Accelerated Exporting To Increase Market Share
Building market share as a freight forwarder through accelerated exports is a pretty straight forward proposition. What is required is the following:
- A business network to quickly generate leads
- An understanding of the type of “shipper” (i.e., client base) you are trying to serve
- A way to accelerate the timeline it takes to lock in a shipping rate & book a container
- A strong sense of customer service
#1 – As an industry that is a) relatively untouched by technology relative to booking international cargo and b) intimately tied to human-to-human interactions, having a professional network to identify and/or qualify leads is critical. Trade shows and personal connections can be a great way to get started, but this is a grind and may not be as productive as you like. Social media is also a possibility, but network marketing is the 21st centuries version of cold calling. You have to be diligent, dedicated, and be willing to saturate your personal and professional connections to gain traction. Another way to gain and quality leads is to hire a senior sales professional that has a strong book of business and credible reputation. You will pay more for their services, but their services will be much more likely to drive your balance sheet in healthy direction!
#2 – Facilitating the shipment of cargo overseas means your will typically be shipping two classes of goods: commodities and finished products. Depending on the goods you emphasize, the services and expectation level you support will vary. For example, waste paper traders will care about immediate bookings at the lowest rate obtained on the fastest timelines. Comparatively, the shipment of product may involve refrigerated cargo and therefore drive much different expectations. Luckily, if you understand the client base you will be serving, it should hopefully be easy to map out their needs as a freight forwarder relative to you internal freight forwarding operations. Please note that the export concierges at XPort (www.xportforwarding.com) are always available to help you refine your value proposition and service offering to your potential clients should you need the help!
#3 – For most freight forwarders, booking cargo is the primary channel to generate revenue. What is interesting is that the process for booking cargo is itself fairly antiquated. On average, qualitative evidence has shown that a freight forwarder will spend >40% of their day quoting container rates with a hope of booking a shipper before that shipper loses interest or gets snag by a competitor. Typically it takes up to 5 days to receive a quote for a booking a cargo container with a carrier, so quite literally, the faster you can generate a quote, the less likely the chance that your prospective client will get cold feet or go to a competitor. That is why XPort (www.xportforwarding.com) is so excited to offer our "value rate" cargo rate calculation tool (a freight cost calculator and freight rate quoting tool). We have designed a system that can provide instantaneous, real-time, shipping rate comparisons to enable the accelerated booking of cargo containers. This allows a freight forwarder to respond to their client’s needs faster and also generates a potential strategic advantage over competitors. The logistics optimization tool is free to use and is a terrific way to accelerate your operational cycle times with no obligation or commitment.
#4 – A discussion about customer service can take on many “layers.” The most basic layer revolves around basic interactions with a client. The process to export can be laced with anxiety for shippers as they are critically dependent on their goods getting to their destination in the fastest amount of time possible. Providing simple courtesies like follow-up emails, booking confirmation numbers, tools to track cargo, cargo tracking numbers, real-time status updates of cargo, etc., can mean the difference between success and failure. Having a strategic vision of how you can solve your client's pain points versus simply meeting your own is also important. No matter what, we have seen empirically that customer service is the catalyst for credibility and overall growth. By finding a way to improve your customer service, you will better understand how to identify, connect, and serve your current and future clients.
Future blog posts will go into deeper discussion of the key ideas listed above. Visit www.xportforwarding.com to gain additional insight into the different ways to increase market share by accelerating your exporting operations.
The Xport Guide to Next-Generation International Shipping
Innovation Begins With Inspiration!
The XPort blog brings you next-generation ideas to build a lasting source of competitive advantage for your company. Dedicated to unraveling the many secrets of the International Shipping Industry, this blog will help readers:
- export goods with ease
- optimize core business services
- build strategies for generating revenue
- stay synch'ed with industry thought leaders