal 101: Equipment Availability In our last post, we discussed the impact long-term rates had on the railroads as a contributing factor to the creation of rail controlled, door to door product.  But there are other reasons the rails have created this service. Equipment availability in a given area varies at different times of the year. There may be extreme variation in equipment that result in an area being completely out of equipment for some months and having an excess of equipment in other months. A good example of this would be the empty equipment supply in Los Angeles, CA.  During fall peak season, equipment is very tight out of California due to all the import freight coming in from Asian markets that must deliver in the interior of the country so it is available for the holiday shopping season.  During January and February, there has typically been a lull

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Training Tuesday: Addressing Problems

2 weeks ago 0

Training Tuesday: Handling Problems It doesn’t take long for anyone in the transportation business to realize that occasionally bad things happen to good people. You name it, it can and occasionally will happen. When customers aren’t happy, whether it’s because a shipment is late, damaged or lost, five things can happen—and four of them are bad: THE CUSTOMER DOESN’T LET US KNOW THEY WERE UNHAPPY WITH SUNTECKTTS’ SERVICE. NOT GOOD. THE CUSTOMER CHANGES CARRIERS IN SILENCE. NOT GOOD EITHER. THE CUSTOMER TELLS HIS OR HER FRIENDS. WORSE. THE CUSTOMER TALKS TO THIRD PARTIES. WORST OF ALL. THE FIFTH OPTION IS COMMUNICATION. The best possible outcome is that your unhappy customer talks to you.  This gives you a second chance to understand their needs, identify and correct problems, and convert your dissatisfied customer into a happy customer – one who’ll keep coming back. Here are the proper procedures to best help

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LTL 101: Billing

3 weeks ago 0

LTL 101: Billing Accuracy Many shippers have expressed concern about accuracy of LTL carrier’s billing practices. Having pushed the LTL carriers to be more vigilant with making corrections for weight and other aspects of shipments for proper revenue capture, SJ Consulting researched the validity of such perception by conducting an extensive survey with several large LTL shippers, 3PLs, and freight audit and pay firms, with particular thanks to Williams & Associates. The freight charges on LTL shipments by these companies exceed $8 billion over a 12­ month period, representing 22 percent of the total industry revenue. For decades, the LTL industry has relied on an honor system for shippers to provide true characteristics of their shipments, required to accurately bill the customers for their shipments. The survey found the range of billing accuracy was 94 to 99 percent depending on the carrier, with the average being 97 percent. The most

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Training Tuesday: Delivering Great Customer Service

3 weeks ago 0

Training Tuesday: How to Deliver Great Customer Service Many customers are suspicious of freight salesmen. They think that we’re there at the time of the sale but not when they need us if something goes wrong. Many people get buyer’s remorse. When they get that follow-up email or phone call, or they experience the other customer service techniques discussed here, it makes them think, “Yes, I made the right decision.” Constant communication is the key to building a lasting relationship with customers and prospects.  You must stay in touch. Let’s define SERVICE as anything that builds trust and confidence in the company and the services you provide to the customer. Following is a list of services that are specific and measurable. You can use this checklist to make service a more specific part of your sales planning. 1.Write thank you notes as part of your service system. Carry cards in

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Intermodal 101: Rates

1 month ago 0

Intermodal 101: Rates Use of rail controlled, door to door offerings have some positive and negative components to consider. It is important to contemplate them when trying to determine if this option for intermodal shipping fits your needs.  This product offering has been beneficial to the railroads and doesn’t show signs of changing, but to understand why it is good for the railroad, it is important to understand the dynamics that lead to this service.  This post will discuss one of the major contributing factors – rates. Historically, the rails went to market through a controlled network of 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) companies who held contracts with the rails to sell their service in a ramp to ramp environment.  The 3PLs who held these contracts are known as Intermodal Marketing Companies (IMCs). It was the job of the IMC to coordinate the origin drayage, rail linehaul and the destination drayage,

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Training Tuesday: Asking for Referrals

1 month ago 0

Training Tuesday: Asking for Customer Referrals Referrals are the easiest sales you’ll make. It’s your job to tell a purchasing manager that SunteckTTS offers the best service available; that’s what he expects you to say. But when he hears it from a fellow purchasing manager then that’s something entirely different. Always ask for referrals! Asking for referrals is the difference between middle-of-the-pack sales agents and star performers. And yet sales agents are usually terrified to ask for referrals. Don’t be timid. Always start by asking for referrals within their own company, on-site and at different locations. Then, branch out and ask for referrals to businesses in the area where they might know a decision-maker. When asking for a referral, try and get this information: company name, contact name, new contact’s title, what they ship, address, telephone number, and how your client is acquainted with the referral. You should also ask

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